Carpenter Ants are some of the most formidable pests that we face as pest control professionals. Due to their social nature most ant species present a bit of a challenge. This is because unlike non-social insects like roaches and spiders, social insects are working together as a team to adapt and survive. Ants live together in colonies that are dedicated to one thing: survival of the colony. This social structure can sometimes make them difficult to eliminate from a home or structure. This is never more true than in the case of Carpenter Ants.
Over the years I’ve had many opportunities to tangle with these worthy opponents and I have learned a few things in the process. I’m admittedly no expert but, I have found a few things that may help should you find yourself the unwitting landlord to these persistent squatters.
The first thing to address is the fact that carpenter ants, unlike most other ants we encounter in homes, can actually do damage to the home. Unlike most nuisance ant species, carpenter ants can damage the wooden elements of your home, including the studs and wood framing. Carpenter ants usually start their colonies in areas of water damaged or rotted wood inside a wall void, window frame, or even in the eaves of your home. They physically remove pieces of the rotted wood in order to live inside the wood. Although they prefer wet, rotted wood or areas that have moisture problems, they can also attack sound dry wood as well. Or they can simply be living inside of a void space in your house.
While they can do damage to the wood inside your home, we don’t consider them as bad as termites when it comes to the amount of wood they damage. This is because unlike termites, who actually consume the wood and use it for sustenance, carpenter ants just hollow out wooden elements in order to make their colonies. For this reason, the damage seen with carpenter ants tends to be less extensive than that of termites. Often, when we have an active infestation of carpenter ants, we will see a material we call “frass” dropping out of the wall close to the infestation site. This “frass” is a mixture of what is essentially the ant colony’s trash. It’s composed of small particles of wood, sheetrock, insulation, and dead carpenter ants. When we see this material, especially if it comes back after being cleaned, it’s a good sign that you have a carpenter ants infestation that is active in the area.
Tips for Carpenter Ant Control
Eliminate Leaks – Since carpenter ants are attracted to moisture and wet, rotted wood, it is paramount that you repair/remediate any water leaks that can attract these ants.
Evening Inspection – Since carpenter ants are most active at night, it is very helpful to do some evening surveillance around the perimeter of your home to attempt to locate the areas that the carpenter ants are trailing along around the house. Often there will be no activity during daylight hours but, an evening inspection with a flashlight around the exterior of the home will reveal a frenzy of carpenter ant activity. This is very helpful for an eventual ant control treatment as it shows us where to apply our chemicals to have the most effect.
Call a professional – When you encounter evidence of the carpenter ants in your home, either by finding their frass or seeing the carpenter ants themselves, you probably need to call a professional pest control company to come and perform an ant control treatment. Here at Hunter Pest Control we use a combination of baits and residual chemical applications to control and eliminate the carpenter ant colony.