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Carpenter Ant Signs in Your New Jersey Home

Monday, June 9th, 2014 by Bill Cowley

Carpenter ants are a common complaint to hear from homeowners in the spring. This spring, in particular, carpenter ant calls have been plentiful. I attribute this to the wet weather we are having as well as the harsh winter we just came away from. Weather plays a large part in carpenter ant activity. Carpenter ants come out in search of moisture. Typical areas of your home that you may discover carpenter ant activity include any area of moisture or damp wood such as:

  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Attics due to a leaky roof
  • Windows due to improper sealing and damp conditions
  • Firewood
  • Basements or crawlspaces

A homeowner can identify an ant as a carpenter ant by looking for the following characteristics:

  • Carpenter ants are among the largest ants you will see in your New Jersey home, they are typically about a ½ inch in length but can range in size from ¼ inch to ¾ inch.
  • They are usually black in color but their color could range from red to black.
  • Typically found outdoors near trees, tree stumps, fence posts, rotting wood, firewood or other wet wood sources but can forage and occasionally nest indoors near areas of moisture.
  • You may notice hollowed out “galleries” in wood around the home. Carpenter ants do not eat the wood; instead they excavate it and are known for leaving wood with a smooth finish.
  • You may even notice sawdust piles in areas where carpenter ants have built nests. This is not very common and typically only found in the case of a severe infestation.

Spring is a common season for carpenter ant activity inside a home. For long-term control you must locate the nest, determining whether it is inside or outside. It is very common for carpenter ants to nest in trees or other wet wood sources outdoors but forage for food and moisture inside. If you are noticing large numbers of carpenters inside your home or noticing them during the winter months then there is a good chance that the nest is indeed indoors. If the nest is outdoors, you must eliminate the moisture source inside the house that is attracting the ants into the home, such as repairing any leaky pipes or standing water.

Carpenter ants are a wood destroying insect and, if left untreated, carpenter ant infestations can become widespread weakening the wood within your home and resulting in costly repairs. If you notice carpenter ant activity in or around your home, contact us today for a free estimate.  We service West Windsor, NJ and many neighboring areas.