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ARE CARPENTER ANTS DAMAGING MY HOUSE?

By Chris Williams on June 16, 2017.

When carpenter ants are found inside a home, they can be just visitors that are foraging for food which they are taking back to an outdoor nest, or they can be residents living in your home and chewing on your wood. How can you tell what’s what?

That’s where you need a pest control professional. At Colonial, we have trained technicians who have tracked many a carpenter ant. Carpenter ants follow scent trails to food and back to the nest. Sometimes we can pick up trailing ants inside the house and can follow them back outside to the parent colony. Or, we look for signs left by the ants that signal that the nest is inside the house (see Are These Carpenter Ants?).

Carpenter ant colonies are founded by a single queen ant who starts her nest with 10-25 eggs laid in an old stump, dead tree, or similar site. Hatching worker ants soon take over the duties of rearing the young, feeding the queen, and maintaining the colony as it grows. This parent colony can be considered to be mature after 3 to 6 years when it has more than 3,000 workers, and up to 50,000 depending on species.

SATELLITE NESTS CAN MOVE INDOORS

When a carpenter ant parent colony needs more food resources, or more territory, or a drier or warmer nest site, it can establish break-away satellite colonies. Worker ants will move larger ant larvae and some pupae that are destined to become queens and kings into a new space while the founding queen and smaller larvae stay behind.

When carpenter ants are found to be nesting inside, it is often one of these satellite nests, an offshoot of a parent colony outside. These satellite nests don’t always have the same need to nest in moist wood and often end up in small void spaces such as hollow doors, window frames, inside curtain rods, or even in insulation. Even though these ants are nesting inside, they may travel back and forth to the parent colony outside.

WET WOOD CAN ATTRACT AN ANT QUEEN

Sometimes though, the parent colony itself is inside the house. In these cases, the nest usually begins in wood that has been wet from a plumbing or roof leak, poor drainage, or from heavy condensation. Even when the leak has been repaired, ants are still attracted to that softened wood which they excavate to create galleries for rearing their young.

Carpenter ant inspection and control can be relatively simple and straightforward or terribly complex. Control is most likely to be successful when the parent colony as well as any satellite colonies are located and treated.

Photo Credit : SITS Girls

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