Why Do I Have Carpenter Ants?


As homeowners, we know a thing or two about ants invading our properties. And by properties, we mean our yards, outdoor decks, basements, bathrooms, picnics, pool parties, and pretty much anywhere else we don’t want ants to be. However, that doesn’t mean it isn't startling to see giant ants crawling around your house. When carpenter ants invade your property, it should provoke a much different reaction than your typical annoyance.

What do carpenter ants look like?

Ants come in all kinds of different colors and sizes. The question is – what makes the carpenter ant different from other ants? Carpenter can be anywhere from ½” to ⅝” long. They are quite common and can come in a combination of black and red, or completely black, red, or brown.

Where do carpenter ants live?

Carpenter ants nest both indoors and outdoors. It’s only when they make their way indoors does it become a problem for homeowners because they nest in your walls and destroy your home from the inside out. Some areas they enjoy nesting are:

  • Close to moisture and food sources.
  • Safe from predators (like birds and lizards).
  • Safe from flooding, heat, and other environmental stresses.
  • Easily accessible for ants but not for humans.

When carpenter ants nest outside, they can often be found in hollowed-out dead trees, tree stumps, firewood, and fence posts – they love wood! Where they differ from other ants is in how they treat wood. Carpenter ants are excavators. They will chew and spit out the wood in an attempt to tunnel their way to a nesting site and leave smooth tunnels in their wake.

What attracts carpenter ants?

Multiple conditions must be present for carpenter ants to thrive. There are items that will be an attraction to carpenter ants and will invite them into your structure. The top seven factors that can attract carpenter ants to your property are as follows:

  • Water sources
  • Insect honeydew from aphids
  • Plant and fruit juices
  • Proteins and sugars
  • Pet food
  • Insects and arthropods
  • Inside foods such as sweets, meats, eggs, cakes, and grease

Signs you have a carpenter ant infestation

Typically, a property owner gets their first indication that they have a carpenter ant infestation problem when they see a winged male carpenter ant inside. Another sign of an infestation is the sound of rustling coming from within wall voids or from wood where the nest is located. Because carpenter ants create tunnels in wooden structures, when they use your wood as tunnels to their nests, they can weaken your support structures. This destruction can cause some serious and potentially dangerous conditions in your home or business.

How to prevent carpenter ant infestations

Unfortunately, once you have a serious carpenter ant problem, they’re nearly impossible to get rid of. You can, however, eliminate some of the factors that will attract them onto your property or give them access to your house. The best ways to avoid carpenter ant infestation include:

  • Eliminate standing water and moisture sources. Carpenter ants need a water source to survive.
  • Monitor moisture buildup that creates wood rot. This includes checking for leaking pipes and making sure humidity levels are kept in check throughout your home, even crawl spaces.
  • Trim tree limbs away from your house. Carpenter ants will climb up these limbs, onto your roof, and into the attic.
  • Seal cracks and crevices in the foundation or around doors/window sills. Silicone-based caulk is recommended as the most inaccessible for pests.
  • Store firewood away from the home. Piles of wood or firewood stacks are prime nesting ground for carpenter ants.

How to get rid of carpenter ants

Because eradication of carpenter ants is especially difficult, it is best to call the professionals at Bill Clark Pest Control. Bill Clark Pest Control is staffed by a Doctor of Entomology and 70 continuously trained “Bugsperts.” With their expert training and experience fighting pests, they can assist property owners in finding and eradicating nuisance carpenter ants. Call us today to get solutions to your pest problems.

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