What do carpenter ants look like?

In the Boise area, black carpenter ants are the most common species. Like the name suggests, they are a dull black color, but may have yellow or whitish hairs on the abdomen. Carpenter ants are much larger than most species of ants and can range from .25-.75 inches long.

 

carpenter ant

By Judy Gallagher [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Where do carpenter ants live?

Carpenter ants can form large nests with many thousands of ants. In their natural outdoor habitat, these nests are mostly built in dead or rotting trees, stumps, and other wood sources. Carpenter ants are particularly attracted to moist wood because it is easier to chew through. They cannot digest the cellulose in the wood, so they are not actually eating it, just creating tunnels (known as galleries) and nests in it. These ants are very valuable to the ecosystem because they help to decompose old wood. When carpenter ants get inside homes, however, they can become major pests. Since they prefer moist wood, common entry points for carpenter ants include under eaves, window ledges, decks, and porches.

How do I know if I have carpenter ants?

A carpenter ant infestation can be difficult to identify because workers are mostly active during the nighttime. Still, seeing live carpenter ants is the easiest way to know that you might have an infestation. You may find them scavenging for food in your kitchen. You may also see reproductive ants swarming to find mates and start a new colony during the spring. Since they typically do not fly far, if you are seeing these swarms, chances are good that a nest is close by. Another important sign of carpenter ants is piles of sawdust-like material at the base of walls, in corners, or in crawl spaces. This material is a combination of wood shavings and excrement. Large colonies of carpenter ants are also said to make crackling sounds as they go about the process of carving out wood. If you see some of these signs around your home, it is highly recommended that you call a professional to inspect your property.

How can I prevent carpenter ants?

All ants require food, water, and shelter for survival. If your home provides these things, ants will be attracted to it. Let’s take a look at some of the specific things you can do to prevent infestations.

Keep Your Home Clean

While it is impossible to keep your home completely clean and crumb free, every little bit can help. Sweep and vacuum your floors frequently to eliminate crumbs, wipe up spills on counters, and wash your dishes after use. Ants like sweets and starches, so pantries are a difficult area. Properly storing food in airtight containers can make your pantry less inviting. You should also take out the trash daily and keep a lid on it whenever possible.

Eliminate Excess Moisture

Since carpenter ants prefer moist wood, it is important to eliminate any excess sources of water. These could include leaky pipes, dripping faucets, or damaged or clogged gutters. Fix any problems you may find, and try to keep all water draining away from your home. If you have wood that has been water-damaged, repairing it is a good idea.

Regular Pest Control Treatments

Before you have a carpenter ant infestation, it is a great idea to prevent them from coming into your home by having regular pest control treatments. This normally consists of a perimeter treatment that is applied along the outside of your home. This residual spray creates a barrier that will protect your home from many different pests for several months. If reapplied regularly, perimeter treatments can greatly reduce the risks of pest infestations.

If you live in the Boise area and think you may have carpenter ants, give Boise Pest Control Company a call. Our trained technicians can inspect your home and customize a treatment for your situation. We are fast, friendly, and effective in what we do. For pest control in Boise, you can trust us to keep your family safe and pest-free. Contact us today!