Carpenter ants pose a problem because their nesting habits destroy wood structures. Spotting infestations early is important to prevent extensive damage. Here is more information about these pests and what to do about them.
About Carpenter Ants
Often seen crawling or flying around wood, carpenter ants are often mistaken for termites. Unlike termites, however, these ants have no interest in consuming wood. Instead, the ants’ desire is to dig into wood, hollow it out, and create a nice warm nest inside, which can destroy the integrity of wood walls, beams, and other features.
To distinguish carpenter ants from termites, look at their color, body shape, and antennae. Ants are typically dark-colored, have a narrow waist, a node between the thorax and abdomen, and have bent antennae. Termites are smaller, have a straight, broad waist, and have relatively straight antennae jutting from their head.
Like some types of termites, carpenter ants prefer damp wood. This means that if your home has experienced plumbing leaks, roof leaks, or similar moisture issues, it will be more attractive to these pests than your neighbor’s dry home.
Signs of Infestation
If you see carpenter ants crawling or flying indoors, chances are high that a colony of them has infested a structure in the area. It is not necessarily your building that is affected, but you should pay attention and check everything, just in case.
However, because they can do so much damage, you shouldn’t wait for ants to appear. It is better to check for these pests periodically so that you can handle them swiftly. Here is what to look for:
- Holes in wood that is damp or has previously been water damaged – Since the ants enjoy damp wood, this is where you should begin looking. These holes might lead to tunnels, also called galleries, which the pests have hollowed out.
- Debris similar to sawdust outside holes in wood – The material will be uniform in size.
- Winged or wingless ants emerging from crevices in wood – If you were able to peer deep into the crevice, you would very likely find that it leads to a nest.
- Sounds – If you knock against the wood, you might hear a sound often described as faint rustling. This happens when a large colony is alarmed by sound and vibration. In addition, the wood might sound hollow.
If the suspected nest site is spongy or rotting on the outside, you might be able to cut out a small section and get a clear view of the ants inside.
What to Do
If you are sure that the ants have only colonized a small area, then you can try to kill the colony using standard ant bait that the ants will bring back to the nest. Other do-it-yourself steps include removing damp firewood, getting rid of infested furnishings, fixing leaks, and dehumidifying the home to deter future infestation.
In many cases, it is better to bring in a pest management professional to handle the problem. Carpenter ant nests are often well hidden, and it is possible you have many more than you believe. Pest professionals know how to locate nests and administer the right pesticides to eliminate the colonies.
If you suspect that carpenter ants have infested your home or business, you don’t have to handle this headache alone. Contact us at Bain Pest Control and let our professionals help.