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Although carpenter ants don’t spread disease, they can be a considerable nuisance and can cause damage to your home. Often confused with termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood, but they do tunnel through it to build nests. They can be difficult to locate and require professional treatment because of the damage they can cause to wood elements and foam insulation in your home.
Confirming that your house is being infested by carpenter ants is crucial to successfully clear your home of these wood-destroying pests. Carpenter ants require specialized ant solutions that differ from other types of ants.
Carpenter ants are one of the largest ant species found in the United States. They are usually most active during the spring and summer months and they forage for food at night. They vary in color but are generally black or dark-bodied.
Carpenter ants range in size from ¼ - ¾ inch in length. There are three size classes of these ants, each with different job classifications. The major workers are the largest ants in a colony and contain most of the large soldier ants. These workers have a number of duties, including feeding the queen and larvae and defending the nest. Media carpenter ants are mid-sized ants and minors are the smallest size category. Media and minor ants do most of the food gathering and colony construction. Carpenter ants feed on living and dead insects as well as anything people consume.
Winged carpenter ants (also known as ‘swarmers’) are sometimes mistaken for termites. These are winged ants that leave the colonies to mate and start their own colonies. Larger than the average carpenter ant, swarmers are 3/4 inch in size. If you spot carpenter ant swarmers, it may be an indication that a colony is located nearby.
Carpenter ants create parent nests and satellite nests in decaying, moist wood. The parent nest holds the ant queen and eggs and is typically found outdoors. The satellite nests include worker ants. For black carpenter ants, multiple satellite nests can be present in separate spots around your property. Their nests can be present indoors: in wood, voids of walls, and insulation, and outdoors: in stumps, firewood, and rotted fence posts. Sawdust with dead ants and parts of eaten insects can signify that carpenter ants may have made a nest in that area. It can, however, be difficult to find the nest for a couple of reasons:
If a carpenter ant nest is inside your property, you will want to get it treated as soon as possible. Carpenter ants can do considerable damage to timber in your home. You should ensure that all the ants have been destroyed before you begin to replace any damaged wood in your home. For these reasons, we recommend that you contact a professional pest control company to get rid of the carpenter ants for you to be certain of a thorough and complete job.
Look for slits and holes in any wood parts of your property. Carpenter ants will often build nests in wood walls, cabinets, beams, hollow doors, and structural wood. They are also drawn to wood that is moist, so look for areas that are slightly damp.
Another telltale sign of a nearby nest is frass. Frass is the material that is left behind after carpenter ants dig into the wood. Frass is easily identified as it closely resembles small piles of sawdust.
Once you’ve found the general area of the nest, use a sugary fruit as bait nearby. A trail of carpenter ants will eventually form from the bait that you can follow back to their nest.
There are several ways to go about destroying the nest once you find it. The following are some of the most effective methods:
One thing to keep in mind when tracking carpenter ants is to not spray them away from their nest. Carpenter ants can sense danger and may end up moving to a new location, which means you’ll have to start all over again.
Due to the structural damage carpenter ants can do, it is important to detect them early. Getting a carpenter ant inspection with Ehrlich is a smart way to see if you have an issue. A carpenter ant inspection includes examining walls outside your property along with those inside your attic and basement. Places with moisture and wood will be inspected as moisture makes wood weaker and therefore more vulnerable to attack.
Ehrlich Pest Control will utilize the below carpenter ant control methods depending on the specific nature of your infestation.
Regular inspections of your home by a pest control professional are the best way to identify and prevent any issues in your home with carpenter ants or any other pest. The Ehrlich year-round protection plan offers regularly scheduled preventive services every four months. Contact your local Ehrlich office for more details on the year pound protection plan.
There are a number of signs that may indicate a carpenter ant problem in your home.
Winged carpenter ants (swarmers) - These will often emerge from around baseboards, window casings, or vents, usually in spring or summer. If you see any more than 20, it may indicate the presence of a large colony.
Noise - If you hear a crunching sound it could be the sound of rustling from carpenter nests in the wood of your home. Nests are usually built within wood structures and can also be found in wall or ceiling voids.
Sawdust - As nests become established in wood, carpenter ants often leave behind a trail of sawdust.
Damaged wood - Carpenter ants tunnel through wood to create their nests, creating "galleries" in wood, which have a clean, smooth, sandpapered appearance.
Carpenter ants often enter your home in an attempt to find food and they are particularly attracted to sweet substances. Below are a number of steps that you can take to prevent them from entering your home.
Ehrlich specialists have many years of experience in carpenter ant control. They understand carpenter ant habits and use that knowledge to develop a carpenter ant control program for your home.
Book a free inspection service online or over the phone at 1-800-837-5520.