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Signs of Carpenter Ants

Summary: The signs of carpenter ants include damaged wood, noises coming from inside your walls and finding foraging ants in your kitchen at night.

Have carpenter ants infested your home and you are wondering if they can cause any damage to it? The answer is yes, they can cause extensive damage. Carpenter ants love wood, but they especially love damp wood. So, if you have recently had any leaks or water damage in your house, check for signs of the ants in the damaged areas. It may not be instantly obvious to you if carpenter ants have invaded your home because they could be deep in the wood.

Mating season for carpenter ants is in early spring. They will be most prevalent in and around your home during this time. They are most active at night, so what for them in kitchens and bathrooms where water is readily available. Look for them in walls and wooden doors that have small holes or gaps. One trick to find out if there are carpenter ants in any hollow wood in your home is to tap the handle of a screwdriver against the surface. If there are carpenter ants behind the wood, they will make a sound that can be heard by the human ear. Be aware that the ants may be searching for food inside your home, but may live in wooden areas outside your home.

If you think you have carpenter ants taking a vacation in your home, observe them closely. They often are present when termites are most active, as well. Look for some distinguishing characteristics. For example, carpenter ants have pinched waists while termites have straight waists. Carpenter ants have elbowed antennae that termites lack. Carpenter ants are quite large compared to other types of ants, measuring up to ½ of an inch in length, with the queen carpenter ant growing even longer. Also, the wood on the carpenter ants' nests tends to be smooth, whereas termites' nests consist of rough wood.

Contrary to popular belief, carpenter ants do not eat wood. They only nest in it. So, even though they don't eat wood like termites, it is a bad idea to ignore a carpenter ant infestation. If you do not take action, carpenter ants will begin reproducing at a very rapid rate. A carpenter ant colony can consist of a few thousand carpenter ants. Having an entire colony of carpenter ants can decrease the value of your home.

Carpenter ants like to eat syrup, jelly, honeydew, and other insects. They even eat termites! However, I do not recommend planting termites in your home as prey for carpenter ants!

Tips to Avoid Carpenter Ant Infestation:

  • Never put firewood against the siding of your house. It is an invitation for carpenter ants and other pests to find a way in! Keep firewood as far from your house as possible. Also, elevate it off the ground for extra precaution on a well made firewood rack.
  • Cut down any branches or tree limbs that are touching your home.
  • Seal any holes or crevices in the foundation or doors of your home.

Once you identify where the carpenter ants' nests are, drill small holes into the wood. Take boric acid and dispense it into the wood. This will spread throughout the hollow area where the ants are nesting and kill them. If the ants are living behind a wall, apply the boric acid at least three feet on either side of the suspected nest area. If there are wires or electrical cords, be sure not to use a metal tipped duster or you may get a 110 volt message.

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