You may spot one and think, “everyone gets ants in the summer” – but it’s likely a sign carpenter ants have targeted your property. Of all possible places, why did they go after your house?
Understanding Ant Behavior
Many people assume that carpenter ants behave like termites, which chew through wood to make their nests and consume its cellulose in the process. Instead, carpenter ants merely tunnel through the wood, preferring to feed on sweet and fatty foods. This pattern still causes structural damage to your home, but it’s far less gradual than dealing with termites.
When homeowners choose to ignore the presence of carpenter ants, their nests continue to grow and colonies multiply. Initially, carpenter ants go after soft wood with a high moisture content. With time, they begin tunneling through dry, harder wood, plastic and insulation, gathering inside your hollow portions and wall voids.
Outdoors, they’ll continue this pattern in rotting trees, stumps and logs, eventually reaching the heartwood and killing the tree. Inside your home, you’re more likely to find them:
- In poorly ventilated, moldy or humid areas
- Underneath your porch or behind its pillars
- In piles of wood outdoors
- Along windowsills
- In door casings
How an Infestation Develops
Frequently, the carpenter ant problem begins in your lawn and the nests in your house are its satellites. The ants will hitch their way in through firewood or in search of food, creeping in around doors, windows or crevices around electrical cables and plumbing. Shrubs or tree branches right by your home can also act as an easy pathway in.
Once the ants begin building nests indoors, they’ll start by tunneling through the most accessible wood. These nests are usually populated by workers, larvae and pupae; the queen remains in the main colony outdoors.
What Carpenter Ants Are After
Although your home’s damp wood proves to be a bonus, carpenter ants frequently crawl into your home in search of food. They’ll travel a great distance for it – as much as 300 feet from the nest.
Like all ants, this species goes after sweet and fatty substances like:
- Honeydew – the substance secreted from aphids and scale insects
- Pet foods
Carpenter ants are also known to feed on other insects, as well as small invertebrates. As such, another infestation may be attracting them to your home. For instance, termites – which they’re known to eat. Furthermore, your home may offer a source of water. Beyond moist, damp wood, that could be:
- A leak from faucets, appliances or a roof in need of repair
- Places where condensation collects
- Bathroom or kitchen sinks
- Various spots in your bathroom, kitchen or laundry room
- Pipes and drains
Decreasing Your Chances
Even if you clean up spills and stop leaving food out, don’t rely on this technique to handle an infestation. Carpenter ants can last for days without food, so try these tips to make your home less inviting to these pests:
- Be careful where you leave wood outdoors. Elevate it above ground and store it at least 100 yards from any building foundation.
- Reduce moisture by repairing any leaks, looking for sources of damp wood and regularly cleaning your gutters.
- Keep certain areas ventilated. Especially with attics and crawlspaces, poor ventilation may result in moldy, damp conditions that eventually attract carpenter ants.
Did you recently find a carpenter ant infestation on your property? For immediate service, skip the ineffective traps and sprays by calling Eliminate ‘Em Pest Control. To make an appointment, give us a call today.