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If you know that carpenter ants tunnel through wood and create their nests inside wood, you might think that rotten wood is the reason these ants come into Western Massachusetts yards. But this is actually not the case. Carpenter ants come onto your property for the same reason every other animal comes onto your property; they're drawn to food sources. The more you understand about the foods that attract carpenter ants, the more resistant your home will be to a carpenter ant infestation.

Sugars

Some carpenter ant colonies have a sweet tooth. They're going to be primarily attracted to foods that offer carbohydrates. Natural food sources for these carpenter ants are nectar and honeydew.

  • When you remove flowers and flowering plants, you reduce the amount of nectar carpenter ants can find. We recommend staying on top of weed control in your lawn and landscaping, particularly weeds that have flowers.

  • When you take steps to protect your plants from aphids, scales, whiteflies, and other pests that create honeydew, you will deter carpenter ants. Horticulturists suggest refraining from using too much fertilizer, and routinely checking plants and washing these insects off when you find them.

The foods you eat can also present a food option for carpenter ants. When you dispose of your garbage, it can be targeted by carpenter ants. You can deter carpenter ants by properly managing your trash.

  • Store all garbage in plastic bags. This masks the scent.

  • If you throw away a strong-smelling food item, such as fish, consider putting it in a smaller plastic bag before putting it in the trash.

  • Make sure your exterior trash receptacles have covers.

  • Remove the exterior trash from your property weekly.

  • Deodorize your trash receptacles as needed.

Protein

Some carpenter ant colonies are drawn to sources of meat. In nature, they'll feed on dead wildlife and dead bugs. While it goes without saying that you shouldn't have dead wildlife in your yard, the conditions that offer carpenter ants dead bugs might elude your attention. Yard work and landscape maintenance are key to carpenter ant prevention.

  • Rake leaves up and dispose of them. Blow leaves out from underneath structures, such as the void underneath a deck.

  • Pick up dead branches and store them well away from your exterior.

  • Move woodpiles away from your exterior and consider storing any camp wood, firewood, scrap wood, and other wood sources on a structure that gets the wood off the ground.

  • Remove unnecessary vegetation from your landscaping and keep shrubs, bushes, and ornamental plants trimmed.

You may offer carpenter ants a food source by accident. Your trash is one location to consider, and all the steps given above will apply. But here are a few more options to consider:

  • If you like to grill outside, a dirty grill can be an attractant for carpenter ants. You may have some success deterring ants by washing the wheels or legs of the unit.

  • This removes the pheromone scent ants leaves as they go to and from food sources. A little vinegar and water may work as well.

  • If you put pet food out for pets that are in the yard, or you have livestock, their food can be carpenter ant food. Consider refraining from feeding pets outside. If you do need to feed animals outside, consider putting food out during meals and then bringing the food containers inside.

  • Fruit-producing trees attract carpenter ants. If you routinely pick fruit up from the ground, you can deter carpenter ants. 

Keeping Ants Out

Once you've considered what attracts carpenter ants to your property, it is important to take the next step. Carpenter ants get into Western Massachusetts homes in one of two ways.

  • When carpenter ants target rotting wood and nest inside, they can go from a rotting board into the sound timber of your home. If you have any rotting boards on your deck, or fencing that touches your home, these should be replaced. Also, consider rotting wood skirting and other sources of wood that are on or near your home.

  • When carpenter ants explore the exterior of your home, they can come in through cracks in your foundation, gaps around plumbing, gaps around exterior doors and windows, and other small entry points. Use a caulking gun to seal many of the gaps these ants utilize, and replace protective materials such as weatherstripping, screens, and door sweeps.

Carpenter Ant Treatments

When carpenter ant pressures are high or conducive conditions on your property are difficult to alter, targeted control may be necessary. This is best done by a licensed pest professional. If you apply carpenter ant treatments incorrectly, you could make your problem worse. There is also the possibility that you might think you've corrected the problem while carpenter ants continue to damage your property. Reach out to American Pest Solutions for carpenter ant control in Western Massachusetts. Don't take any chances with these destructive insects.

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