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ARE CARPENTER ANTS OCCUPYING HIS MAN CAVE?

By Zachary Ciras on March 19, 2021.

I was doing some renovations in my basement level “man cave” and ran across some black ants inside a piece of rotten wood. I’m assuming they’re carpenter ants. What do I do next since I don’t know how far this infestation extends in the wood?

First, don’t assume that they are carpenter ants. That may be a good bet in water-damaged wood, but there are many species of pest ants that like to nest in softened, moist wood. These other ants don’t really excavate the wood in the same manner as carpenter ants, but they do sometimes take advantage of existing galleries created by carpenter ants for their nest sites. 

A carpenter ant going for a meal

This is a situation where an inspection by a pest control professional is called for. A trained technician will be able to identify the ants based on their size, shape, and color, and on the type of galleries found in the wood. The ants could be no problem at all or they could be carpenter ants — a real concern and one that could result in damage to the wood in your home if ignored (see Are These Carpenter Ants?).

YOU’LL NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP TO FIND ANT NEST SITES

Carpenter ants prefer to build their nests in wood that has been softened by decay or moisture. Nests often start in such sites but the ants sometimes move from there into dry, sound wood. If your ants are carpenter ants, they may not be located in just one spot; finding the different nest sites is important for permanent control. Breakaway “satellite colonies” are common and indoor carpenter ant nests often have a connection to a larger parent colony outside. For that reason, both indoor and outdoor treatment may be required (see Carpenter Ants May Require Multiple Approaches).

HOW MUCH DAMAGE CAN CARPENTER ANTS CAUSE?

A carpenter ant’s nest can look quite impressive when you open a piece of wood that is nothing but hollowed-out galleries. The longer that a carpenter ant colony has been present, the more likely that there will be structural wood damage. Over time, carpenter ants can destroy internal wood structures that hold your home together and can weaken door and window frames. In many cases, the damage is in places that cannot be reached and therefore cannot be easily repaired.

Carpenter ant

Don’t overlook the fact that you apparently have a moisture issue in your basement that is causing wood rot, at the very least. If too-damp conditions remain, not only does it invite carpenter ants but termites often invade damp wood, as well.

TIME TO CALL THE EXPERTS!

Give Colonial Pest a call to schedule an indoor ant inspection, and save some ant specimens if you can. If your ants are not carpenter ants, you’ll want to know that, too. And we can take care of those ants as well so that you can proceed with the work on your man cave.

We observe the necessary COVID-19 precautions and distancing when visiting customers’ homes and try to make most of our contacts remotely. We’re happy to listen to your questions and concerns.

For more on carpenter ants:

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