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Homeowners Guide To Carpenter Ant Prevention

If you saw a multitude of giant black ants crawling around on your kitchen floor, you would be alarmed. But, don't worry, this isn't going to happen. Large black ants in your home are likely to be carpenter ants, and they only venture out one, or perhaps two or three, at a time. But even one carpenter ant can be cause for alarm. If you are seeing a few, there could be hundreds, or thousands, lurking within your walls. What they are doing is similar to what termites do. In fact, carpenter ants are the second most costly wood-destroying pest in the United States, with termites coming in first.

How To Tell If You Have Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are the largest type of ant you may see inside your home. They are usually black but sometimes have a dark red coloring. Measuring from 7-12 mm in length, they have a single node between the thorax and the abdomen and are typically shiny in nature. You might see these ants, but you may also only see the signs they leave behind.

  • If you see piles of wood shavings (or "frass") underneath wooden objects, chances are, you have carpenter ants. These ants do not eat wood the way termites do; they simply chew it and then push it out through what is called "kickout holes." Often, these kickout holes and the piles of wood shavings are in hidden places inside walls, in crawl spaces, or in other hidden areas. Sometimes these piles of frass are mistaken for dirt, dust, or sawdust.
  • If you suspect carpenter ants, you may be able to hear them at work if you press your ear against where they are working. You may hear a faint rustling inside woodwork or walls.
  • Large flying ants emerging from ceilings, walls, or other places is a sure sign you have an infestation. But seeing these flying ants outside may be an indication as well.

Carpenter Ant Damages

  • While not eating wood, these ants do create significant tunnels inside wood, as well as galleries, which are pockets of space where nests are created. And, if they are left alone to do their business, they will, in time, dig tunnel upon tunnel upon tunnel, multiplying their numbers all the while.
  • If wood is wet or rotting, even more damage can be accomplished. Carpenter ants, like several other moisture-loving pests, are drawn to moisture. If you have water damage in your home, then you are at risk for drawing in damaging insects and rodents.
  • Sometimes, these ants will get all of their food sources outside your home, so you may not see them in living spaces. But they can continue to come and go from outside to inside your walls. And since they are sneaky and can go under the radar for long periods, they can do significant damage. If they are allowed to chew away at your wood, they can weaken the entire structure of your home.
  • Over time, with structural damage, windows and doors may begin to stick, and walls, floors, and ceilings may develop a bulge or slope.

Is There A Way To Prevent Carpenter Ants From Invading?

  • If you have any water damaged areas on the outside of your home, be sure to repair them as soon as possible. As mentioned, carpenter ants are drawn to moisture and moisture-damaged wood.
  • Fix leaky spigots, hoses, or other sources of water leaks, and dry up any areas of standing water outside your home. This attracts ants and other moisture pests.
  • Rake up areas of leaves or other debris that can trap moisture underneath.
  • Trim bushes and other vegetation back away from the outside of your home so that the sun and air can get in and dry things out.
  • Make sure your gutters are not clogged or broken.
  • Explore the outside of your foundation and outer walls and seal up any gaps, cracks, or holes you find. Pay attention to areas where items pass through the walls, such as wires or pipes. Make sure to check around windows and doors for gaps.
  • Make sure all of your window screens and door sweeps are present and in good working order.
  • Thoroughly clean your home of any food particles, and keep all trash (inside and outside) in tightly sealed containers.
  • Fix leaky pipes or fixtures such as sinks, tubs, and toilets that might provide ants and other pests with a water source.

If you are seeing these large black ants inside your home, even if it is only a few every now and then, reach out to American Pest Solutions. We will help you eradicate those wood-destroying insects, and a whole host of other damaging and nuisance pests, so you can rest easy. Call today for prompt assistance.

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