Carpenter Ants and How to Control Them
Do I Have a Carpenter Ants Infestation
If you are seeing big, black ants in your house that just won’t go away, and keep coming back after you spray them, you may have an infestation of carpenter ants. How do I get rid of them for good?
The Carpenter Ant makes its nest both indoors and outdoors in moist, decaying or hollow wood. They pull out wet or moist wood fibers to enlarge their nests and provide passageways. this activity produces wood shavings mixed with other debris which provides clues to nesting locations.
Shredded fragments of wood, similar in appearance to coarse sawdust, are ejected from the galleries through pre-existing cracks or slits made by the ants. When such debris are found (typically containing dead ants and bits of insects which the carpenter ants have eaten), it’s a good sign that a carpenter ant nest is nearby. The excavated debris often remains hidden behind a wall or in some other concealed area, and may not be obvious when you search.
The carpenter ant is usually larger than most other house-infesting ants. They vary in color from a dull black or reddish-yellow color to a combination of black and dull red or reddish-orange. Carpenter ant workers range in size from 5/16 to 7/16 inches long. See pictures of the Carpenter ant. A Carpenter ant will tunnel or chew into the wet or damp wood to form nest galleries. If they go unnoticed for several years, some species of the carpenter ant may cause significant structural damage. Carpenter ant species are more of a nuisance when they forage indoors, often attracted to sweet foods.
Carpenter Ant Treatment
The Carpenter ant species may nest in almost any crack and crevice and often occur in the structural wood where water leaks or rot occurs. Outdoors, carpenter ants use dead trees or tree limbs, stumps, logs or areas under stones as nesting sites.
Once the carpenter ant nest has been located, control is relatively easy. Nests can also be removed and infested wood replaced, if possible. Check around leaky window and door frames. Observe any ant activity and follow ants back to their nest if you can. When they disappear into a wall void try putting some gel bait at the entrance. Carpenter ant nest outside of your home 75% of the time and come in for food and water. You should inspect around the foundation of your home for signs of carpenter ants. Look for moist harborage areas, like stacked firewood, and dense planting beds.
Do it Yourself treatment options include the use of a gel bait, granular or a waterproof dust insecticide applied to the nest. In some cases, it may be necessary to drill small holes into wall voids, baseboards, window and door sills to facilitate applying dust treatment to the nest or major part of the colony. Read and follow the product label for best DIY Carpenter ants treatment results. Use gel bait at the nest entrance and granular bait along carpenter ant trails.