Carpenter ants are pests that destroy homes, but in a somewhat different way than termites. They build smooth nests in both moist environments and in dry wood. Common breeding grounds are often found around windows, bathtubs, sinks, old tree stumps, and dead or dying trees near your home. They’re among the largest types of ants, averaging about ¼-inch to 3/8-inch long, and they’re typically black, yellowish, or reddish in color.
These little pests can cause tremendous damage in a home by burrowing tunnels through wood and insulation. Although they are a nuisance, you can do a lot to prevent carpenter ant colonies from forming in and around your home. Here are five ways to protect your house from carpenter ants.
Don’t Store Firewood on the Ground or Indoors
One big mistake that homeowners make is storing firewood on the ground for later use. This attracts carpenter ants, which are drawn to areas of wood-to-soil contact. Grab some bricks and elevate your wood off the ground before taking it inside.
Although it might be tempting to store firewood indoors on cold winter days, this is not a good idea either. Always store wood outdoors and inspect it carefully before bringing it inside.
Trim Near Trees & Bushes
Since carpenter ants thrive in both dry and moist wood, it’s important to keep trees, bushes, and foliage a safe distance away from your home’s exterior. Carpenter ants have a habit of using nearby tree and brush branches to make their way into your house.
As a general rule, no plants should touch your siding, windows, or roofing. This is also helpful if you hire a pest control professional to spray localized pesticides around your home to kill stubborn ant populations that remain after nests are physically removed.
Call for Help When You Identify an Infestation
If you experience a carpenter ant infestation, it’s a good idea to contact a professional pest control company to handle the situation. The quicker that you rid your home of carpenter ants, the less likely that your home will have serious structural damage.
If you are inexperienced with this species and only remove some of the ants, the colony could rebound and multiply. Queen ants lay about 15-20 eggs in their first year and up to 30 eggs in their second year. Find a trusted professional to collect and identify the ants and determine if physical controls are adequate or if chemical pesticides are needed to drive them out.
Carpenter Ant Removal and Prevention Tips
- First find the nest and then determine your carpenter ant removal options
- Look for “satellite” ant colonies about 20-40 feet from the parent nest
- Regularly inspect your foundation for cracks and seal up openings to prevent ants from entering
- Fix leaky roofs and chimneys to prevent wood from staying moist
- Consider chemical pesticides as a last resort if ants cannot all be captured
- After removal, seal access points and replace damaged wood