Carpenter ants can be one of the most destructive pests for your home. They hollow out wood for their nests, but unlike termites carpenter ants do not eat wood. Carpenter ant galleries are smooth and free of frass, like the wood has been sandpapered, hence their name Carpenter Ants. If their nest is located in a structural beam, then they can cause serious and costly damage to your home.
Carpenter ant control should only be attempted by trained pest management professionals. Ineffective control attempts can cause the ants to relocate their nests within the structure and make finding and treating their nests even more difficult.
Carpenter ants have been in a dormant state over the winter, but don’t worry; they have not been causing damage during that time! Now that the weather has warmed up, the ants will become active again. In many cases your first indication that you have carpenter ants will be now, in the spring, as they start walking around your kitchen or bathroom. After their dormancy, the ants are looking for some water or a quick meal. Typically they appear in the kitchen; unfortunately this does not mean that their nest is close by. Carpenter ants are often described as large black ants. They are the largest ants we have in BC. Workers will range from1/4 -1/2 an inch in length, male reproductives are skinny with wings and the female reproductives are larger, and more robust with wings. In the early spring it is common to see the workers and the male reproductives.
Other indicators of carpenter ants include piles of sawdust or frass. Frass means wood particles mixed with ant parts and other insect body parts. Carpenter ants keep their nests free of debris so they expel the wood particles (also commonly Styrofoam) and remains of their food. You may also hear a rustling or crackling sound; this noise is not from ants chewing the wood but by their hard exoskeleton as they run around in their nest.
The more information about what you have seen at this time and in past years, particularly their outdoor sightings, will be very helpful to the pest management professional in determining where their nests are. The best control technique is to locate and directly treat all carpenter ant nesting sites. Carpenter ants can be one of the most challenging pests to control and homeowners should not attempt a DIY solution. Keep in mind that the structural repairs could cost many times what a professional pest management professional will charge to exterminate the ants.
If you suspect that you have carpenter ants, don’t delay, call a professional like Care! We offer a free carpenter ant appraisal and will provide you with a free quote and a renewable seasonal carpenter ant warranty good until March 31 of the following year. Renewing your warranty means one less thing for you to worry about!