Carpenter ants are beneficial because they burrow and nest in dead trees and enhance decay of the wood. They achieve pest status when a colony invades and damages the integrity of the wood within a house.
Carpenter ants construct their nests in hollow trees, logs, posts, landscaping timbers, and wood used in homes and other structures. These ants prefer to infest wood that is moist and rotting, but wood that has been wet previously, may be soft enough to allow carpenter ants to hollow it out and produce a colony. Certain parts of a house such as: Around and under windows, roof eaves, decks, and porches are more likely to be infested by carpenter ants.
The diet of carpenter ants is quite varied and includes living and dead insects, honeydew from aphids, sweets, meat, and fats. They do not eat wood. Workers leave the colony in late afternoon or early evening, forage during the night, and return to the colony in the early morning hours.
Carpenter ants carry food back to the nest intact or ingested and later feed it to non-foraging members in the nest. These ants may forage up to 100 yards from the nest to search for food. Carpenter ants may become pests in houses by foraging for food. The greatest concern, however, is they may cause serious damage to wood in the structure. Unlike termites, they do not feed upon wood, but merely use it as a place to nest.
Carpenter ants keep occupied galleries clean. They remove wood in the form of a coarse sawdust-like material, which they push from the nest. This often results in a cone-shaped pile accumulating just below the nest entrance hole. This pile may include, in addition to the wood fragments, other debris from the nest, including bits of soil, dead ants, parts of insects and remnants of other food they ate.
Any trees and bushes that touch the house are a possible entry point, especially if moisture problems such as leaky roofs and plumbing are nearby. Paint and/or seal exposed wood construction before it becomes wet. Replace previously ant- or termite-infested wood, rotted, or water-damaged wooden parts of the structure and eliminate wood/soil contacts. Remove dead stumps on the property and store firewood off the ground and away from the structure.
We are specially trained to recognize the signs of an infestation and damage from carpenter ants, and the environmental requirements for their survival. Our thorough inspections can determine whether they are present, determine whether remedial control measures are needed, and inform you as to how you can best protect your home against a possible carpenter ant attack in the future.