Pest Advice Blog

Carpenter Ants: Defeating the Army Behind Your Walls

Carpenter Ants: Defeating the Army Behind Your Walls

Have you ever wondered what a carpenter ant really is? We can guarantee you that they are not building beautiful furniture pieces. In fact, quite the opposite. You may think, “oh, it’s just an ant,” but these ants will give you something to worry about it if not taken care of.

Carpenter ants and termites look for new homes in the summer

Carpenter ant 6-04-18Like termites, in late winter and early spring, young adult carpenter ants, known as alates, swarm to mate and start new colonies. Male and female reproductives mate and form new colonies. These new colonies need places to nest and raise their broods. Unlike termites, these sometimes large black and brown to reddish bi-colored ants do not eat wood, but burrow through it, creating galleries and tunnels, causing structural damage to homes.

Measuring from .25 inches to around .75 inches, carpenter ants need a constant source of moisture to survive. Attracted to damp wood around your property or constantly moist boards and siding, carpenter ants like to nest in the damp and rotting wood outside your home, but will move inside by burrowing through damp wood or finding cracks in wood on the exterior of your home. Sometimes, they even take over termite colonies or old termite galleries.

Carpenter ant colonies include a main/parent colony and can include several satellite colonies. While carpenter ants may nest outside and forage up to 100 yards in search of food, satellite colonies may exist in your walls, attics and around moist areas in your home.

Outside, carpenter ants prefer proteins, feeding on live and dead insects and they like the sweet honeydew produced by aphids and some scale insects. In your home, carpenter ants are attracted to fatty foods, meats and sweets like jelly and syrups, foraging between sunset and midnight in your kitchen.

Signs of a carpenter ant issue

Signs of carpenter ant infestations include:

  • Discarded wings of swarmers near windowsills, baseboards and vents.
  • Active swarming indoors.
  • Sawdust piles made by boring through wood, and the ant excavating remains of dead ants and frass (sawdust).
  • Irregular, wide, clean, ragged surfaced galleries in wood surfaces.
  • Active foraging in your home at night or other low-light situations such as early mornings.

Contact a professional pest control company to eliminate carpenter ants and termites

Carpenter ants-02If you suspect carpenter ant activity in your home, contact a professional pest control company, such as Truly Nolen to schedule a free pest inspection. Although carpenter ants and termites look similar, carpenter ants have a defined waist, between their thorax and abdomen, while termites are more broadly connected. Carpenter ant alates’ sport a pair of upper wings that are much larger than their lower wings, whereas both pairs of termite alates’ wings are relatively the same size.

Also, carpenter ants have bent antennae but termite antennae are straight with no bend in them. Because carpenter ants may be causing damage to your home that is expensive to repair, we recommend contacting a trained, certified pest professional to inspect your property and design a plan to eradicate carpenter ants from your property.

Truly Nolen targets nests with innovative IPM system

Truly Nolen’s innovative Integrated Pest Management systems (IPM) utilize people and pet friendly treatments and methods that address primary and satellite nests. Our technicians are trained to identify potential carpenter ant areas and use materials that not only address your current infestation but target nests to eliminate colonies at their sources, killing off the queen, the brood and many worker ants. Without queens or secondary reproductive to take the queen’s place, reproduction stops and the colony collapses.

Carpenter ant prevention guidelines

To prevent carpenter ant invasions, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Repair or replace leaky faucets and other moisture sources around your home.
  • Remove standing water from porches, decks and other poor water drainage areas.
  • Regularly inspect crawlspaces, attics and basements for moisture.
  • Seal or caulk all cracks and crevices around your foundation, as well as around windows and doors.
  • Remove all landscaping debris (leaves, litter, mulch) and construction materials that are against the house and stack firewood at least 20 feet away from your structure.
  • Keep tree branches and shrubs trimmed away from your house as they provide bridges for carpenter ants intent on moving indoors.
  • Regularly inspect decks, wooden storage sheds, old tree stumps and other wood on your property for signs of carpenter ant activity, like small holes in wooden surfaces.

This summer, when you are prepping your home for a new coat of paint and discover wood shavings or evidence of wood damage, contact your local Truly Nolen location to schedule a free pest inspection. Our innovative eco-friendly Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach arms our technicians with the knowledge and materials to protect your home from carpenter ant colonies.

While a fresh coat of paint creates great curb appeal and can help to weatherproof your house, it can also help protect your home from pests that are attracted to damp wood, such as termites, carpenter bees and carpenter ants. Ask about Truly Nolen’s Four Seasons Pest Control service approach to pest control that helps to identify and treat potential pest issues with seasonal visits that monitor and prevent pests from entering your home, creating a pest barrier around your property. Contact your Truly Nolen professionals today and enjoy your summer!

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