Got Carpenter Ants in the House? Here's What You Need to Know!
We know that if left untreated, carpenter ants can cause the porch to sag, the house to warp, and eventually force the government to put up a sign that says, "Condemned." But there are a few things you may not know about these destructive pests that could make your home a safer place to be.
What Do Carpenter Ants Look Like?
Before taking any action, it’s important to identify the kind of ant problem you’re dealing with. Here are some differences between carpenter ants and regular ants to look out for:
- Carpenter ants have a heart shaped head, while regular ants have a circular head.
- The thorax of a carpenter ant is evenly rounded, but a regular ant has an indention in the top of its thorax. This is called a “notched” thorax.
- While regular ants are only about .2 inches in length, carpenter ants are bigger! They range from .25-.5 inches in length.
- Both types of ants can be all black, but a carpenter ant can also be two toned with a different colored abdomen.
All of the physical characteristics aside, the biggest sign of carpenter ants is that they are causing damage to your home!
What Do Carpenter Ants Eat?
Contrary to popular belief, carpenter ants actually don’t eat wood. When these insects invade your home, they're looking for sweets and protein. They'll find it in a piece of fruit left out on the counter, crumbs littered around the toaster, pet food left in a dish, and more! However, an important thing to note is that these pests can live off of a variety of things outside of your home, including other insects and nectar, so just keeping a clean home might not be enough to prevent an infestation.
What do Carpenter Ants Do?
So if they aren’t eating it, why do carpenter ants damage the wood in homes? The insect chews through large galleries in wood to make pathways to food resources and to house their nests. The larger the colony gets, the more damage they do to a home. They can also do more damage when they split into multiple colonies, which happens often when homeowners try to eradicate this pest on their own.
How To Get Rid of Carpenter Ants
While it’s not a fool-proof method, the best way to prevent carpenter ants is by not giving them any food to find. Cleaning up crumbs, putting away pet food, and not leaving any food out are all good ways to start. Already seen carpenter ants in your house? Here are a few things you can do:
- Eliminate scent trails: Make sure you clean any surface that you’ve seen ants traveling on! Carpenter ants rely on pheromone trails to follow their buddies and find resources, so eliminating the trail will help fight them. Cleaning solution, essential oils, are dish soap are all effective ways to get rid of any trace.
- Destroy the nests: Destroying a carpenter ant nest can be as simple as vacuuming it up, or you can purchase carpenter ant dust and apply it to the nest. If you’re looking for a nontoxic dust, diatomaceous earth is an effective option.
- Use boric acid ant baits: Another way to get rid of carpenter ants is buying boric acid at a garden supply store, mixing it with powdered sugar, and applying it where you’ve seen the ants. The sugar will reel the ants in, and the boric acid will kill them.
- Get professional help!
Call an Exterminator for Professional Ant Control
If you see carpenter ants coming into your home, get a pest control professional to do an inspection and eradicate any carpenter ant colonies in or around your home. While DIY methods to get rid of carpenter ants can provide short-term relief, it’s best to call a professional before you face serious damages.
Carpenter ants are always encroaching. If you'd like to know for sure that these wood chewers won't make their home inside your home, get ongoing pest control like Witt Pest Management's Topcare service. For a reasonable monthly payment, you'll have protection from carpenter ants, and 39 other common pests. It's time for you to get the protection your home deserves with our ant control services!