It’s bad enough if you have a carpenter ant infestation; it’s even worse when the ants grow wings and start flying around your house. Flying ants seem to emerge out of nowhere, and you’ll usually find more than one of them. These winged ants appear in swarms, which can be frightening, especially if they invade your home.
So what’s the best way to treat a flying carpenter ant infestation? Examine your property for potential nesting sites by observing ant activity and following trails before attempting to treat an infestation with chemicals. Once you’ve found the carpenter ant colony, administer pest control treatment into the nest. To effectively eliminate these pests, you can use a combination of pest management solutions such as ant baits, insecticides, natural remedies, and desiccants.
Winged Carpenter Ants: How to Eliminate Infestation
Whether they are inside or outside your home, getting rid of flying carpenter ants will be a 2-step procedure. This is rooted in the fact that the flying ants are merely a sign of a larger issue, which may be a nest near your property.
Because carpenter ants reside in concealed nests, it’s crucial not to kill the first carpenter ants you spot inside your home. The first step will be to verify and locate which species of ants are present in your home. Exterminating their entire colony with the right pest control treatments would then be the next step.
1. Finding the Carpenter Ant Nest
Follow carpenter ants as soon as you notice them on your property. Carpenter ants leave scent trails that other worker ants can follow to and from food sources as they navigate through your home. You might have to be patient and track them back to baseboards, cabinets, doors, or other wooden structures. If they’ve nested in dead trees or tree stumps, you may need to locate them outside.
Even if you have an ant infestation, you may not always encounter wandering ants. If this is the case, sweet bait, such as diluted honey or sugar milk, may be necessary to draw them out.
2. Eliminating the Ants
To effectively treat carpenter ant infestations, you must reach both visible and undetectable ants. Carpenter ants frequently build satellite nests; when one is discovered, others may be nearby. Once you’ve found the carpenter ant nest, there are a few pest control strategies to get rid of it.
However, if you have a severe infestation and suspect carpenter ant damage, contact a certified pest professional for a structural examination and treatment.
The most popular solution is to utilize pyrethroid-containing insecticides. Getting insecticidal spray or dust into the nest is the trick. Although liquids should never be sprayed near electrical outlets or junction boxes, insecticidal dust can be applied in these spaces.
You can spray into any existing gaps, but accessing the colony would almost certainly require drilling more openings into wall voids or hollow doors. Always follow the steps written on the pesticide label directions when using it. Only use it on nests; killing individual worker ants won’t solve the problem.
Another option is ant baiting, which takes a little longer to work. Simply place the poisonous bait along the ant trails for them to pick up and return to the nest. Carpenter ants require specialized baits, as generic ant baits may not be as effective. However, ants can be choosy, so if a variety of bait doesn’t work, try a different one.
Non-pesticidal ant killer techniques usually involve diatomaceous earth and boric acid. You can find results on the internet stating that certain essential oils or household items repel carpenter ants. If you have an infestation, you shouldn’t use a repellent because the ants will most likely relocate within your home or property, possibly to a spot that is much more difficult to treat. Before you worry about ant repellent, you must first eliminate the entire colony in your home.
Desiccants are insecticides that kill insects by dehydrating them and damaging their outer protective layer. Silica gel can only be used by licensed exterminators, although diatomaceous earth is a common desiccant that anybody may readily acquire. It’s non-toxic to humans and animals, but avoid inhaling any fine dust as it can cause lung damage. Desiccants work in the same way as insecticidal dust does when applied to ant nests.
Identifying Winged Carpenter Ants
It can be unnerving to see enormous, dark ants inside your home, especially if they have wings. Many homeowners are relieved to learn that these pests are unlikely to be termites, who rarely wander out into the open. Carpenter ants, the most likely perpetrators, can still cause havoc if left untreated.
Carpenter ants, like carpenter bees and termites, are one of the most common wood-damaging insect pests in the United States. They can cause considerable structural damage to your property. In order to identify the pest control solution that’s right for your home, you need to identify what species of ants are invading it.
Carpenter ants are among the largest ant species in the United States, but just because you see a big ant doesn’t imply you have carpenter ants. But only seeing smaller ones doesn’t mean you don’t. There can be significant differences in size between the different “castes” and sexes of carpenter ants.
- Carpenter ant workers are the most abundant and range between 1/4 to 5/8 inch in length.
- Carpenter ants’ males are nearly the same size as the workers, but they’re only visible when they fly from the nest to mate with the queen. Mating is their main purpose for existence.
- The carpenter ant queen is the largest member of the species, at two to three times the size of the workers.
When you discover a carpenter ant or a termite with wings, the insect is most likely a reproductive male or queen. They’re the only members of an ant colony who can breed. A flying carpenter ant swarms to mate. After the males have completed their task, the queens drop their wings to choose a nesting place.
As a result, a winged ant found indoors during the summer may have just wandered in from the outdoors. It will most likely die before it can find a suitable nesting place, therefore no pest control is required. However, because ants aren’t active outside during the winter, a flying ant seen indoors during this season indicates that the ants may be nesting inside your home.
Habitat and Nesting
Carpenter ants prefer to build their nests outside, in places like hollow and rotting trees, old stumps, or even firewood. While they typically make nests in homes and structures, especially in enclosed spaces with damp, wet, or decayed wood, the carpenter ant colony can expand into sound wood and foam insulation if infestations persist. Meanwhile, they normally have two nesting sites: a parent colony and a satellite colony.
In contrast to termites who do eat wood, carpenter ants don’t consume the wood in which they establish their nests. Instead, they chew it using their large mandibles to create galleries and connecting tunnels. The ants cause damage to structures by excavating large galleries and tunnels.
Carpenter ants consume protein and sugar sources. They feed on live and dead insects, as well as honeydew when they’re outdoors. Carpenter ants will ingest meat, pet food, and sweet foods such as syrup, honey, sugar, and jelly when they’re indoors.
During the spring and summer, carpenter ants are most likely to be seen scavenging for food at night, between sunset and midnight. You might be inclined to think you only have a few carpenter ants if you encounter one searching for food in your home. However, you’d be mistaken because most carpenter ants stay in their tunnels and galleries, sending out only a few scouts in search of food.
Threats Posed by Carpenter Ants
It matters where you live — for example, northern black carpenter ants are more likely to reside indoors than southern species. Carpenter ants don’t spread diseases, so they don’t pose a substantial threat to your health. Despite their lack of stingers, carpenter ants can inflict painful bites and spray formic acid into wounds, causing a burning sensation.
Note that the danger they cause to your home’s structure can be substantial. Carpenter ants hollow out wood to make their nests, so if they sneak into the voids in your walls and dwell inside undetected, they can do a great deal of damage.
The good thing is that carpenter ants cause less damage and operate slower than termites. They’re also easier to notice because they have to leave their nest to locate food. But if you notice evidence of a carpenter ant infestation, you must act quickly.
Signs of Carpenter Ant Infestation
Before you locate the carpenter ant nest, you’ll surely see the worker ants wandering around your home. The presence of a few carpenter ants inside your home does not necessarily indicate the presence of a large colony. However, it’s possible that a few ants have wandered in from an outdoor colony. A springtime swarm of winged carpenter ants, on the other hand, suggests the presence of an established parent colony nearby.
Small holes on wood surfaces where the ants have burrowed are another indicator you can encounter. If the holes were produced by carpenter ants, little mounds of coarse sawdust or frass will almost likely be found beneath the holes.
Midway Pest Management: The Best Pest Control Professionals in Kansas City
You’re one step closer to solving your ant problem if you know how to identify carpenter ants. Pests, particularly ants, can be difficult to manage since they necessitate a proactive strategy and a variety of pest control solutions. If you want better outcomes when it comes to pest control, you should hire professionals.
Midway Pest Management provides high-quality pest control services by customizing pest management programs for your home or business and offering exceptional customer service. With our fumigation, nest and colony removal, and other guaranteed effective pest control techniques, you can finally say goodbye to pests in your home and office. Contact us today.
Learn More: How to Kill a Carpenter Ant Colony