Protect Your Home from Carpenter Ants
The sight of seeing these large ants in one’s house can be unsettling to almost any homeowner. Many homeowners also mistake these intruders for termites but are generally relieved to discover they are not. But a carpenter ant infestation can still wreak just as much, if not more, havoc if ignored. They are considered one of the nation’s most significant wood-damaging insects that can cause significant structural damage to your home.
Once you get carpenter ants you’re always more prone to get them again in the future. This is even more reason to hire a pest control professional to properly treat the property for any current or future carpenter ant problems.
Identifying carpenter ants
Carpenter ants can vary in size and color but are amongst the largest ants in the United States, ranging anywhere from 3.5 to 13mm in length.
Black Carpenter ants are the most common type of carpenter ant in PA, to the point that their species name is Camponotus Pennsylvanicus. Carpenter ants communicate through pheromones left behind from their abdomen. Those pheromones not only communicate danger, where food is, the way back to the colony, but it also attracts other carpenter ants.
Homeowners often mistake winged carpenter ants for winged termites. Here are a few ways to tell them apart.
- Carpenter ants have bent or jointed antennae while termites antennae are straight.
- Carpenter Ants’ bodies are dark brown or black, while termites’ bodies are a lighter brown in color.
- Both termites and carpenter ants have two sets of wings but the carpenter ant’s hind wings are longer while the termite’s sets are of equal length.
- Carpenter ants have a defined, wasp-like waist while termites have undefined, cigar-shaped bodies.
Recognizing Carpenter Ant Damage
There are some key differences between carpenter ants and termites and the structural damage they create in a home. Carpenter ants live inside the wood while termites eat the wood but live in the ground. This means carpenter ants are doing more damage in a shorter amount of time than subterranean termites because they are always present in the wood, working away, while the termites are only consuming what they are able to and then going back to the colony.
Carpenter ants seek moist, decaying wood (both indoors and outdoors) to build their nests. Once they choose their locations, the ants start to excavate large, elongated tunnels known as galleries. Wooden floors, tree stumps, joists under leaky pipes, and water damaged wall voids in bathrooms are common targets.
Unlike the rough, excrement-lined galleries made by termites, carpenter ant galleries are free of debris and smooth having an appearance of being sanded.
Treating Carpenter Ant Infestations
Effectively getting rid of carpenter ants requires reaching the ants you see and also the ones you don’t. Carpenter ants often set up satellite nests away from the parent colony. So, when one nest is found, it’s highly likely that others may exist.
A Procor Pest Specialist will conduct perimeter treatments around your home along with localized indoor treatments to effectively kill carpenter ants. We also use ant bait to complement these treatments, targeting the areas they like to frequent between carpenter ant nests.
Preventing Future Carpenter Ant Problems
After effectively treating the infestation there are steps you should take to prevent future problems by ridding your home of the conditions that are inviting to these destructive pests.
Here are a few things you can do to help prevent future carpenter ant invasions:
- Replace all moisture-damaged wood both inside and outside of the home.
- Repair any exterior cracks and crevices to prevent carpenter ants from entering the home or building.
- Correct any moisture problems from leaky pipes and old gutters.
- Respond quickly to indoor sightings.
- Prune overhanging tree branches on your property to prevent anything that can act as an ant bridge.
- Keep at least a 100-foot perimeter around your home free from any decaying stumps or fallen wood. Carpenter ants regularly travel that far from the parent colony.
- Store any firewood away from other wooden structures. Also, check wood before bringing it into your home.