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Finding the Source of Carpenter Ants

By Chris Williams on March 16, 2012.

If you find big, black carpenter ants inside your house, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are slowly destroying the wood in your home. The carpenter ants could be nesting inside your home, or they may be nesting outside and just foraging into your home looking for food. You’ll need the services of a pest control professional to inspect your home and determine the location of the nest.

black-antCarpenter ants prefer to excavate their nests in damp, soft wood. Indoors, that often means areas where there have been plumbing leaks or areas that are soaked by rain or condensation.  That’s not a hard and fast rule however, because sometimes after carpenter ants have already moved into a structure, they will then establish secondary nests in wood that is perfectly dry.

Think about where you see the carpenter ants most often and whether or not you have had any leaks, moisture problems, or water damage in that area. You might have seen piles of what looks like coarse sawdust on floors or surfaces. This could be material dumped from a carpenter ants’ nest. If carpenter ants are nesting inside your walls, you can sometimes hear a clicking or rustling sound that the ants make inside their tunnels.

But the ants could instead be coming inside from a nest in your yard. Carpenter ants have been known to travel more than 300 feet from their nest to enter a structure looking for food. They will often get inside by following electrical or utility lines, tree limbs, vines, or pipes that touch or lead directly into the house. If you find a parade of ants entering your home, you can sometimes follow them back to their nest. Carpenter ants forage mostly at night though so tracking them might be a commitment.

If you can’t track the ants, the first place to look for a carpenter ant nest outside is wherever there is damp or rotting wood. However, the infested wood may be buried and not readily visible. Be forewarned that carpenter ants are very common outside. Finding a carpenter ant nest outside does not mean that these are the same ants that you are seeing inside. Some typical outdoor nest sites are in stacked firewood or lumber, in tree stumps or hollow trees, in sheds or decks, in fence posts, telephone poles, or in railroad ties.

If you’re seeing ants inside, call Colonial. Our experts can determine whether they are carpenter ants. And a thorough inspection will determine whether the ants are nesting inside your home or not. In either case, we can get rid of the ants in your home safely, quickly, and with the least amount of disruption.

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