- Michael Perrino
How to Kill a Carpenter Ant Colony
Ants can infiltrate your property for a number of different reasons. If the infestation is left unchecked, they can quickly escalate into a serious risk. While some ants are just bothersome, others can be quite destructive. Carpenter ants are a species of ant you don’t want to have around your property.
So how can you eliminate a carpenter ant colony? Finding the carpenter ant nest is essential since eradicating a single moving ant won’t be enough to eradicate the colony. Once you've found the nest, there are a few options for getting rid of these potentially damaging pests. Taking preventative measures and using pest control products can help you eliminate a carpenter ant colony.
Managing Carpenter Ant Infestations
Identifying whether or not you have carpenter ants is vital to solving, preventing, and treating any issues you may have with them in your home. In the case that you suspect your home is infested with carpenter ants, you must act immediately to prevent any further damage. Based on the severity of the infestation, there are several methods for eliminating an ant colony.
1. Find the Carpenter Ant Nests
To eradicate a carpenter ant colony and destroy its nest, you must first determine the location of the structure in which it is established. Begin by looking for small openings and clumps of excrement. Because ants prefer to burrow into damp wood, you can concentrate your search on pieces that have been wet for some time.
Because these ants can nest in walls, hollow doors, beams, and structural wood, you can examine the wood for infestations by tapping it firmly. Ant-infested wood may appear thinner and hollower than healthy wood. Tapping near a nest can disturb ants and cause them to leave their hiding location. As a result, you might come across some worker ants that indicate the presence of a nearby colony.
It's also worth noting that mature nests frequently produce smaller satellite nests that must be found in order to eradicate the ant infestation.
2. Replace Damaged Wooden Structures and Furnitures
Carpenter ants will not target sturdy wood with good structural integrity. Removing and replacing any fragile decaying wood where the ants are burrowing is one way to get rid of them. If the ant colony is in your walls, you'll need to expose the structure and replace the damaged wood with carpentry work. Examine any areas where plumbing pipes run through walls, as accumulated moisture from cold water pipes is a significant contributor of wood damage.
If the damage is substantial, the procedure, which may require a professional contractor, can be a costly operation. It essentially involves removing inner wall surfaces or exterior siding to reveal wood framing, followed by replacing any framing components damaged by moisture or insects with new strong and durable wood.
3. Eliminate Ant Scent Trails
Pheromone trails are used by carpenter ants to locate food and to travel to and from their nesting sites. Destroy their trails around your home by cleaning surfaces where worker ants have traveled. To disrupt these pheromone trails, wipe clean surfaces with essential oils like tea tree, orange, lemon, or cinnamon using a cotton ball. Alternatively, mix one part dish soap with two parts water in a spray bottle. A 50/50 combination of white vinegar and water could also be used.
4. Utilize Pest Management Products
Carpenter ant infestations, whether minor or severe, can be handled by utilizing many of the same measures as other ant species. Ant bait, insecticide dust, and insecticidal spray are the most common ant management techniques.
Household insecticidal sprays can be administered on the foundation, around door and window frames, tree stumps, and the base of tree trunks. It’s also necessary to treat scent trails. Unless administered directly to the nest, sprays rarely wipe out the entire colony.
Ants are easily controlled with professional insecticide treatments including fipronil. Insecticides should not be sprayed inside households since they won’t kill ants unless they’re applied directly to nesting sites within a structure.
Treatment of ant nests in wall voids with insecticide dust is beneficial, but it’s not necessary to treat all wall voids. In most cases, treating the cables and pipes within exposed wall voids will suffice. If only a few ants are seen on occasion and no nest is present, they can be crushed underfoot.
Carpenter ants are highly susceptible to baits containing hydramethylnon, thiamethoxam, fipronil, indoxacarb, abamectin, or boric acid. Worker ants will transport the bait into their nests and expel the contents of its stomach to other ants, leading to the colony's extermination.
To discover which bait the ants prefer, several different kinds of bait, such as liquid and solid bait, should be introduced. Ensure that the ants find the baits by placing them near the ant nest or scent trails. For several days, see how the poisonous baits are tolerated by the ants. Every few days, liquid bait must be replaced.
What to Remember When Using Pest Management Products
Because toxicants must be transmitted to non-foraging worker ants, the larvae, and the queen, it takes several weeks to completely eliminate an ant colony. Ant activity may cease immediately after chemical treatment, then return after a few weeks. To guarantee the adequate management of carpenter ant infestations, follow-up evaluations and chemical and non-chemical treatments are highly recommended.
5. Contact a Pest Control Professional
Carpenter ants are usually treated by a pest control professional. Pest management specialists are trained to check premises, locate nests, use baiting techniques, and proper administration of pesticides. As a result, they will be able to more successfully and efficiently manage the ant infestation.
They also have access to professional equipment and insecticides like chemical pesticide sprays, as well as knowledge of how to properly use them. To help prevent future carpenter ant activity in homes, pest management professionals might offer services including sealing or screening openings and crevices.
Why Are There Carpenter Ants in My Property?
Carpenter ants are attracted to damp and moldy wood. If you have a moisture problem in any area of your home, they'll be drawn there. On the other hand, this species of ants do not always infiltrate your home by munching their way through wood.
They can come into your house through any crack or tiny entry points, even if it's high up. Carpenter ants will easily climb up a tree or pipes and wires to reach their destination. They also prefer to build their nests near water sources indoors, and are highly attracted to the spaces around air conditioners, dishwashers, sinks, and bathtubs.
Signs of a Carpenter Ant Colony Infestation
There are indicators that a colony of carpenter ants may have set up a nest on your property. Watch out for the following:
Visible wood damage
Sawdust, insulation, or wood shavings (frass)
Sounds of crackling inside walls
Remains of dead insects
Identifying Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants get their name from the way they destroy the wooden pieces that make up your house and furnishings. While they don't consume wood like termites do, they chew and excrete it to create paths for themselves and their thousands of colony members. Carpenter ants can be identified by the sight of random mounds of particles that resemble wood shavings around your property.
Carpenter ants come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making it difficult to determine an infestation based just on appearance. Because most carpenter ants in the United States have similar physical qualities, you can start by looking for the following characteristics to differentiate them from other ants:
Body Shape: When determining what your ant intruders are, the most essential feature to examine is their body shape. Look for a single node segmenting the waist and a thorax with an uniformly rounded top surface. A rough upper thorax is found in several ant species.
Size: These pests range in size from 3/8 inch to an inch. However, some species are as little as an ordinary house ant.
Color: They’re usually black, although they can also be red or yellow with black rings, depending on the region.
Carpenter ants are predominantly nocturnal insects, and they frequently establish pheromone trails that link their colonies to food sources. Foraging workers can be discovered looking for food around or within dwellings, becoming nuisance pests. This ant species starts active in the northeast in May and disappears in October. July is the busiest month.
Carpenter ants will create satellite colonies in surrounding trees and structures as their colony grows. As a result, ant infestations are common around structures surrounding large trees. Carpenter ants are capable of traveling over 100 yards in search of food and establishing satellite colonies.
Habitat and Nesting
Carpenter ant nests are categorized into two types: parent nests and satellite nests.Outdoors, parent nests are typically discovered in decaying wood in trees, tree roots, tree stumps, and logs or boards resting on or buried on the ground. Infestation is also possible around windows and where wood pieces make contact with the foundation.
Parent nests located in households can be observed in damp or rotting wood caused by water exposure, excessive moisture, or poor air circulation in households. The following are examples of common nesting sites for carpenter ant colonies:
Hollow spaces including curtain rods, doors, and wall voids
Attic beams, under subfloor insulation, and under the roof
On the backside of bathroom tiles
Surrounding tubs, sinks, showers, and dishwashers
One or more satellite nests are sometimes established by parent carpenter ant colonies in surrounding indoor or outdoor locations. Satellite colony workers typically travel between their nest and the parent colony.
Carpenter ants eat both live and dead insects as a source of protein. Sugars like honeydew, a sweet substance secreted by aphids and scale insects, also attract them. Indoors, carpenter ants consume proteins like meats and pet food. They are drawn to syrup, honey, granulated sugar, jelly, and other sweets when it comes to sugars inside the household. This species of ants, as previously established, do not chew wood. They make nesting galleries and tunnels by removing wood.
Threats Posed by A Carpenter Ant Colony
Carpenter ants cause significant damage on wood by constructing galleries and tunnels for their nest. These areas are clean, free of sawdust or other debris, and have a smooth, sanded appearance. The more time a colony stays in a structure, the more damage it can cause. Damage is usually gradual, taking years to manifest.
Meanwhile, carpenter ants don’t sting people because they lack stingers. When their nests are threatened, they utilize their strong mandibles to protect them. The workers’ powerful jaws may even bite and rip through human skin, spray it with formic acid, and cause a burning sensation.
Carpenter Ants: When Should You Hire A Professional?
If this seems like more work or a nuisance than you're prepared to accomplish, hire someone to assist you manage the carpenter ant infestation. Even if you are successful in removing the ant nest, there could still be more in your home.
Call a pest control professional to make sure the nest is eliminated and to search for other possible nests. If you also haven't been able to locate the nest but are still seeing carpenter ants, you should contact a professional.
Professional Ant Infestation Extermination at Midway Pest Management
Eliminating carpenter ants in particular is a difficult and complicated task, especially since they could reside in wooden structures and furniture around the home. It will be considerably harder to deal with an ant infestation without the assistance of a professional pest control company. Professional pest treatment won’t only solve your problem, but also help you avoid future ant infestations.
Midway Pest Management specializes in pest management solutions for businesses and homes. We have rigorous pest management standards, ensuring that we utilize the proper processes and techniques to deal with your infestation and provide great customer care. Contact us today for a free quote on any type of pest or insect infestation.
Learn More: How to Treat Flying Carpenter Ants Infestation