Carpenter Ants and Their Damage to Homes

Carpenter ants are one of the most common insect infestations a home can have. They burrow into wood to make their nests, causing damage to not only your hardwood floors but to the structure of your home as well. They tend to burrow into softened wood that has been previously damaged or weakened by water or other pests such as termites.  If your home requires hardwood installation in order to deal with a problem with carpenter ants, don’t hesitate to call us at 215-515-7355.

Carpenter ants can establish colonies in your home that can live for years. And if all that wasn’t bad enough: they bite.

There are a number of signs that you may have a carpenter ant infestation in your home. The presence of ants may not signify a carpenter ant presence, as identifying the type of ant you are seeing is important. There are 24 different species of carpenter ants, making identification tricky. They range in size from 3.4 mm to 13 mm in length and have coloring varying from red, orange, or yellow to brown and black, which typically varies by region.

Adult carpenter ants have wings and will crawl out of their nests to mate. These can be distinguished from termites by both their antennae and their wings. Carpenter ants will have bent, or elbowed, antennae and their front set of wings will be longer than the back set. They also have a narrow waist. Termites have completely straight antennae, no tapering of the waist, and their wings are all the same length (and generally longer than their entire bodies).

If you have a carpenter ant infestation in your home, you may also notice piles of wood shavings at the entrance to their nest sites. Since carpenter ants do not actually eat the wood that they excavate as termites do, they simply discard the pieces of wood that they chew through, sending it out of the tunnels where they nest. You are also likely to hear a hollow sound when you knock on the wood where you think there is an infestation, as that will be where the ants have excavated their tunnels.

There are several ways you can prevent a carpenter ant colony from nesting inside your home. This can include sealing off any possible entrances into your home, such as cracks by doors and windows or any place that electrical wire and utilities connect with the building. You can also take care to limit any water damage by immediately fixing leaks and cleaning out your gutters regularly, and making sure moist areas of the home like your basement or bathroom are well-ventilated. Make sure that food is properly and tightly stored in your kitchen area, and remove any excess wood or stumps that may be near the perimeter of your home.

Carpenter ants can severely damage the structure of your home and floors. It’s crucial that you start to treat a carpenter ant infestation as soon as you can, to protect your home and mitigate the damage.

You have a few options when it comes to treating an infestation in your home. Sometimes, the ants can be removed simply by removing the piece of wood that the ants have started nesting in. However, carpenter ants often build satellite nests off of their main nest area, which can be expansive. You can eliminate the nest by drilling a few holes into the wall, about 1/8th inch wide, and puffing boric acid powder into the nest. This is an effective way to kill carpenter ants, however, as there are usually a number of satellite nests with a well-established colony, you may be unable to find them all.

A pest control professional will be able to locate nests in your home, and not only treat the outside of your home where ants are able to find their way into the structure but also can locate each nest site and treat those as well.

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