Carpenter ants are very useful creatures, responsible for looking after ecosystems by chewing through wood which produces saw dust which then becomes fertilizer for plants. However, while this is great in the great outdoors, when this starts to happen inside your home it constitutes far more of an issue. Let’s take a closer look at the damage a carpenter ant infestation can do to your home.
What are Carpenter Ants?
Carpenter ants are one of the largest ant species, ranging in size from ¼ to ½ an inch in length, and are dark in color. The worker ants are wingless, but when in reproductive form carpenter ants are larger and have wings.
Carpenter ants get their name because they prefer establishing their colonies in damp or damaged wood. These ants have claw-like mandibles which they use to tunnel through wood and create their nests. They don’t eat the wood, instead the dumping the sawdust known as ‘frass’ outside of their tunnels.
Damage Caused by Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ant infestations can often go unnoticed for sometime, meaning that remediation is often costly, and is often mistaken for termite activity. While both insects are found in or around wood, termites use wood as a food source, whereas carpenter ants burrow through the wood to create a home. It can take years for a carpenter ant to achieve this, and by hollowing out the wood these little ants can create some severe structural damage.
If carpenter ants call a building their home it usually means that that building has a moisture or humidity problem. Areas that carpenter ants particularly love are around dishwashers, sinks, laundry rooms, and bathrooms, as well as areas that have been affected by plumbing leaks. Aside from wood, carpenter ants also like to burrow through foam insulation and occupy wall cavities, potentially creating some severe damage without ever being noticable from the outside walls. A carpenter ant infestation can also exist on your property and not in your home, as the ants may have their nest in your yard and be entering your property to forage for food.
To remove an infestation of carpenter ants you first need to find its nest. Look out for signs of frass, the sawdust-like material that is a direct result of their tunnelling. Depending on the location of the nest, removal may be simple. If not, you can remove the ants from their nest with a vacuum cleaner, making sure to dispose responsibly of the vacuum bag to prevent ants from escaping and returning to their nest. Keep an eye out for satellite nests also, as a large infestation is likely to have spread to multiple sites.
Finally, your best and most important move is to call in the professionals, who can access and remove the nest, as well as advise you on your next steps, such as structural safety, repairing damage, and tips to prevent carpenter ant infestation from happening again.
Proudly serving the greater Chicagoland area in Illinois and southeast Wisconsin, the professional exterminators at Aerex Pest Control understand the habits of different types of pests and use that knowledge when developing a pest control program that is best suited to your home and your particular problem. Our technicians are professional, state certified, licensed applicators. Call today for your free consultation 847-255-8888 or click here for a free quick quote.