Typical Pest Species: Ants

Carpenter Ants are large black or rust colored ants. They usually dwell in and excavate wood, thus their name. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not ingest wood, they do however chew through it to form galleries to nest in. The debris from their excavation is called frass, and looks like small piles of sawdust. Carpenter ants prefer soft, wet, rotted wood, and although their natural habitat is woodland areas, they frequently invade homes, or perhaps, we invade theirs.

The main colony in a given area is usually found in an old decaying tree. Once that colony has achieved peak population they will swarm and form new satellite colonies. Often these satellites are inside a structure where there has been water damage. (A window sill, floors under a bathtub etc.)

Carpenter ants are nocturnal feeders. Forgers are often seen during the day in search of food or water for the colony, however most of the ants will be seen in the evening. They feed on dead insects, sugar producing vegetation, or decaying substances. They are frequently seen in kitchen in search of food and water. In dry seasons when water is a problem kitchens and bathrooms are frequented. This does not necessarily indicate that a dwelling is infested they be be foraging from the outside.

Entry into a structure is simple. Any telephone line, cable wire, tree limb touching the house, or minute crack gives them an open door. Once inside the structure, they need merely to follow electrical lines to gain access to anywhere in the structure. Carpenter ant damage can be severe as termites. Once they are detected they should be treated as soon as possible.

Careful inspection of a property is essential for a successful carpenter ant elimination program. If there are no established colonies inside, it is often possible to control them from the outside by treating the trees or other wood they have infested and treating the outside to create a barrier against entry.

In the event it is determined there is one or more satellite colonies inside the house, a complete carpenter ant elimination program may be in order. As stated above, Carpenter ants use electrical wires to travel throughout a structure. Therefore drilling inside walls is not necessary. Removal of switch plates and dusting behind them with an insecticide dust will kill them as they travel. This combined with interior treatments with dusts under baseboards, liquid pesticide treatments in unfinished areas, dusting pipes and access areas, ant baits on the outside of the structure, and using baits for outside colonies will provide excellent control.