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Carpenter Ant Control In Western Massachusetts Made Simple

Many organisms can target the wood of your Western Massachusetts home, but none are quite like the carpenter ant. In some ways, carpenter ants are bold and in your face. They create holes for you to see and dare you to do something about their presence in your home. In other ways, they're incredibly sneaky. Unlike other ants, carpenter ants often feed on outdoor food sources and don't invade kitchens and pantries. If they do dine on indoor food sources, they do so at night because these ants are mostly nocturnal. The worst thing about carpenter ants is they're easy to mistake for many other ant species. There are a surprising number of ants that are entirely black or dark brown and appear black. It is critical to learn how to identify carpenter ants if you want to protect your property from these homewreckers. Today, we hope to arm you with some helpful tips and information to help you get control of carpenter ants. If you'd like professional assistance, give us a call. American Pest Solutions provides effective ant control and general pest control in Western Massachusetts. We can help you arrest infestations and put ongoing protection in place around your home to keep ants and other pests out. With that said, let's break down carpenter ant control in Western Massachusetts so that it is simple and easy to digest. 

Where Do Carpenter Ants Get Their Name?

The black carpenter ant, which is known scientifically as Camponotus pennsylvanicus, got its name in 1773. It is also the first North American ant to receive a name. Why are they called carpenter ants? Do they come into your home and repair your furniture, or put a deck on the back of your home? No. Carpenter ants don't fix anything. But they do something else a carpenter does. They create sawdust. Technically, the material they create is frass, which is a mixture of things. It is wood shavings, insect body parts, and fecal matter. If you see this sawdust-like material in your home, it is a good idea to call a licensed pest management professional to take a look. Carpenter ants produce frass as they tunnel inside the wood of your home. Over time, and when they go untreated, these ants can cause structural damage. Let's quickly look at how this works.  

Why Carpenter Ants Are More Problematic Than Other Ants

Carpenter ants share some common traits with other ants. They forage for food, collect it, and bring it back to their nests. They scale walls and enter homes through tiny entry points, and they invade pantries and kitchens. But, unlike other ants, they carve galleries in wood to establish suitable cavities in which to build nests. The damage caused by carpenter ants increases over time.

  • They'll likely establish their first nest in rotting wood.
  • When the nest matures, it produces winged reproductives.
  • Winged reproductives leave the nest, mate, and establish more nests.
  • Workers from the new nests will carve galleries in wood and can go from rotted timbers to sound, structural timbers in a home.
  • Galleries are excavated, and timbers are weakened, putting stress on the structure of a home as gravity pulls down on load-bearing beams.
  • Floors sink down, walls bulge out, and ceilings start to dip.
  • Doors and windows may become hard to open.

It is not good to have carpenter ants in your home because ants are wired to grow their populations and create new nests. They can't help themselves. Over time, your problem will worsen.  

The worst ants to have are those black carpenter ants we mentioned. They are the most destructive ants in the United States. It is best to have a pest professional track black carpenter ants in your home and apply a multi-pronged strategy to eliminate any colonies. 

Five Carpenter Ant Prevention Tips

Before carpenter ants find their way into your home and you are forced to get big black ant control in Western Massachusetts, you can catch those ants and put barriers in place to stop them. Here is a simple and easy process you can use.

1. Identify Carpenter Ants

You are the watchmen on the wall. If you see these ants and properly identify them, you can take steps to address them early. The trick is knowing how to identify them. Winged carpenter ants are fairly easy to identify because they're enormous. An alate is around an inch long. The workers are a bit harder to identify. Here are some tips to help you with identification.

  • Workers are between ¼ and ½ of an inch in length.
  • There are major and minor workers, so you may notice two sizes if you see more than one ant.
  • Carpenter ants are entirely black or dark red with a mix of dark red and black body parts.
  • If you look between the thorax and abdomen of a carpenter ant with magnification, you may see that it has one node. While other ants can have one node, some do not.

Most of the time, these ants are active at night, but it is possible to see them crawling around during the day, or crawling in your home in the light where you can see them. 

2. Identify Warning Signs

We touched on these already. Carpenter ants create holes that you may see. They also create tiny kickout holes to push frass out. If you see changes to the wood of your home, it is wise to have a professional check the damage and let you know if you have a wood-destroying organism damaging your property.

Carpenter ants produce frass. You may find this material on floors or walls and in cracks. Keep in mind that frass is sometimes pushed out into wall voids and is not visible. They may also push frass outside, and you'll need to grab a flashlight and slide under your deck to detect the material.

You may hear carpenter ants. It isn't common, but when it happens, it is like a rustling noise within the wood. The sound is caused by all the tiny feet of carpenter ant workers clinging to tunnel walls as they move around excitedly in response to an invading enemy.    

3. Address Desirable Food Sources

Carpenter ants don't eat wood. When they encroach upon your home, it will likely have something to do with an exterior food source, like honeydew or nectar. Many carpenter ant species have a sweet tooth. Strong plant health and aphid control will have an impact on carpenter ants. A year-round pest control service plan is a great solution for landscaping insect control.

4. Remove Habitats In Your Yard

Carpenter ants will likely build a nest in a stump, dying tree, log, wood pile, brush pile, or some other source before they invade your home. Removing these potential nesting locations can deter carpenter ants. Also, consider man-made harborage. Rotting boards on a deck or fence can invite carpenter ant problems. Railroad ties used in a flower bed, wooden borders around landscaping, or an old wooden bucket used as a flower pot are all attractive to carpenter ants. Carefully consider where these ants may attempt to build a nest.

5. Block Access 

While carpenter ants can tunnel through wood, they don't typically enter homes this way. They'll slip through a foundation crack, slip past damaged weatherstripping, climb through a gap around a water main, and enter through other common entry points. They'll also use vegetation that touches the wall of a home to get to higher locations more easily.  

It takes a dedicated effort to keep these wood-damaging pests out of your home. These ant prevention tips will make a big impact, but they require work. As you decide whether or not to put in the effort, consider that ant control also helps to keep many other pests from targeting your home. 

How to Get Rid Of Carpenter Ants For Good

If you want carpenter ants out, and you want them out for good, ongoing pest control service is the best way to do it. A pest control service provider will…

  • Reduce insects around your home, which provide a source of protein for carpenter ants or produce honeydew for carpenter ants to eat.
  • Apply exclusions to block carpenter ants from getting into your home.
  • Apply a crack and crevice barrier to your foundation to prevent these ants from finding tiny entry points.
  • Administer bait solutions if carpenter ant activity is detected.

A sustained pest control program provides many benefits. One that is often missed is that life gets busy, and it is easy to put pest control on the back shelf. When you hire a professional, you don't have to think about your pest control. It is done for you—and it is always on the front shelf.

Are you in Western Massachusetts? If so, contact American Pest Solutions. We can help you find an ongoing pest management solution that fits your budget and gets the job done the way you want it done. Reach out to us by phone or drop us a line. We look forward to speaking with you.   

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