Carpenter ants damage wood by excavating and creating galleries and tunnels for their nest. These areas are clean, i.e. they do not contain sawdust or other debris, and are smooth, with a well sanded appearance. The damage to wood structures is variable. The longer a colony is present in a structure, the greater the damage that can be done. Structural wood can be weakened when carpenter ant damage is severe.
Carpenter ants eat other insects, both living and dead. They also feed on meats or sweets, including honeydew, syrup, honey, sugar, and jelly. Carpenter ants do not eat wood; they chew wood into sawdust in the process of creating galleries and tunnels.
An important method for preventing carpenter ant problems indoors is to eliminate high moisture conditions that are attractive to them. Also, replace any moisture-damaged wood. Be careful to prevent moisture in wood or lumber that is stored in a garage or near the house and, if possible, elevate this wood to allow air circulation.
Store firewood as far away from buildings as possible. Remove tree and shrub stumps and roots. Trim branches that overhang the home so these branches don’t contact the house, including roof and eaves. Also, prune branches that touch electrical lines or other wires that are connected to the house; carpenter ants can travel from branches to lines and use them like a highway to buildings.
The best method to control carpenter ants is to locate and destroy the nest, replace damaged or decayed wood, and, if they exist, eliminate moisture problems. Eliminating a carpenter ant nest can be a difficult and challenging task. It is possible for a resident to control carpenter ants on their own. However, in most cases, control should be performed by an experienced pest management professional. They have the experience, equipment, and a wider array of products to more effectively control a carpenter ant problem. Home dwellers can still play a crucial role in control programs by providing detailed information to a pest management professional, such as when, where, and how many ants were seen. If you’re noticing carpenter ants in your home, please call Chilton’s right away! You don’t want a small problem to become a big headache with the damage the carpenter ants can cause.