If you know anything about carpenter ants, then you probably know that these large black ants make their homes inside wood. They carve out tunnels and galleries in which to build nests where more carpenter ants are birthed.
You probably also know that if you allow these ants to get inside the walls of your home, and stay there, that their numbers can grow and they can do significant damage to the structure of your home over time.
But what you may not know is what is attracting these insects in the first place. Here are some important facts about carpenter ants every homeowner should know.
Carpenter Ant Identification
A carpenter ant is easy to identify since it is larger than any other ant that will make its way into your home.
It is usually black, but sometimes has a dark red coloring, and measures from 7 to 12 mm in length.
Carpenter ants have a single node between the thorax and abdomen and will usually only be seen one or two at a time in living spaces.
Damage Caused By Carpenter Ants
If carpenter ants are allowed to carve tunnels into your walls for several years, or even decades, the damage can become severe. As they carve more and more tunnels and galleries, and as their populations grow, walls and support beams can begin to weaken. This can affect the entire structure. As is the case with termites, you may begin to notice walls, ceilings, or floors developing a warp. And windows and doors may cease to work properly, either sticking open, or becoming more and more difficult to move.
These Ants Are Not Only Attracted To Wood
Knowing that these are wood-destroying organisms, you may think they are only attracted to wood, but they are actually attracted to several things. See if any of the below items or conditions are attracting carpenter ants to your property.
- Wood. Yes, carpenter ants are attracted to wood, especially if it is wet wood. If the wood of your home has been moistened by a broken gutter, leaky pipe, or other sources of moisture, carpenter ants and other moisture-loving pests will be attracted.
- Water. If there are sources of water outside your home, ants, and other pests, will be attracted. Items that collect water, hardened ground that holds pools of rainwater, bushes too close the home that do not allow rainwater to dry after it rains, all these things can be water sources for pests.
- Pet food. If you feed your animals outside, and there is food left in their bowls between meals, this will attract ants and other insects, as well as rodents and other animals.
- Leftover BBQ food. Any kind of food or drink that is left outside after a cookout is an attractant for pests of all kinds.
- Fruits or veggies. Leftover fruits and vegetables left near fruit trees or in vegetable gardens will also attract a variety of insects and animal pests.
How To Discourage Carpenter Ants From Entering Your Home
- Clean up your property. Remove areas that retain moisture, such as leaf litter or items that hold water after it rains.
- Make sure your perimeter is dry. Fix or unclog broken or clogged gutters so that water does not run down the outside of your home. If wood is kept dry, it is less likely that moisture-loving pests will chew their way into your walls.
- Seal up holes in your walls. Inspect your foundation and outer walls and seal up any gaps, holes, or cracks that you find. It doesn't take much of a hole for an ant to squeeze through.
- Remove food sources from your yard. Don't leave pet food out, clean up after parties, and clear around fruit trees and veggie gardens to have as few food attractants as possible.
- Store trash in sealed containers. Ants and other pests are attracted to open trash receptacles. Make sure your lids fit tightly.
How Spencer Pest Services Can Help
Keeping ants out is possible with a little hard work and vigilance. However, once they have established themselves inside the walls of your home, the best course of action is to partner with a professional pest control company. If you live in South Carolina, find out if you're in our service area. Spencer Pest Services offers industry-leading residential and commercial pest control services in Greenville and the surrounding area.