Carpenter ants are problematic pests that will leave a path of destruction behind as they nest in wood. If overlooked and left untreated, you'll find that carpenter ant infestations can spread quickly and become severe. In some situations, you may find that a carpenter ant infestation will lead to the growth of multiple nests throughout the house. Here's a look at the most common areas to find them and what you should do about an infestation if you find one.
Common Carpenter Ant Nesting Areas
Carpenter ants will typically look for wood that is damp, soft and decaying. It's rare to find a carpenter ant infestation in dry wood. If you have an indoor infestation of carpenter ants, you'll typically be able to find an opening in the attic vents, your foundation, or gaps around the electrical wires where they come in. You may even find them nesting in hollow doors, foam cores and structural lumber.
Typical Signs of Carpenter Ant Infestation
The most obvious indication of an infestation of carpenter ants is the presence of worker ants inside the house. Look around the ceiling and the wall seams for any signs of carpenter ants. You'll often see them emerging from these cracks and crevices, particularly if you have wood molding or trim.
When you see them inside the house, it's time to start looking for wood shavings and other debris around the spaces where the ants are nesting. Check under the cabinets and in corners around wooden items and along walls. You may even be able to hear some faint rustling and scuttling behind the walls if the infestation has grown significant.
Common Tips for Keeping Carpenter Ants Away
The best way to deal with carpenter ants is to keep them out entirely. This requires a proactive approach, but with a few tips you can keep them from making your home their own.
Block Cracks and Holes
Fill cracks and holes with caulk to prevent carpenter ants from getting into the house. Look around the outer perimeter of the house for these cracks as well. Check around your electrical lines, cable wires and water lines and caulk around the wires as needed to keep them from getting in.
Clear Out Shelter Areas
Carpenter ants will use trees, landscaping and firewood as a source of shelter to get into your house. Trim any trees that are near your home so that the branches aren't touching the house. This keeps them from using the branches as a bridge to your home.
Add gravel or stone to the outer perimeter of your home instead of bushes with mulch. This removes another habitat where they could start nesting, which may lead to the ants spreading into your home as the nest grows.
Store your firewood in an elevated space away from your home. Check the wood carefully for any signs of carpenter ants before you bring it inside. Holes in the wood may indicate that there are ants inside.
Eliminate Food Sources
Clean out your gutters to protect the wood along the gutter edge. As wood is damaged by moisture, it becomes an ideal habitat and food source for the ants. Make sure that your kitchen is cleaned thoroughly, and store all of your food in containers so that they are sealed tightly. This eliminates food temptations as well.
Dealing with an Existing Infestation
If you do find a carpenter ant infestation in your house, you should deal with it right away. The sooner you address it, the less chance you'll have of it spreading any further. The first step is to locate the next. You'll need to watch the ant activity to do this. Look for signs of sawdust around areas where the tunnels are being dug to the nest.
Sometimes, the nest is easily accessible. If it is, you can remove it by cutting the wood out of that section, disposing of the ants and damaged wood in a thick black yard-waste bag. Tie it securely and dispose of it with yard waste. If you can't get to the nest itself, consider using an industrial vacuum cleaner to draw all of the ants out of the next. Once you have vacuumed up all the ants, tie the vacuum bag into a thick yard-waste bag to dispose of them.
With these tips, you can protect your home against carpenter ant infestations as well as spotting a problem if it occurs. The treatment tips will help you to get rid of a nest, but you may also want to have your home treated by a pest control specialist to make sure that they don't return. Continue to read more.