Maybe you were one of the many people this summer that had carpenter ants crawling over your home. Maybe you waited awhile before getting them treated and they just kind of went away with the onset of cold weather before you did anything. Of course, it would be awfully convenient if the temperature went ahead and took care of your pest problem for you without you spending a dime. Unfortunately, this is probably not the case.
Carpenters ants, as you may or may not know, are the most destructive pest that we have in the Pacific Northwest. You may have thought that title belonged to subterranean termites and, although they can do a fair amount of damage, termites are not nearly as common in this area of the country compared to the warmer, more humid south. When it comes to wood damaging insects in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington area, carpenter ants are king. It has been estimated that a fully developed nest can do up to $17.00 worth of damage each day! If you have been seeing larger black ants and, especially ants with wings, you may have a fairly healthy size nest.
Sometimes home owners will see carpenter ants crawling on or around their home, but not think that it is a big deal because they are not seeing them inside. But, keep in mind that carpenter ants do not eat the wood in your house, they only chew through it to make a nest. Their food source is outside and they really have no reason to come inside at all. If you are seeing ants inside, it can confirm that you have a nest in your home and what you are seeing is “lost” ants.
So, let’s assume that you have seen ants on the outside of your home and you were one of the people I mentioned earlier that sort of waited it out. Did the weather take care of your problem? Unfortunately, that would be very unlikely. When the cold weather hits, the colony will do two things. First they will seek out a place that is warm to survive. Usually this is a nice cozy spot inside of your walls, but it can be just about anywhere. Second, the entire colony will surround the queen to make sure that she survives. They basically insulate her from the cold and allow the outer areas to die and then the inner layers eat the dead ants. By the time spring rolls around and things start to warm, the queen and her crew are safe and well fed, ready to roll again.
The winter can be thought of as a short reprieve of your ant problem, but it will most likely kick back up when the ice starts to melt. And, when that time arrives and you need to get a pest control company out to take care of it, please remember to give us a call!