Carpenter ants and termites are the two pests that cause the most damage by burrowing into wood. When a carpenter ant infestation occurs in your home or business, the ants will literally chew through your wood, potentially causing major structural damage. Here are some signs to look for and how to handle it.
1. Sawdust or Frass
Frass is the term for the wood particles that carpenter ants discard around their nests. It looks like finely ground up sawdust. The ants will leave frass deposits in small mounds at the entrances to their nests.
Carpenter ants don’t actually eat wood; they just chop it up in their mandibles and remove it from their tunnels. It has to go somewhere, so they drop it from their nesting hole entrances. This is the most easily recognizable sign of a carpenter ant infestation.
2. Winged Ants
Another critical sign is large winged ants coming from walls, vents, ceilings, or other crevices around your house. This means the ants are getting ready to swarm and breed, which is a sure sign that carpenter ants have invaded your home.
3. Large Ants
Everyone is familiar with the tiny red and black ants that infiltrate kitchens to look for food. But if you are finding an increasing number of large ants, carpenter ants may have made a nest.
Small black ants won’t be more than about 6 millimeters in length, while carpenter ants will reach up to 12 millimeters in length, with queens reaching 20 millimeters. Granted, one or two of these larger ants do not mean your home has been invaded—they might just be workers looking for food. However, if you begin finding them often, the chances are that they have made a nest inside of the woodwork of your structure.
4. Rustling Noises
Rustling noises in your beams or studs are generally a sign that you have a carpenter ant problem. The sound will not be easy to detect, but you can hear it by putting your ear up to a suspected piece of wood and listening carefully.
The best way to handle a carpenter ant problem is to prevent the ants from entering your home or business. Carpenter ants generally use bridges, like overhanging branches or bushes, to explore new territory for a nest. If you cut these back, they will be less likely to make it into your structure.
Sealing off cracks and crevices will also keep carpenter ants at bay. Use a good silicon caulk to fill in holes around windows, doors, water valves, and electric cable entries. By removing the entry points, you will deter carpenter ants.
The Professional Way
If carpenter ants invade your space, the best solution is to call a professional exterminator. Granted, there are many aftermarket ant baits and other ways to exterminate the colony, but they are unreliable and may not rid your business or home of the ants.
The only effective solution is to get professional help. A professional exterminator will eliminate your carpenter ant problem, and you’ll have peace of mind.
If you have any questions about carpenter ants, their signs, what to look for, and solutions to the problem, contact Bain Pest Control Service. For four generations, Bain has been New England’s pest control company of choice.