Carpenter Ants are one of the most commonly found ants but one of the most difficult to control. Carpenter ants are social insects which mean they make a nest. They Vary in Size and Color (blackish). They’re large 1/4 to 1/2 inch and occasionally winged. Carpenter ant swarms occur in the spring. Unlike termites, their bodies are segmented, wings are approximately half the size of their body and two pair, and they have elbowed antennae.
Do They Cause Any Damage to your Home?**
**YES! – Carpenter Ants damage wood by hollowing it out for nesting. They excavate galleries in the wood. The extent and potential damage to your home depends on how many nests are actually present within the structure and how long the infestation has been active.
*Carpenter Ants are omnivorous and will eat anything including plants, food and each other. They don’t eat the wood, like a termite, but rather chew and scrape away at it causing damage.
What Should I Look For?
*Carpenter ants like to hide. Nests can occur up to 100 feet from where you actually see them. They can be inside or outside your home, on your property, or even your neighbor’s property.
*You will see shredded fragments of wood, similar in appearance to coarse sawdust that has been ejected by the ants as they scrape the wood. These shavings contain black specks which are actually ant body parts and parts of insects the carpenter ants have eaten. This is called Frass. You might not see this as sometimes the frass is behind your walls.
*You may also notice wood with a smooth, sandpapered appearance where the ants have scraped away at the wood surface.
*Carpenter ants nest in both moist and dry wood, but prefer wood which is moist which is easier for them to chew.
*If you suspect that you have a carpenter ant nest look for:
- rotted wood
- areas in wood dampened by water leaks-sinks, bathtubs, poorly sealed window/door frames, roof leaks and poorly flashed chimneys
- logs and tree stumps close to the house
- hollow spaces like wall voids-i.e. behind a dishwasher or on a porch column
*If the nest is large enough you can actually hear them. Carpenter ants make a noise that sounds like a crackling fire. The noise is not the sound of wood being eaten, it’s actually their mandibles (jaws).
How Do I Treat Them?
Our main effort is to locate and destroy the nest. There are a few ways that this is accomplished:
1) We use a product that has a strong flushing effect. We treat cracks and crevices where carpenter ants usually nest. If the product comes close to the nest, the ants will be flushed out and
2) We may also use a product that dehydrates the ant exoskeleton killing them.
3) We might treat your foundation with a product called Termidor that has a transfer effect. When taken back to the nest via the ants Termidor will be spread amongst the colony and ultimately kill it. This product has a residual effect. While low in toxicity this product is very effective at eliminating ants.