2 Keys on How to Control and Get Rid of Carpenter Ants
Thursday, August 8th, 2013 by Bill Cowley
A home with a carpenter ant infestation that goes left untreated year after year is at great risk of significant damage, resulting in a weakened structure and requiring costly repairs. Carpenter ants are most active during the spring and summer months, activity in New Jersey will typically slow down around October.
Carpenter ants are large, black ants that can range in size up to a half-inch. They don’t eat wood like termites, they excavate it to create tunnels to build their nests. Wood damaged by carpenter ants has a smooth, sanded look to it and is free from sawdust and debris. Damage is not always obvious, it often occurs in areas of the home that you cannot see. We typically see carpenter ant damage occur inside of walls, around window frames and doors, in flooring, in roof rafters and trim, on exterior posts, columns, stairs, porches, or decks. After you have properly identified the ants around your property as carpenter ants, there are two keys to controlling this wood-destroying insect:
- Eliminate the nest
- Repair the damage.
Locating a carpenter ant nest on a property is easier said than done and makes for a difficult job for a homeowner. Carpenter ants can build their nests indoors or outdoors. Workers are known to forage as far as 100 yards from their nests in search of food. Therefore, seeing carpenter ants in your home in the warm months does not necessarily mean the nest is inside of your home. The trees around your property could be the nesting site of carpenter ants. Nesting sites could also be inside of wall voids or another out of sight area of the home, such as in your sub-flooring or window or door frames. Seeing carpenter ants foraging in your kitchen and/or bathroom in late fall or through the winter is a sign that a carpenter ant nest is likely inside of your home. A pest management professional will uncover and eliminate the nesting site. Killing foraging carpenter ants that you see around your home by either crushing them or spraying them with a pesticide may feel like you are doing something to control the problem but is an ineffective long-term solution. Until the nest is eliminated you will always have carpenter ants.
After a carpenter ant nest has been located and eliminated, the damage must be repaired. Repair includes replacing the damaged or decayed wood where the nest was found and eliminating moisture from the area. Carpenter ants prefer damp wood to build their nesting sites. Therefore, in order to ensure that you do not attract more carpenter ants to your home, you must eliminate the source of water. Nests inside of a home or carpenter ants foraging in your home are attracted to moist areas like that found near a leaky sink or pipe, roof leaks, windows and/or door frames with damaged seals, or any place where wood has gotten moist, damp and damaged. This rotted, damp, and infested wood must be removed and replaced and leaks must be repaired to ensure that your carpenter ant problem does not continue.
Learn more about carpenter ants, or for a free evaluation of your pest problem.