Carpenter Ant Tunnels and Ways to Search/ Control Them

By Horizon Pest Control

Protecting your property from Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are one of the most common indoor pests that are found in the United States. When these ants invade homes, they construct their nests in moist wood and destroy the wood. Unlike termites, these ants do not eat wood, but they create great damage to the wood as they excavate their nest to make room for their growing colony. Although they play a big role in our ecosystem mostly by helping in the decomposition of decaying trees, but when they infiltrate homes and other buildings, these ants become a nuisance.

Facts about Carpenter Ants

  1. Carpenter ants create tunnels through wood that has a high moisture content and spit out the wood that they shaved as waste. You may easily see these wood shavings since they look like sawdust.
  2. There are about 12 species of carpenter ants.
  3. Carpenter ants devour insects and gather carbohydrate secretions or honeydew made by aphids feeding on outside vegetation.

Identifying Carpenter Ant Tunnels

Carpenter ants excavate via the wood parallel to the grain. Their galleries are free of debris and have “sandpaper-like” walls. The unfinished shreds of wood, which are called frass, are removed out from the small openings in the wood, which looks like sawdust-like piles. At times, bits and pieces of dead carpenter ants are mixed with the debris. If the galleries that they created are already close to the surface of the wood, and the colony is already large, you may hear mandibles scraping along inside the wood . And, if the nest is disturbed, most of the workers may bang their head and gaster against the sides of the galleries creating a weak vibrating sound.

These ants forage mostly at night, but they can also forage during the day during the early spring and summer. During the start of the colony, most of the workers are minor workers. But, when the colony becomes bigger, both major workers and minor workers will be out foraging.

Search for the Nest

  • Search the perimeter of the house along the foundation to look for ants.
  • Search for moist wood that are under dishwashers, along gutters, under ledges of windows, under wood decks, along leaky chimney flashing, under bathtubs.
  • Search nearby trees and other vegetation for ants that are going back to their nest. Often, these returning ants take a more direct route than those that are still searching for food and water. These returning ants have expanded abdomen because of the honeydew.
  • Listen for chewing sounds. Since these ants excavate, you may hear a scrapping noise as they excavate wood to create their galleries.
  • Look for wood debris or sawdust and any parts of dead carpenter ants that are ejected from their nest.

Carpenter Ant Control

Remove and discard. Remove the damaged wood, which includes the ant colony and replace them with pressure treated wood. Then, discard the infested wood far away from your home. Fixing the source of the problem will prevent re-infestation from happening again. However, carpenter ants can easily relocate their colony once they are disturbed or when the moisture changed greatly.

Search for an effective bait control. Baits are mostly effective when they are fresh and properly located where ants commonly passed. Look for baits that contain toxicants that are slow acting and will allow time for the bait to be spread throughout the colony.

Correct the structure. A permanent solution to carpenter ant problem is to correct structural problems that will let moisture to dampen wood. Get rid of moisture and carpenter ants will not be attracted to your home.

Finding a Pest Control Service

If infestation is severe and it has already destroyed a great portion of the structure, getting the help of a pest control service may be practical. To get the right services better:

  • Get two or more estimates for control. The pest control service should be able to locate the nest or probable nest site before treatment, and see if both of them have the same location.
  • They should give you a fact sheet about carpenter ants.
  • They should also provide you with a material safety data sheet that shows hazards.
  • Ask for a guarantee that the nest will be eliminated.

Horizon Pest Control will help you defend your home and your loved ones from ants. You don’t have to worry about protecting your home from ants and the danger that they bring. For more information about our services, go to Residential Pest Control.

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