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How To Protect Your Georgia Home Against Carpenter Ants

January 01, 1970

 
Ants of the genus Camponotus are known as carpenter ants because they prefer to establish their colonies in damp or damaged wood. This species can do much damage to wooden structures and therefore must be carefully controlled. All kinds of houses, regardless of age or type of construction, are vulnerable to infestation and damage by carpenter ants. This insect can build their colonies in the wood of your home very quickly, so it is imperative to eradicate the infestation quickly once you have seen a carpenter ant.

Appearance:

Among the largest ants, from one-fourth to three-eighths inch long; most common species is black, but some have reddish or yellowish coloration. Workers have large mandibles. They can range in size from about the width of a pencil to the width of a quarter. One carpenter ant colony can contain different sizes of ants depending on caste and responsibility.

Habits:

Normally nest in dead portions of standing trees, stumps or logs, or burrow under fallen logs or stones, but they can invade homes in search of food. They nest inside wooden structures in homes. Carpenter ants prefer to establish nests in areas where wood has been exposed to severe moisture. Carpenter ants do not eat wood as termites do, but instead, remove wood and deposit the debris outside of their nests in small piles. Carpenter ants clean their nesting sites, and their galleries are not lined with mud or moist soil like subterranean termites. Carpenter ant workers keep their galleries as smooth as sandpapered wood.

Diet:

Do not eat wood; will feed on nearly anything people eat, particularly sweets and meats; also feed on other insects.

Reproduction:

Queen lays 15 to 20 eggs the first year, and up to 30 eggs the second year; eggs complete their life cycle in about 60 days; worker ants can live up to seven years, while a queen may live up to 25 years.

Carpenter Ant Colonies:

Colonies can contain up to 3,000 workers. 

Carpenter ants build two types of nests, parent colonies and satellite colonies. Parent colonies consist of a queen, her brood, and workers. Satellite colonies consist only of thousands of workers. Workers create satellite colonies when the parent colony lacks sufficient space or when there is suitable supply of food or water. Sattelite colonies are typically located within 20-40 feet from the parent nest.

Treating Carpenter Ants:

If treated quickly, carpenter ants are seldom responsible for serious structural damage to houses and buildings, unlike the subterranean termite. However, these ants could cause extreme damage if they continue undiscovered for an extended period. Eliminating moisture and food sources is just as important as treating the carpenter ant nests. Fix any leaks or cracks near the foundation, repair any water damage or wood decay on the house. Remove foliage, dead trees, and wood around the perimeter that carpenter ants might use as nests. Elevate wood piles and structures off the ground if possible. 

To get rid of Carpenter Ant nests, use both sugar-based and a protein-based slow-acting ant bait. Keep a lookout for trails near or inside your home and apply both nearby.

Identify indoor carpenter ant nests or “voids” and drill a small hole (roughly 1/8 inch) in the side and apply a dust or foam insecticide. Do not use a liquid insecticide in a wall void, as it can cause further damage to the wood.

Form a protective barrier around your home by spraying a non-repellent insecticide on the perimeter of the structure about two feet up the wall of the structure and two feet outward from the base, and around any potential entry points like doors, windows, or A/C units. However, be careful not to spray too close to the bait, as this can prevent ants from eating it.

Locating Carpenter Ant nests is difficult with the naked eye as they are located within wooden structures. If you suspect a carpenter ant infestation, it's best to call a professional pest control company with infrared cameras to identify the extent of the infestation, treat the ants, and fix the damage.

If you want to make sure your Carpenter Ant problem is taken care of properly, click the button below and request a free pest control consultation.