carpenter ant on wooden floor

It can be difficult to tell if your property has carpenter ants in it. While there are ways to easily detect carpenter ant activity, most Western Massachusetts residents aren't aware of them. This can make carpenter ants seem like a mystery. Today, we're going to crack the mystery and give you some insight into this unique pest problem.

The Problem

Why is it sometimes difficult to detect carpenter ants? Here are a few important reasons to consider.

  • Carpenter ants prefer to come out at night to forage for food, so you're not usually going to see them crawling around outside, like other ants. If you see lots of black ants outside during the day, they're more likely to be another species of ants.

  • Carpenter ants prefer to create nests inside wood. That means you won't see them creating mounds in your yard. If they establish themselves in the ground, the openings to their tunnels will merely be holes in hardened earth.

  • Carpenter ants can live quite well on food found around your home, such as honeydew. This allows them to tunnel into your home and cause damage while never invading your pantry. 

Conducive Conditions

When carpenter ants damage a home, it isn't random. There are conditions that attract them. When a professional inspects a home for carpenter ants, they look for these conducive conditions first because this is where warning signs are most likely to be found.

  • Stumps, logs, dead tree limbs, and trees with heart rot are all places you may find carpenter ants. If these are close to the home, there is more chance of issues.

  • Excessive leaf litter can create a habitat for carpenter ants.

  • An old deck, fence, or some other exterior structure can be targeted by these ants.

  • A damp perimeter can cause door frames to become a target.

  • Gaps in the exterior of your home can allow carpenter ants to gain entry.

  • Search for these conditions and examine these places first. 

Warning Signs Of Carpenter Ant Activity

Now that you know some places to look, let's talk about what you should be looking for and why carpenter ants leave these signs.

Frass. Carpenter ants push shaved wood, feces, and insect parts out of their tunnels. This material is called frass. If these ants are living inside dead wood in your yard or a wooden structure on your property, you should see frass. If they've gotten into a crack of your home, you might see frass pouring out. But frass isn't always visible. It can be deposited in voids, such as the space in your walls or pockets of space inside a stump, log, or tree.

Damage. Carpenter ants can create visible damage. You're most likely to find this damage in damp, dark locations. But keep in mind that carpenter ant damage can look like wood rot. This is why some people ignore a carpenter ant infestation. They think that they just have a wood rot issue that is going to have to be repaired at some point—and not realize that there are carpenter ants doing damage inside the wood where they can't see.

Winged ants. If carpenter ants find a way into your home, you might see them after a few years. Mature nests create winged ants for the purpose of distribution. Unfortunately, some people suck these winged ants up with their vacuums and don't give them another thought. We hope you don't do this. Those winged ants are telling you that your home has been damaged for more than three years, and that one nest is about to become more nests.

Ant sightings. If you wake up early in the morning, or go to bed late at night, you may see carpenter ants. They might be traveling across your floor to a dog or cat dish, or they may be getting into food packages in your pantry or kitchen. This isn't a sign you have to look for. When you see black ants that are between ½ and ⅝ of an inch long crawling around inside your home, it is time to contact a licensed pest management professional.

Ant Control In Western Massachusetts

There are two ways you can deal with carpenter ant problems. You can address a carpenter ant infestation when you detect one, or you can proactively prevent carpenter ant damage by having routine pest control inspections. We can help in both cases. At American Pest Solutions, we provide treatments to eliminate carpenter ant colonies and arrest carpenter ant damage, and we also offer ongoing, residential pest control plans that include routine inspections. We can help you guard your property from damage. Reach out to us anytime. We're here to assist you with all your pest control needs. 

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