Carpenter ants can be one of the most common pests in certain areas of the US, and they are known for the fact that they like to build their colonies inside of wood. This can lead to structural damage, and it’s what makes them so undesirable.
Carpenter ants can be identified by their large size. They are currently the largest ant species in US home infestations, and like any other ant, the workers have to leave the nest to forage for food. They can reach lengths of ½ inch, and they are black in coloration with noticeably large jaws.
These ants are quite fast, and they are nocturnal, leaving the nest to forage about 15 minutes after sundown. They will use pheromone trails to communicate with each other and create pathways to food sources.
A carpenter ant colony can reach as many as 10,000 members, with only 10 to 15 percent of the workers in the colony being outside of it searching for food at any point in time. Needless to say, a colony of this size requires a lot of room, so carpenter ants can do a lot of damage to the home.
Carpenter ant colonies are spread when you have a mature colony that sends out winged reproductives, also known as swarmers, during the spring. If one of these swarmers lands on a piece of wood that is connected to your home, and it successfully manages to start a nest, then you will have an infestation.
Preventing carpenter ant infestations can be tough, but there are a few measures that can be implemented. Since these ants like wood that is high in moisture, you can first make sure that you do not have any decaying or dead wood in your yard. Tree stumps, wood piles and mulch should be either removed or kept far enough away from the home. Indoors, wood can be treated chemically to prevent an infestation, and certain areas of the home can be sprayed with residual insecticides to effectively create a barrier that prevents all insects from entering the building.
Control can also be tricky. A pro will either have to find the main nest of the colony and destroy it, or he will have to use baits to kill the queen over the span of a few weeks. If you would like to know more about carpenter ant prevention and control methods, contact us today with any questions you may have.