Carpenter ants are not as popular as termites, but they should cause the same concern for homeowners. Carpenter ants are very similar in risk of damage, as they bore into and nest inside hollow and decaying moist wood much like termites. They’re also well-hidden, so there is potential for letting nests and infestations grow and cause extensive damage before treatment. Responsible homeowners regularly inspect their homes and surrounding wood structures for carpenter ants to ensure prevention and timely repairs.
This week in our spring pest damage series, carpenter ants are taking the spotlight as one of the most common pests to infest and cause damage to homes in the Northeast.
What Do Carpenter Ants Look Like?
Carpenter ants come in many different variations and colors. Similar to termites, there are different types of carpenter ants based on the jobs they perform for their colony. Commonly, carpenter ants are jet-black or brown, but they can also take on yellowish or reddish hues.
Some species of carpenter ants have winged queens while others do not. Many of the males are winged, and if you see mandibles, it may be a worker carpenter ant. There are several species of carpenter ants, so you should call a professional to be sure.
Related Article: Spring Pest Damage: Carpenter Bees
Signs of Carpenter Ants In The House
While termites eat wood, carpenter ants only grind away at wood and spit it out. This behavior causes carpenter ants to leave behind sawdust-like piles around your home. Typically, this happens near wooden areas such as window sills, door jams, and baseboards. You’ll want to keep your ears on high alert for rustling noises within your walls and your eyes open for any winged ants creeping out from corners and crevices.
If you’ve recently had a lot of rain, or you’ve experienced any leaks and water infiltration, it’s important to be even more careful. Moist wood is the main target of carpenter ants looking to build nests and lay eggs.
Related Article: Spring Pest Damage: Termites
How to Prevent and Get Rid of Carpenter Ants
As with all threats to your home, prevention is the best option. Try to make your home as inhabitable as possible to pests like carpenter ants by removing their food and nesting resources.
To prevent carpenter ants, you’ll want to ensure all your wood is dry and solid. You’ll also want to avoid leaving out any sweets or meat and take care of any other bug infestations, all of which make up a carpenter ant’s diet. In addition, you should regularly check the interior and exterior of your home as well as your other structures like decks, sheds, and fencing.
If you already have carpenter ants, you’ll need to remove the nests and repair all the damage. Homes that have several nests will likely have extensive damage that causes harm to structural integrity. It’s best to call a professional to assess and treat your infestation.
Related Article: 3 Ways to Protect Your Wooden Deck
How to Repair Carpenter Ant Damage
Carpenter ant damage can be serious. Tunnels and holes bored into wood will weaken structural integrity, especially if there is also an existing water infiltration issue. If you have found one nest, it is highly likely that there are other satellite nests throughout the structure. Many homeowners who experience carpenter ant damage end up needing a substantial remodeling project.
If you live in an area prone to wood-damaging pests damage, consider installing vinyl or another damage-resistant material to replace wood. Advance Inc. offers a wide range of durable and pest-resistant options like insulated vinyl siding, Trex composite decking, and more.
Contact Advance Inc. for your in-home consultation today.