Recently, I went out on a service call for a homeowner in Jackson, NJ who was complaining of ants in his home. Ants become active once the weather turns warmer and they wake up hungry! They forage hundreds of feet from their nests to find food and our homes provided a viable food source for them!
Before I began my inspection, I asked the homeowner where was he seeing the highest level of ant activity? Different pests have different foraging habits and determining where the highest level of activity is and what type of pest is invading the home, will help me determine the best treatment options.
I began a thorough inspection in the living room and immediately discovered ants trailing along the baseboards and up the window sill. Upon closer inspection, I identified these ants as carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are wood-destroying insects. They cause damage by excavating wood – burrowing into it to make room for their growing colony. While carpenter ants don’t cause as much structural damage as termites, if left untreated year after year, carpenter ant damage can be extensive. Once a carpenter ant colony is established, it will continue to expand as long as food and moisture are present – and, for ants, once they are inside a home, those items are easy to find. The most effective treatment for a carpenter ant infestation is to destroy their nest.
To find their nest, I followed their foraging trail from the exterior living room window to a tree that was over 60 feet away! As I inspected the hollow portion inside the tree, I found multiple ants foraging inside.
For exterior treatment, I applied a liquid non-repellent application along the exterior of the home, along the base of the tree line, and inside the hollow hole of the tree. For interior treatment, I applied a gel bait along the baseboards, cracks, and crevices in the living room. Once a carpenter ant comes in contact with either the liquid non-repellent or the gel bait, they will transfer it back to their colony where they feed each other, groom each other and even eat each other. Within a short amount of time, the ants are eliminated!
As an added measure, I treated the kitchen and a nearby bedroom with the gel bait. This is a great example of how we use the ants’ social behavior in a colony to reach the nest indirectly.