Here in Columbus, we’re no strangers to ant infestations. From pooping our picnic parties to contaminating our countertops, ants seem to be able to ruin just about any good time. However, one species of ant can do a heck of a lot more than ruin your outdoor fun; they can destroy your house and leave you out in the cold.
The carpenter ant, like the termite, hollows out wood to make its home. Carpenter ant colonies can get quite large, making nests big enough to damage and even destroy the wooden frame and materials of your home. Let’s talk about how to distinguish carpenter ants from other ants, spot signs you might have an infestation, and prevent carpenter ants from taking up residence in your house.
Carpenter Ants: Big Black Bugs
Carpenter ants in Columbus are usually pretty easy to differentiate from other ants because they’re so much larger. They can be anywhere between 1/3 of an inch to a full inch long. They’re usually black, and they have large mandibles for cutting wood. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat wood, so you might spot them crawling on your counter looking for foods high in protein or sugar, which they often contaminate by crawling into containers with their dirty feet.
The fact that they don’t eat wood doesn’t mean carpenter ants don’t do severe damage. They can tunnel hundreds of yards' worth of passageways and chambers throughout your home’s wooden components, weakening the wood in the process. An infestation left unchecked can eventually render your home unlivable.
Luckily, you’ll probably see signs of carpenter ants before your home is irreparably damaged. Signals you’ve got a problem include:
- Frequently seeing large black ants throughout your home
- Wood damage such as bucking floorboards, sagging ceilings, warped doors, window frames, and deformed walls
- Rustling or scratching sounds inside walls
- Sawdust piles under wood areas like moldings, doorframes, decking, etc.
The good news is there’s a lot you can do to prevent carpenter ant infestations. The best way to keep these ants at bay is to reduce things in your home that attract them and make it tougher for them to get into your home. Do things like:
- Seal up cracks or holes in your home to make it harder for ants to enter.
- Trim branches and shrubs away from your home to give ants fewer access points.
- Keep all food in tightly sealed containers or the fridge.
- Cover indoor garbage with a tight lid and take out the trash often.
- Never leave pet foods or pet food bowls sitting out.
- Stain all exposed wood to make it harder for ants to carve into.
Remove decayed or damaged wood from your property – carpenter ants prefer wood softened by time and water, so making sure all the wood in and around your home is hard and dry will encourage them to seek other locations for their nests.
The bad news is carpenter ants can often tunnel through your prevention measures as masterfully as they tunnel through your walls. The good news is when this happens, help is just a phone call or click away. Here at Pestmaster® Services, we’ve been in the business of eradicating pests since 1979! Our pest elimination services include control of everything from insects to birds to nuisance wildlife to rodents and more, and we’ve got the tools and techniques to safely and effectively remove the carpenter ants from your property and make sure they’re gone for good! So visit our contact page to get started on your free quote or give us a call at (800) 525-8866 to schedule your appointment today.