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There are many things that can threaten the investment you have in your home. If you are like most Portland property owners, you roll your sleeves up all the time to do the work needed to keep your home protected. Some of that work is done on the inside, such as repairing plumbing issues and replacing the screens in your ventilation ducts. But most of the work is done outside. You have to get out the ladder and get up to your roofline to clean your gutters and make repairs. You have to inspect your exterior and make repairs to areas where wood is rotting and moisture is getting in. You have to seal gaps around pipes and other foundation penetrations. And, of course, you have to consider the threat pests can present to your property. In Portland, one pest that plays a significant role in the damage of property is the black carpenter ant.

How Much Damage Do Carpenter Ants Really Do?

It is estimated that carpenter ants cost U.S. property owners hundreds of millions of dollars each year. The majority of that is paid out by property owners in Northern states where ice, snow, and rain work together to create moisture problems and wood rot. If you start seeing carpenter ants crawling around on your property, it doesn't mean your property is being destroyed, but it is certainly something you should have checked out. Under the right conditions, carpenter ants can do a lot of damage over time.

What Conditions Make Carpenter Ants Worse?

There are many ways your property can provide conditions for carpenter ant activity. Here are just a few of them.

  • A damp perimeter promotes wood rot and wood rot attracts these ants. Carpenter ants prefer to tunnel in rotting wood because it is softer.

  • Old homes have more trouble with carpenter ants because the wood is aged and the chemical treatments applied to the lumber have worn off. An old home also has more gaps for carpenter ants to enter through.

  • Unpainted and untreated decks are carpenter ant magnets.

  • Carpenter ants are drawn to damp, shaded spaces, such as the crawl space under a deck where a broken gutter system or a leaking pipe has caused oversaturation.

  • Excess leaf litter around a home, or underneath a deck, patio, porch, or stairs can invite carpenter ants.

  • Old stumps, logs, and trees with heart rot are attractive to carpenter ants. If you have these close to your home, you can have trouble.

  • Plants that are being attacked by aphids can become a strong attractant for carpenter ants. The honeydew produced by aphids is a sweet food source for many ant species, including carpenter ant species. 

Home Maintenance Deters Carpenter Ants

Maintenance and carpenter ant prevention go hand in hand. When you take the time to do the work, or hire someone to do it for you, you can alter the conditions that invite carpenter ants to tunnel into your Portland property. Here's how it works.

  • Cleaning and repairing your gutter system isn't just essential for the health of your home, it prevents wood rot that draws carpenter ants.

  • Replacing areas of your home that are rotting and addressing wood-to-soil contact not only stunts the damage the elements are doing to your home, it helps to resist carpenter ants.

  • Inspecting your exterior and sealing every gap and crack you find will help to keep moisture out and stop wood rot, mold, and other issues. It will also go a long way toward keeping carpenter ants out of your home. This is important because entry points allow carpenter ants to get inside and find suitable timbers in which to create galleries.

  • Inspecting the exterior of your home and fixing leaky spigots, damaged pipes, and hoses will help to keep your perimeter as dry as possible so that snow and rain will soak into the ground rather than pooling on the surface. This will also reduce the dampness that carpenter ants prefer.

  • Removing leaves from your property doesn't just make it look nicer, it also helps to resist carpenter ants.

  • Keeping your plants healthy and dry will go a long way toward preventing aphid damage and also resist carpenter ant activity.

How Pest Control Plays A Role

It can be complicated to fix some conditions. Every Portland home has its own challenges. Plus, it takes a lot of hard work, or it may require you to pay out money you just don't have in your budget. Ongoing pest control service to your exterior provides an essential layer of protection to prevent carpenter ant damage, and these applications can be applied right now. You don't have to wait till you have thousands of dollars to do something about those ants. If you live in Portland, reach out to Big Blue Bug Solutions today. We can help you guard your home against carpenter ant damage. 

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