Carpenter Ants Prefer Damp Wood
By Chris Williams on April 18, 2011.
Q. We occasionally see some large black ants in an upstairs bedroom near where we had a roof leak two years ago. I’ve tried to follow them to their nest but they just disappear behind the baseboards. How can I find out where they’re coming from?
A. You might be dealing with carpenter ants and it can be extremely difficult to locate carpenter ant nests. This is a situation where you really need a professional. First, to identify the ants (some other ants are attracted to damp areas, too), and second, to do a thorough inspection to locate nest sites prior to treatment. Carpenter ants found inside a house can come from nests either inside or outside…or both. It’s important to find out whether the ants are nesting in your home or just scavenging there for food since they can cause serious damage to your wood.
Two quick clues that you might be dealing with carpenter ants: (1) Carpenter ants are usually black and are the largest ants that you will see, 1/4 to 1/2-inch long; (2) you may find “dump piles” below carpenter ant nest sites made up of debris that has been pushed out of a slit-like opening. While other ants also have dump piles, carpenter ant piles contain bits of excavated wood that look like sawdust.
Carpenter ants infest and damage wood but, unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t feed on the wood, they just tunnel it out for nest sites. Carpenter ants prefer to excavate their nests in damp, soft wood. Indoors, that means areas where there have been plumbing leaks or areas that are frequently soaked by rain or condensation. One of the first things a pest control professional will ask you is where you have had leaks or water damage in your home. That’s a likely spot for carpenter ant nests. While carpenter ants usually begin their nests in decayed wood, they can then move into perfectly dry, sound wood. They also sometimes nest in insulation, in small voids, or in hollow doors. There may be more than one nest site.
If you are seeing the ants indoors in winter months in our area, it’s likely that they are nesting in your home. During warm weather, they could be entering your home for food but actually nesting in an old stump at the back of your yard. Even if the ants are not nesting in your home, carpenter ants can be a nuisance when feeding on sweets, grease, crumbs, etc. in your kitchen. Call Colonial and have one of our experts check out your ant problem. No matter what kind of ant you’re dealing with, we can set up an ant management program that meets your needs