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Carpenter Ant Q and A #3

By Chris Williams on September 8, 2010.

Q. We often see large black ants on our patio, what are they and how can we keep them from getting into our house?

carpenter-antA. If you see large black ants around your home, you may have a carpenter ant nest nearby. You don’t want them inside! Carpenter ants are a nuisance feeding in your kitchen. Much worse, though, they can move their entire nest into your house. They can even cause damage to the wood in your home when excavating their new nest.

To reduce the risk of carpenter ants, first limit their potential nest sites nearby.

  • Store firewood away from the house and only bring in wood when you’re ready to burn it.
  • Remove stumps, dead trees and woodpiles near the house.
  • Replace water-damaged or decayed wood and landscape timbers near your home (use only treated wood if in contact with the soil).

Prevent carpenter ants from getting into your house by doing the following.

  • Caulk and seal openings around windows and doors, spigots, and utility lines.
  • Repair damage to siding and foundation walls.
  • Trim the branches of trees and shrubs so they do not touch the house, particularly near the roof (ants can use a branch as a “bridge” into your home).
  • Do not pile wood mulch up against siding.

Correct moisture problems in and around the house (carpenter ants love moist wood).

  • Fix damaged or clogged gutters and downspouts; replace missing splashblocks.
  • Repair leaky roofs and pipes.
  • Fix poorly sealed windows (especially bay windows) and skylights.
  • Make sure rainwater does not puddle against your house, or that your sprinklers do not spray against the foundation or siding.
  • Check inside your home for chronic moisture problems from leaks or condensation and have the condition repaired.

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