A large black carpenter ant went crawling up the side of my house yesterday as my son and I played in the backyard. How, I wonder, did this ant survive the pest control treatments I performed around my home earlier in the month? As I started to look around more closely, I noticed there were others close behind. I work for a pest control company and yet, I might have a carpenter ant infestation in house.
I have seen enough carpenter ant damage to know that it should not be taken lightly. Almost without exception, people who have had major carpenter ant damage had been seeing the ants occasionally, but thought nothing of it. Typically a few ants would show up here or there, but nothing that signified a huge infestation, but that is the problem. Carpenter ants are good at going unnoticed, so you have to pay attention. Here are some signs that your home might be in trouble:
#1- Ants are never alone
If you see one ant crawling around, there are plenty more where that came from. Ants are social insects and live in large colonies. If you want to get an idea of where the nest might be, follow the ant. If it slips underneath your siding or goes into your eaves, this could signify a problem. Carpenter ants are often found in the roof sheathing or in wall voids where you cannot see them. They will do their destructive work (chewing through wood to create galleries for eggs) without you ever even knowing about it.
#2- Ants inside of the home
There is really no reason why a carpenter ant would come into your home. They eat other bugs and parts of plants, so they really have no reason for being inside unless they are just lost. If you do see them inside, it is likely that they have a nest inside your home somewhere.
#3- Big ants or ants with wings
As the carpenter ant colony develops, each generation has some subtle changes. An established nest starts pumping out larger ants and then, after a few years, ants with wings. If you see either a large ant or one with wings, you can know that you have an established, very developed nest close by.
What you can do about it
Unless you get lucky, you are probably not going to know exactly where the carpenter ant nest is located in your home. The good news is that we don’t have to know exactly where it is to kill the colony. The products that we use are strong enough to allow ants to track the product back to the nest for us and do the job. Store bought products may not have the strength to do this, but they would be at least worth a try. The important thing to do when you think you might have a nest in your home is to act quickly. Carpenter ants can do significant damage once the nest is fully developed.
If you would like some help getting rid of carpenter ants or even if you just have a few questions, please do not hesitate to call or email.