How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants: What You Need to Know

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Wondering How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants? Find Out Here

Ants in your home can be a real nuisance. No one wants to see a trail of sugar ants marching across their kitchen counter. If you open a cupboard only to find that a bag of sugar or box of cereal has a trail of ants going to and from it, you’ll want to take immediate action.


But while some ants are just an annoyance, others are downright dangerous. Carpenter ants are one of the most destructive ant species out there, and a carpenter ant infestation in your home can lead to thousands of dollars in structural damage. Much like termites, carpenter ants will nest in the wooden structural elements of your home, including your walls, ceilings, floors, and other areas. Before you’re even aware of their presence, these pests can chew through enough wood to rack up thousands in home repair costs.

Think you might have a carpenter ant problem? If so, you should take immediate steps to get rid of them. But how exactly do you get rid of carpenter ants? Are there certain steps you should take when it comes to ant control? We’ve put together this quick, easy-to-read guide on how to get rid of carpenter ants once and for all. You’ll learn how to identify carpenter ants, what attracts them to your home, why they’re a threat to your home’s structural integrity, and -- most importantly -- how to get rid of them.

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How Do You Identify Carpenter Ants?

Some species of insect are difficult to distinguish from others. Fortunately, this isn’t the case with carpenter ants. Before you take any steps to deal with a carpenter ant problem, you’ll want to confirm that this is in fact the pest you’re dealing with.

To identify carpenter ants, start by assessing their length. Carpenter ants are typically 3.4 mm to 13 mm long, or 1/8" - 1/2". This ant species is usually black in color, but they can sometimes appear reddish, yellowish, or a combination of the three. Carpenter ants have six legs, along with two long antennae and relatively large mandibles.

In addition to their physical appearance, it’s important to consider where you’re encountering ants in your home. Carpenter ants typically build nests in your home’s wooden structure, and they’re particularly attracted to wood which is soft, wet, or decaying -- in other words, wood which is weak and easy to bore into. Homes with moisture problems are particularly susceptible to carpenter ant invasions.

When carpenter ants tunnel their way into the wooden structure of your home, you’ll find both tiny holes as well as a sawdust-like material. This sawdust, or “frass” as it’s called by ant control professionals, can appear in your basement, along baseboards, around floorboards, or near walls. If you encounter both small holes and frass, you’re likely dealing with carpenter ants.



What Attracts Carpenter Ants to Your Home?

As with many other insects, there are two things that will attract carpenter ants to your home: potential food sources and an opportunity to build their nests.

Carpenter ants typically feed on sweets, meats, and small insects. Check your cupboards for potential ant food sources. If you have flour, sugar, cereals, grains, or other foods sitting out or unsealed in your cabinets, these can attract carpenter ants into your home. The same goes for crumbs and various foods left sitting out on your kitchen counters. It’s also important to ensure that you take your trash out regularly, as carpenter ants can be attracted to food left sitting in your kitchen trash can.

Aside from potential food sources in your home, carpenter ants are also looking for a place to build their nests. As mentioned above, carpenter ants are drawn to moist, soft, rotting wood. If your home has a moisture problem (such as excess humidity in your basement) and/or decaying wood, this is prime real estate for carpenter ants. Tree stumps, firewood, and brush piled up near your home can also attract them.


Can Carpenter Ants Cause Damage to Your Home?

When it comes to insects causing structural damage to a home, we typically think of termites. These insects actually consume the wooden structure of your home as food.

Carpenter ants don’t technically “eat” your home. Rather, their preferred food sources include sweet foods, meats, and other insects. In spite of this, though, carpenter ants build their nests in wood -- and the nest building process includes a lot of chewing. Carpenter ants actually cut what are called “galleries” into the grain of wood, and they use these passageways to move from one area of their nest to another. This activity is what results in the sawdust-like wood shavings that are typically associated with carpenter ants.

A single carpenter ant colony can include more than 50,000 individual ants. Of these, 10,000 - 20,000 may be worker ants. Considering the large number of worker ants in a single colony, just one carpenter ant nest in your home can result in a massive amount of structural damage. If you don’t take action to get rid of carpenter ants, you may end up with thousands of dollars in home repair bills.


How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Some insects are more serious than others. A sugar ant infestation may be a nuisance, but it’s unlikely to cause damage to your home. When it comes to carpenter ants, though, it’s important to understand just how dangerous they can be for your home’s structure. If you have carpenter ants in your home, you want to take the necessary steps to get rid of them as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, trying to get rid of carpenter ants on your own is difficult. First, you’ll have to identify the location of their nest. This can be challenging, as their nests are often built in areas that are difficult to access. Additionally, the presence of frass in one area doesn’t necessarily indicate that their nest is in the same spot: large nests can cover a large area.

Next, the nest will have to either be physically removed or treated with chemicals. Ant control products available for purchase by homeowners are often inadequate and can be dangerous if misapplied. And, of course, attempting to physically remove a carpenter ant nest is something that should be left up to a professional.

Finally, it’s important to address the underlying moisture problems which are often associated with carpenter ant infestations. This is something that’s challenging to do on your own.


Professional Ant Control

Don’t try to get rid of carpenter ants on your own: contact an ant control professional like Home Pest Control. Our expert technicians have the knowledge and experience necessary to eliminate carpenter ants in your home safely and effectively. We offer affordable pest control options that can save you thousands of dollars in potential damage to your home.

Want to learn more about how to prevent pests all year long? Download our free pest control calendar for homeowners!

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July 24, 2018

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