Carpenter ants contribute to the natural environment as they help clean up dying or dead trees, limbs, and leaves that litter the forest floor. They also provide a steady food source for many different creatures within their respective ecosystems. Carpenter ants that are found in nature are just part of what makes the world go around, but let them find their way into your home, and things can turn out badly.
Carpenter ants are considered the most destructive of all ant species when considering the damage they can do to homes and structures. They are not most dangerous or most aggressive, but they can inadvertently put you and your family in danger if they become established inside your home. Learning how to eliminate and prevent carpenter ant infestations can help you protect your family and your home.
Carpenter ants can be the most destructive ant species when it comes to them invading your home. Contrary to popular belief, carpenter ants don’t eat the wood that they remove from logs, dead trees, or framework within homes. Carpenter ants prefer to consume proteins and will eat insects that are dead or alive and honeydew produced by aphids when in their natural habitats. Inside of your home, carpenter ants will eat dog food, meats, honey, syrup, jelly, sugar, or any other accessible sweets.
Carpenter ants have powerful jaws that they use to tunnel into the wood of trees, logs, or your home. The irreparable damage they cause can be costly and dangerous to the inhabitants of an infested home. When dealing with a carpenter ant infestation, a professional pest control agency will be able to assess the damage and recommend the proper course of action to eliminate the threat and prevent future invasions.
It is also recommended to have professional contractors assess the damage and determine if the damage poses any threat to your family. They will be able to estimate costs to repair carpenter ant damage as well. Learning to discern the signs of carpenter ants is the first step to keeping them out of your home and in their natural habitats.
Signs of Carpenter Ants
Knowing what to look for is half the battle when you suspect that carpenter ants have invaded your home. By learning these signs, you can keep an eye out for carpenter ant activity, significantly reducing the risk of them extensively damaging the interior and structural framework of your house. Signs of carpenter ants in a home can be in your face like a billboard stating, “carpenter ants are here,” and other times, the signs can be as subtle as noticing a solitary ant scuttling across the kitchen floor. Common signs that you should be aware of concerning carpenter ants are as follows:
- Noises coming from inside of doors or walls:
- A large colony of carpenter ants tends to make a significant amount of noise when they are actively tunneling through the wood to build or enlarge their nests. This noise translates as a rustling seeming to come from within the doors or walls of your home.
- Abnormal heat or moisture coming from inside of doors or walls:
- Large colonies of carpenter ants produce a lot of heat and humidity as they are actively expanding and caring for their nests; this can translate as radiant heat seeming to come from within the doors and walls of your home. The moisture that is produced by this activity and the heat can cause unsightly cosmetic damage to the interior doors, ceilings, and walls of your home.
- Piles of carpenter ant droppings near their nesting sights:
- Carpenter ant droppings or “frass” can be found near active nesting sights. These piles of frass contain the wood shavings from their tunneling efforts, debris from their regular diets, and feces.
- The presence of winged ants that seem to be coming from doors, walls, or ceilings:
- Carpenter ants are commonly misidentified as termites when they are breeding. Carpenter ant swarmers or breeders are male and female ants that have wings. After they have mated, the male swarmers will die off, and the female swarmers will shed their wings once they find a suitable location to start a new colony.
- The shed wings of carpenter ant swarmers around baseboards, vents, and window sills:
- Finding shed wings in areas where carpenter ants can gain access to the outdoors is a sign of a thriving colony within your home. It is best to enlist a professional exterminator to correctly identify if the wings are indeed those of carpenter ant swarmers.
Preventing Carpenter Ant Infestations
Due to the extensive damage that carpenter ants can cause, you will need to act quickly if you suspect that carpenter ants have intruded into your house. Preventative measures such as sealing off gaps, cracks, and other access points around the foundation, windows, and doors of your home can help reduce the risk of an infestation of many different pests such as carpenter ants. Proper landscaping practices and yard maintenance is another great way to keep carpenter ants away from your home.
Using mulch around your home is acceptable, with a one-foot barrier between the mulch and the foundation. Keeping landscaping shrubs and trees from contacting your house will also deter ants from entering your home. If you live on a lot that borders forest land, dead trees, logs, leaf litter, or fallen limbs, clear it from your lawn to prevent carpenter ants from being enticed to move closer to your house. You will also want to keep stacked firewood as far away from the foundations of your home as possible.
The knowledge of how carpenter ant colonies work, what they eat, and how they build their nests will prepare you for recognizing the signs of an infestation. If you feel that carpenter ants may cause issues in your home, don’t hesitate to contact Bulwark Exterminating for help. Using the preventive measures that were mentioned above in tandem with a professional exterminator will help protect your family and your home.