Carpenter ants crawling out of wooden planks

Carpenter ant infestations in New England

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If your business or home has exposed wood anywhere and you suddenly see sawdust or large black ants milling around, then you may have to worry about the damage being done by carpenter ants. In New England, during the times like this summer when there has been a lot of rain, carpenter ants get active because they love to use soft wood to build their nests.

Although carpenter ants are not quite as damaging as termites, left unchecked, they can cause quite a bit of serious damage. Carpenter ants can become a nuisance and end up costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars in building and property repairs.

Ehrlich Pest Control in the northeast is aware of the conditions where carpenter ants thrive. Our specialists are ready to help get rid of carpenter ants so contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control office today.

What is a carpenter ant?

Carpenter ants on firewood

A carpenter ant is not an ant with a tool belt who likes to build homes. Carpenter ants are a species of black ant common to the northeast and states like Vermont, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, or other states with large areas that are still wooded. They are a usually a bit larger than some of the other common northeastern ants like pavement ants or odorous house ants.

The thing that separates carpenter ants from the other species of ant is that they use their powerful mandibles to chew into wood. Unlike termites, which consume the cellulose within the wood, carpenter ants chew into wood to create tunnels and chambers for nesting purposes.

Carpenter ants prefer to chew their way through soft wood found in the wild. Trees and fallen logs are the most common places to find nests of carpenter ants. When the trees infested by carpenter ants are looked at crosswise, tunnels and chambers showing where the ants have chewed can be seen.

Why are carpenter ants common in the northeast?

In the interest of full disclosure, carpenter ants can be found in virtually any state and are also found all around the globe. However, if there are areas where there is a lot of woods, forests, nature areas, then there is a good chance you will find carpenter ants. When people build their homes with wood areas in close proximity, carpenter ants have no problem building their nests into wooden structures of properties.

Carpenter ants prefer to have damp, soft wood to chew through. So, during years when there is lots of rain, carpenter ants get active. In the northeast, during 2018, there have been lots of storms and soaking rains. This makes for a ripe environment for carpenter ants to get active.

How do carpenter ants infest properties?

Left alone in the wild, carpenter ants can be quite large. However, this is because there is a lot of wood out there for them to chew on. Nests of carpenter ants in buildings and homes in the northeast tend to be smaller, and certainly much less than termites.

However, carpenter ants use their nests to lay eggs and spawn. Carpenter ants in the northeast also have a tendency to set up brand new nests close to an existing nest and co-existing with one another. This means multiple carpenter ant nests can infest a home or property and this expands the damage radius.

How to spot signs of carpenter ant damage

Carpenter ant damage

Live ants – Usually, the first sign of carpenter ants around your New England property is the ants themselves. Carpenter ants are dark colored, mostly black, and tend to be larger than other ants. When they are infesting wooden areas in a home or business, they will crawl all over the area and can be seen quite easily.

Flying ants – Carpenter ants also fly away from the original nest to build new nests. Large flying ants on walls, windows and around the home are a definite sign of a carpenter ants infestations.

Noise – If you do not see the carpenter ants, they usually make quite a bit of noise when they chew on the wood. You can often hear the chewing sounds of carpenter ants digging their tunnels and chambers.

Holes – If you cannot see or hear the carpenter ants, you may spot holes in the wood and beneath those holes might be piles of sawdust or wood shavings. Carpenter ants chew up the wood and then deposit it out the holes they chew.

Ehrlich Pest Control gets rid of carpenter ants

If you think you’ve seen signs of a carpenter ant infestation, contact the local Ehrlich Pest Control office near you. Our specialists are trained to identify whether or not the wood damage is from a termite infestation, carpenter bee or carpenter ants. Our specialists have treatments to get rid of the carpenter ants infestation and prevent them from returning.

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Ashley Smith

Ashley is a Digital Content Manager with Rentokil. She loves drinking coffee and spending time with her dogs.

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