April begins carpenter ant season here in Massachusetts. In fact, New England is where ants are the most commonly reported pest. Tens of thousands of homes are affected, causing millions of dollars of damage nationwide. Even seeing just one ant can mean an infestation. Actually, if there’s one there’s probably more. Lots more.
You might see 20 one day, and none the next. But if you’re seeing them around the house, you have a nest in the house.
An exterminator for carpenter ants will find out where the insects are coming from? How much damage have they caused and what’s the best way to get rid of them? The aim is to help homeowners combat pest problems without using harsh chemicals, and also manage the environment responsible for fostering the infestation of carpenter ants.
The goal is to disrupt the carpenter ant community and do it with as few chemicals as is possible. This is done by understanding their habits and life-cycle.
Homes are just satellite nests for carpenter ants. Usually on a property there is a main nest where the queen resides, sending out workers as scouts looking for other sites to provide shelter and to be used as incubators for the larvae that will become workers. You can sometimes see the workers carry the larva from one nest location to another.
Large wooden structures, like houses, garages or barns, are excellent locations for ants to set up shop and often they will create multiple nests within one home. The ants usually source from a homeowner’s property, such as wood piles, or rotting trees. Those elements provide breeding grounds for the ants and serve as a launching point for queens to send workers on scouting missions to expand their colonies.
You want to fully solve the carpenter ants problem rather than just treating it or putting a Band-Aid on. This means understanding the full life-cycle of the pest and using creative and thorough ways to disrupt that cycle.
Unlike termites, who eat wood constantly, carpenter ants are diggers, not eaters. An indication a home has an infestation is sawdust. Sawdust from carpenter ants is seen just a little bit of the time and it can be difficult to find if the sawdust is expelled outside, or falls inside of a wall void. But just because they don’t eat wood in 24-hour cycles like termites, doesn’t mean they’re less harmful. Known by their Latin name, Camponotus pennsylvanicus, the large, all-black ants that are familiar are the most destructive. Because of their body size, these ants burrow larger pathways through wood.
Homeowners need to be proactive when it comes to protecting their home from invasion of carpenter ants. Precautions are easy: cut tree branches away from the roof, never lay mulch directly against the foundation and shovel soil away from wood along the home. Long standing exposure to moisture can cause wood rot, which is an environmental cue for the ants to start a nest site.