Why DIYs don’t work for carpenter ants
Carpenter ants are hard to manage. And they’re more than a nuisance. They can cause serious damage to your home. They can also travel up to 100 yards. Therefore, even outdoor nests can mean indoor damage as ants come into your home looking for food.
Ants like to live in softwood near a source of moisture. As a result, they could live in anything like a rotting tree stump, or a fish house stored in your yard. They are most often found nesting in large, mature trees like oaks, maples, and ashes. Once ants enter a house, they may build satellite nests in walls, decks or porches—anywhere they can find soft, water-damaged wood. As the infestation goes on, the damage gets more severe, and can even weaken structural wood.
An expert can help you determine the extent of the infestation, eliminate current carpenter ants and their nests, and help you prevent future problems.
How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants
- First of all, nests must be dealt with.
- Over the counter products don’t work because they only target the visible ants or their satellite colonies.
- The main colony will continue to breed new ants, and the infestation will go on.
- The main colony may be difficult to find since it may not even be on your property.
- Expert products are designed so the ants bring the product back to the nest with them, regardless of how far away it is.
- Inspect the entire yard to locate nests and eliminate conditions that attract ants.
- Ants can travel the distance of a football field, so simply getting rid of them in the house will not be enough to keep them from coming back later.
- Hire a pest expert—this is one time the DIY approach can’t do enough.
- Carpenter ants reproduce quickly, and they can only be eliminated with products that last long enough to slowly control them.
- There are no slow acting, non-repellant products available over the counter.
- Professionals can find nests, which can speed up the process and produce better results.
- Professionals also use products ants carry back to nests that may be outside of your property.
- Remove and replace water-damaged wood.
How Do Carpenter Ants Get Into Houses?
- They usually enter houses along the foundation, or by following a tree branch that touches the house. They can also be carried in on firewood.
- The main nests are usually outdoors, often in big mature trees, rotten tree stumps, logs, or old lumber.
- Satellite nests are often found in decks, porches, or house walls. Ants are also attracted to damp areas of the home. Think bathrooms, under tubs or sinks, under roof beams, around windows, or where there is wood near the home’s foundation.
Five Facts About Carpenter Ants
- They do NOT actually eat wood. They cause damage when they carve out tunnels and “galleries” to use for nests. Soft, water damaged wood is especially good for this.
- They do eat many other things found in houses, like sweets such as honey, sugar or syrup, meat, pet food, and other insects.
- Carpenter ants are active at night, especially between sunset and midnight. You may be able to hear a rustling sound near a nest, even through a wall.
- It’s common to find them in the spring.
- They can be tough to identify. Even members of the same species can look very different because they are highly specialized according to their job in the colony.
How Do I Prevent Future Carpenter Ant Problems?
The same tips offered in our article about Spring Moisture Pests apply to avoiding carpenter ants. Most noteworthy, keep trees and shrubs properly pruned to avoid contact with the home. Never store wood material near the house, and eliminate moisture in the home.
For Further Information:
- “Carpenter Ants” from University of Minnesota Extension
- “This Summer Prevent Pests by Reducing Moisture Outside of Your Home” from the US EPA Blog