Written By: Travis R. Aggson, A.C.E.
Vice President/Associate Certified Entomologist, American Pest Management, Inc.
My mom would tell you that these pests are probably the reason that I chose to work in the pest control industry. At a very young - ripe old age of five - she would find me in the back yard with a magnifying glass burning these large black ants that would trail from a large tree towards a cinder block retaining wall. One day, the ants decided to plan a revenge on their “Ant Bully”. One particular brave ant crawled up my pant leg and used his pinchers to make a young boy scream and cry. She would say that in that moment I chose my career as a Pest Management Professional.
Carpenter Ants do not normally attack us, however, they can attack our homes and can cause structural damage. As a matter of fact, they can cause almost as much damage as termites. There is a difference though, termites need the wood from our homes for food, carpenter ants use the wood as shelter. They do not obtain any nutritional value from the wood they shave out of our homes. The carpenter ants carve very smooth galleries into the wood to create a place where they can call home.
Most carpenter ant colonies are not found in our homes. During our inspections for carpenter ants, we find most colonies are actually out away from the home in damaged trees. They prefer wood that is slightly damaged from moisture, so an old crook in a tree is a perfect place to inspect for a nesting site. Finding ants inside your home may not mean that a nest is inside, it could just mean that it is within foraging distance from their colony. They may be able to forage up to over 100ft from their colony. However, if your home has been damaged by moisture at some point, it becomes a very inviting site for them to attack.
To prevent carpenter ant infestations:
• Trim all trees and bushes so branches do not touch the house
• Repair moisture problems such as leaky roofs, windows or doorframes, and plumbing problems
• Paint and/or seal exposed wood construction before it becomes wet
• Replace previously ant- or termite-infested wood, rotted or water-damaged wooden parts of the structure
• Eliminate wood/soil contacts
• Remove old dead tree stumps
• Store firewood in a way that is off the ground, possibly on a concrete pad or on metal firewood racks. Only store firewood that can be used in one heating season
The first signs of carpenter ants usually found by homeowners are either a swarm of ants (ants with wings flying out of a wall, crack, or crevice) or piles of sawdust under a window or door frame. If these signs are found, control is essential, and finding the nest is crucial for elimination.
American Pest Management, Inc. Certified Technicians are trained to find the nests of carpenter ants. If carpenter ants have invaded your home, we are ready to provide a solution.