Carpenter ants in house are a common problem for homeowners. They have been known to cause extensive damage to exterior wooden walls, attics and other parts of a house. While not as devastating as having a termite infection, it is best to identify carpenter ants and eliminate them as soon as possible.
About Carpenter Ants
The most common carpenter ant in the United States is the Black Carpenter Ant. It is also subsequently one of the largest ants found in North America, routinely reaching sizes of a half an inch or more, with the queen and some drones having wings. Carpenter ants are most active at night and have been known to forage up to a hundred yards from the primary nest, which is where the queen, eggs and larvae are found. In addition, if the colony gets too large, carpenter ants will form satellite nests, which can contain many drones, but no queen, eggs or larvae.
Carpenter Ants in House
House infestation can occur by either primary or satellite nests. There may also be more than one nest infesting a house, depending on the size of the colony. It is always important to determine if the primary nest is part of the infestation, because if not, then exterminating the carpenter ants in the house will only result in more satellite nests being built down the line. Sometimes the primary nest can exist outside the house in things like tree stumps or dead logs, so care must be taken to exterminate carpenter ants there as well.
Clues to infestation are usually the appearance of a good number of carpenter ants, typically more than twenty, since less than that may just be scouts looking for food. Additionally, fine grained sawdust is indicative of carpenter ants creating tunnels and galleries in moist or rotten wood, since that is preferred by the ants over dry wood. Finally, carpenter ants make a crackling or rustling noise, similar to cellophane, if disturbed, so keep an ear out for a similar noise.
Extermination of Carpenter Ants in House
Many home owners would prefer to take care of a pest problem, like carpenter ants, without the aid of an exterminator. Unfortunately, the necessity to find all nests, including the primary, usually requires the help of a professional.
Exterminators will usually choose one of two methods for eliminating carpenter ants in house. The first technique involves tracking down each and every nest, including the primary, and then utilizing a pesticide to kill each nest. This technique is quite time consuming, but usually results in minimal damage to the home. The second technique is more of a blanket tactic and involves drilling holes periodically into all of the walls, and then spraying a pesticide into all of the holes in the hopes of destroying all of the pests in the house. This is a much faster technique, but results in some damage to the house, plus it is possible that the primary nest will be missed and another round of extermination will be required.
Prevention of Carpenter Ant Infestation
A little care should be taken to prevent house infestation by carpenter ants. Make sure to trim all trees and bushes around the house so that they don’t touch the house. Fix any moisture problems you may have, such as a leaky roof, leaky pipes, etc. Replace any rotten wood that may attract carpenter ants and eliminate any wood that comes in contact with the ground. Review the foundation of the house for cracks or crevices and seal those up. Finally, store any firewood or other items which are stored outside and brought into the house up off the ground.