Carpenter ants get their namesake from using wood for their homes rather than just dirt. Though they do not eat wood, like termites, they do chew and gnaw at it to tunnel or create nests. Mature colonies tend to contain 10-20,000 workers, with larger populations topping 50,000. Most colonies only contain one queen.
Signs of an Infestation
Aside from seeing the ants, the only visible sign of a carpenter ant infestation is tiny holes on the surface of the wood. Beneath these should be any debris that is expunged by the ants as they burrow (sawdust-like fragments, as well as any body parts of deceased/injured insects).
They prefer softer wood, so any that is weakened by fungus, other infestations or moisture problems are of particular interest.
What Do You Do About Carpenter Ants?
Prevention is always the best first attack. As ants seek food and water in addition to shelter, it is always best to deprive them of any such sources. Keeping moisture away from wooden structures, as well as regularly treating the wood with a sealant to protect it from water, eliminates the ability of water to offer sustenance and protects the strength of the wood. Many wood treatments are also known to protect your home from insects, as well. From there, the typical ant-prevention is also applicable.
Even if you’ve already confirmed they’re in the home, still follow the above suggestions. It will not do any good to rid one colony from your home to only keep it desirable for others. In addition to this, there is a multi-step approach to tackling carpenter ants.
- Locate their entrances/exits to the home. If you’ve seen the ants, you can follow them to the holes that they are using.
- Bait. It is recommended to leave some type of poison that isn’t instant-killing. This will entice workers to return the poisoned treat to the queen for her consumption (as well as the rest of the colony).
- Seal. Once the ants have had a sufficient opportunity to take some of the set bait back into the home, go ahead and clean that area and seal the holes that were found. Be sure to monitor to see if any new holes were created as any trapped ants attempt to escape from inside.
For more information on carpenter ants, or to receive quality pest control services, contact Dayton's Pest Control today.