Carpenter Ant problems during cold weather

By Chris Williams on January 21, 2016.

It Is always an odd thing to get carpenter ant complaint calls during the winter time, but after several mild spells from late December (Christmas day temperature hit about 60) right through this past weekend with what was like a tropical rain event they can wake up. This week I was summoned to investigate and treat a mobile home which had active carpenter ants (about three dozen or so according to the resident) in one of the bathrooms.  This mobile home is approximately two years old and in excellent, nearly new condition.  No ants had been observed inside since last summer.  While I was unable to inspect underneath due to snow and ice surrounding the unit, it is possible that a small colony could have taken up residence beneath the tub surround or underneath the sink vanity, and maybe briefly, temperatures were warm enough this past weekend in these void areas to support emergence.  One thing is for certain, and that is they were not coming from the ground. Wall and cabinet voids were treated with a long acting residual dust, and now it’s a waiting game until spring where an additional insecticide treatment will be applied to the exterior perimeter of the mobile home.  I know winter just officially began just a couple of weeks ago, but carpenter ants waking really means spring maybe closer than you think.

Now with last weeks (Jan 15) temperatures down in the low 30s’ or near that just about all over New England which is pretty average for this time of year and maybe perhaps a bit warmer than average. Some of the milder temperatures we’ve had recently from our El Nino winter thus far and some of you homeowners may find carpenter ants wandering about your home.  Don’t panic! (But, do call us.) You probably have a small colony of ants embedded somewhere in the house. Where might they be?  The following list includes some of the more common areas where I’ve found carpenter ants nesting in homes during my career.

  • Sills and joists of basements or crawlspaces
  • Wall void behind the dishwasher
  • Voids above and below kitchen cabinetry
  • Voids beneath tubs or shower stalls
  • Door and window frames
  • Door sills
  • Exterior walls near chimney

With the exception of areas beneath bathroom fixtures, these other spots can warm up significantly now depending upon the orientation and exposure of your home to the sun. Even though it may not be apparent yet, the days are getting longer.  Although spring is a way off still, the presence of these ants may be telling you (sometimes not) that some home maintenance projects are in order.  Call us for expert solutions to your carpenter ant problem.



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