Carpenter ant activity varies depending on the season, but these ants have the potential to do damage within a home throughout the entire year. And with spring on its way, the activity will surely pick up. As the weather warms, their activity will increase and you’ll be more likely to see signs of an infestation. During the winter months, however, it’s easy to think that ants have gone dormant. Therefore, activity and damage can go on without detection. If carpenter ants have gotten inside a building where it’s warm, it allows for year-round activity. They’ll still be within the wooden structures of your home, working away behind the walls and expanding their ever-growing colonies.
Inside wooden structures, where carpenter ants build their nests, worker ants have powerful jaws that allow them to bite and chip away at wood to form tunnels. If you find carpenter ant damage, you’ll see crumbling wood and usually a series of tunnels within. The damage looks similar to termite damage. The difference is carpenter ants don’t actually eat the wood, while termites do, they only use it for their home. As a result, you may notice small piles of wood shavings lying near trim in your home. Since they don’t eat the wood, they need another food source. Sometimes, they will use human food sources, getting into pantries and food packaging.
If you are seeing ants inside your home, it can be difficult to determine whether or not they are carpenter ants. They can range from red to black in color. Within a colony, there are several castes. The majority of carpenter ants are between 6-12 mm in length, but there are a few exceptions. Some ants temporarily have wings, these are the reproductive ants. The queen ants are the largest of all the ants in a colony, sometimes reaching 20 mm in length. Depending on the species, a colony can range from 3,000 to 100,000 ants. With these great populations, the damage caused can be quite severe. As the worker ants pick away at the wooden structures inside your home, ceilings, floors, and walls can weaken and warp. You may notice crumbling frames or even see the actual ants. We recently wrote a blog describing the many signs carpenter ants leave behind.
Controlling carpenter ants is difficult to do on your own, but here are some prevention tips you can try:
- Keep food stored in airtight containers or in the refrigerator.
- Clean up crumbs and spills immediately.
- Keep trash covered tightly and empty trash cans regularly.
- Fix water-damaged wood. This is the first choice for carpenter ants.
- Seal off cracks and crevices that allow ants to enter your home.
- Store pet food away.
Parkway Pest Services can eliminate carpenter ants from your home, inspect for damage that’s been done, and help prevent future infestations. When dealing with carpenter ants, professional control is often necessary. Since the activity is within the wooden structure of your home, DIY efforts usually turn out to be blind attempts that often fail. Our certified local pest control professionals understand how carpenter ant colonies work and can locate areas of high activity, targeting these pests and removing them. Parkway has been family-owned and operated since 1932. Give us a call today to learn more about our residential pest control solutions.