Carpenter ants

Ants are the number one nuisance pest in the United States. There are many types of ants that can become a nuisance in and around your home or business. A pest professional can help you to identify the type of ant you are dealing with. Carpenter ants go beyond being a nuisance, they pose a threat to your property and need to be addressed immediately.

Carpenter ants are a common invader in Northern New Jersey. The picture above will help you to identify the most common type of carpenter ant, the Black Carpenter Ant, although you may also find some with a red coloration. Carpenter ants are wood destroyers and, if found on your property, should not be ignored. They work silently damaging the wood in and around your home which can quickly add up in costly repairs.

To the average homeowner, the winged reproductive carpenter ant looks a lot like a termite. We routinely get calls from homeowners confusing the two. Treatment protocols are very different for the termite versus the carpenter ant and we would never recommend a do-it-yourself approach to either pest. Both are wood destroyers and damage from both the termite and the carpenter ant can result in very costly repairs to a home.

What to Look for?

Property owners typically discover carpenter ants when they see a half dozen or so very large ants on their kitchen countertop, in the dishwasher, the bathroom or really any place in and around a home where moisture is present. These are typically foraging worker carpenter ants in search of a food and moisture source.

Discovering moist, rotted wood that has small piles of wood shavings under it. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat the wood they excavate it in order to build a nest within the wood.

How to Prevent Future Carpenter Ant Infestations?

There are three things that carpenter ants and most pests need to survive:

The most common attractant of carpenter ants to a home is moisture. As a preventative, the most effective things you can do are:

  1. Keep the gutters and downspouts around your home free from debris. Ensure that downspouts flow freely and drain properly away from your home, not near the home’s foundation. When water backs up in the gutters it attracts many pests including carpenter ants and can even result in a leak into your home. Wet wood and moisture in your home attracts carpenter ants and increases your chance of an infestation.
  2. Keep the perimeter of your home free from debris. Make spring and fall clean-up a priority. Piles of leaves, branches and other debris that are allowed to sit up against or near a home provide perfect shelter for pests and create a source of moisture. Never store firewood up against the home.
  3. Consider how the landscaping around the perimeter of the home can be attracting pests. Strive for small, manageable plantings around a home’s exterior, think neat and tidy not overgrown and touching the home.
  4. Fix your dripping faucets. Leaks both inside and outside of the home will attract pests including carpenter ants. Check your pipes including the hose and promptly fix any leaks.
  5. Promptly repair leaks around the home. The hidden sources of moisture that carpenter ants find attractive are small consistent leaks of the roof, chimney, showers and dishwashers.

Controlling Carpenter Ants in New Jersey

Carpenter ants are not a do-it-yourself pest. In order to control an infestation you must understand the biology of carpenter ants and, most importantly, ensure that you uncover and destroy the nest. The nest may be inside or may be outside of the structure. It is very common that the source of the carpenter ant activity inside of a home is actually a nest in the ground or in a tree outside of the structure.

Carpenter ants have a unique sense of survival. They protect their parent colony by constructing secondary colonies, and in many cases several of these secondary colonies. Chances are that the colony present inside of your structure is a secondary colony and the parent colony is located outdoors. Or perhaps you don’t have a colony living indoors at all and you are simply noticing the the foraging worker ants who are known to travel quite far in search of a food source. For long term control, you must find and destroy the parent colony or you will experience a re-infestation. A pest professional is qualified to uncover the carpenter ants nest and is really your best bet for long-term control.

We speak to many clients who are calling us for a second opinion after another pest firm advised them that drilling and spraying the interior baseboards was necessary for control. We have a very effective carpenter ant protocol that eliminates the need for this drilling and indoor spraying of the baseboards. Our thirty years of experience have taught us that understanding the habits of carpenter ants and uncovering their nests is more effective than drilling and spraying.

Contact us to learn more, we offer a free evaluation AND we are so confident that our treatment protocol is effective that we include carpenter ants under our Home Protection Plan!

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