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When ants get into New England homes, they are usually considered nuisance pests. They come in by the hundreds and sometimes even thousands. They climb all over kitchen counters and make superhighways on the floor. They get all over the couch and even on the bed. But their ability to be a nuisance is only the beginning. Ants climb around in trash cans and they climb around on dishes. They can be on a dead rodent in your wall void one minute and climbing into your pantry foods the next. Ant species that do this are considered a health hazard when they infest.The worst ant in New England is the carpenter ant because of its ability to destroy our property.

In summer, ants are busy. Really busy. Busy increasing their populations. Busy searching our outside walls. And busy looking for food inside our homes. But they are not just a summer pest. They can be an issue year-round, especially carpenter ants.

When carpenter ants get into a home, they literally get into a home. They don't just establish nests in wall voids, like other ants, they chew tunnels and galleries in the wood of a home. While this damage will mostly be in areas where wood has been softened by water, they can chew on summerwood. And, if not treated, carpenter ants can damage a home in spring, summer, fall, and winter.

Ant prevention begins with a reduction of attractants. This can be done during the warm months. Here are some ways you can reduce attractants:

  • Keep exterior trash in sealed receptacles. Ants of all species can find a bite to eat in a trash bag.

  • Fix leaky spigots and hoses on the outside of your home.

  • Inspect your gutters and make sure rainwater is being channeled down and away from your foundation walls. If you have an obstruction, clear it. If you keep getting obstructions, consider investing in a gutter guard.

  • Trim foliage and vegetation to allow the sun to dry things up.

  • If you have railroad ties or some other kind of wood used in your landscaping, keep them as dry as possible. These are attractive to carpenter ant. You may also consider replacing wood with stone.

  • Keep leaves raked up. Ants use leaves as harborage.

  • Keep firewood 20 feet from exterior walls and elevated. Wood is attractive to all ants, not just those carpenter ants.

  • Paint or stain untreated fences, decking, and other wooden structures.

  • Many ant species eat the honeydew, aphids, soft scales, mealybugs, and whiteflies on plants. Reduce plants that are near your foundation walls or have these plants treated by a pest management professional as part of your perimeter treatment. You may also try putting a sticky substance at the base of plants to keep ants from climbing up.

  • Put a sticky substance on the base of potted plants that are around your home.

After you have taken measures to reduce ant attractants, it is important to seal your exterior walls. Inspect closely and use a sealant on foundation walls. Look for holes and gaps, especially around windows and door frames. Use a caulking gun to fill in holes and gaps if you don't have the time or money to repair them properly. This is a detailed process, but it is well worth the effort. When you seal entry points, you also keep heat from escaping in the winter months.

Once you've taken the above steps, you may not have any more ant problems. But, carpenter ants can still find a way in. And, if they establish themselves in a location where their frass (sawdust) can be concealed, they can do damage to your home year after year. An inspection by an educated and experienced professional can prevent this.

Every home in New England should have a pest plan. We have a lot of pests that get into our homes. When you invest in a home pest control service, you get protection from all of them, not just carpenter ants. Give us a call today to get started with our industry-leading residential pest control options. We'll help you establish a pest control plan that works to control the pests you're concerned about.

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