Carpenter Ant Control

Several carpenter ants foraging for food

Carpenter ants are very common wood-destroying insects in the Dayton area and throughout the Miami valley. They're large ants, ranging in size from 3/8 inch to 7/8 inch in length, and are predominantly black in color.

Like all ants, carpenter ants are obligate social insects. Their colonies can grow quite large and have a very orderly, structured social system. The ants you see foraging are workers who are looking for food. Workers also work behind the scenes in the nest itself, doing things like excavating galleries, raising the young and keeping the place tidy.

In nature, carpenter ants usually nest in dead trees or tree limbs. But they're pretty comfortable in other kinds of voids, including man-made ones like hollow fence posts. In homes, they're most often found in structural voids such as wall and ceiling voids, behind door and window trim, and inside roof soffits.

Carpenter Ant Damage

Carpenter ant damage to a piece of wood in a home.

It's important to mention that carpenter ants don't actually "eat" wood. They excavate it out to build nests in which they live and raise their young. You can tell a carpenter ant nest from a termite gallery because he inside of carpenter ant nests tend to be very smooth and there's no mud in them. They also often have "windows" through which the carpenter ants discard debris and the sawdust from the wood they excavate.

Another obvious difference is that you'll probably see the carpenter ants going into and out of a nest. This isn't true of termites, who travel in mud shelter tubes to protect themselves from light, air currents, and dehydration. You may also see frass, or sawdust, under a carpenter ants' nest.

Even though they don't actually "eat" wood, carpenter ants can cause major damage to your home. DIY carpenter ant control attempts usually don't work, and my complicate treatment by a professional. It's better to call a professional exterminator right away if you think you have carpenter ants.

Preventing Carpenter Ant Problems

There are a few things you can do to reduce the chances of your home becoming infested by carpenter ants:

Carpenter ants prefer wood that's already been water-damaged, so correcting moisture problems caused by faulty rain gutters, damaged shingles, or other structural defects can help discourage carpenter ants.

Cut back tree limbs that touch or overhang the house.

Correct bad grading problems that allow moisture to puddle around the foundation.

Store firewood as far from the house as practical.

Consider enrolling in one of our residential pest control programs so we can inspect and, if necessary, treat your home to prevent small carpenter ant problems from becoming big ones. A well-timed exterior treatment can dramatically reduce the chances of a carpenter ant problem that season.

Carpenter Ant Control

Carpenter ant problems are very different from each other, and there's no one "right" method to treat them. Our approach will depend on the particular problem, its location and severity, the time of the year, and even the recent weather conditions. Some of the methods we may use include:

The use of attractant baits, if the weather and time of year are such that the ants are taking baits. They can be pretty picky about that sometimes.

Treating exposed wood with borates. This is a slow, but long-lasting and environmentally friendly approach if the location of the nest lends itself to this method.

Precisely injecting desiccant dusts or insecticides directly into structural voids or wooden members, or behind the trim if that's where the nests are.

If there's a moisture problem (which there often is), then that should also be corrected to help prevent re-infestation, as well as mold, mildew, and damage from the water itself.

One thing we don't do is soak down your whole house with smelly insecticides in the hope that we happen to luck out and hit the nest. That sort of imprecise approach is amateurish, environmentally irresponsible, and almost always ineffective.

If you have a problem with carpenter ants, please contact us for a no-obligation inspection and consultation. We look forward to your call.


Jarrod's Corner

Seeing ants in your home?  Call today for a free estimate by phone. No long term contracts required!

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Jan 12, 2018 10:37:34 am.

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