The answer to this question, for those who are not educated in the damages carpenter ants can cause, is simply to grab a tissue or a vacuum cleaner and take care of any ants that appear. The problem is that this won't take care of a carpenter ant infestation. And, seeing a big black ant inside your home or business is not a warning sign that you should take lightly. Carpenter ants dig tunnels and galleries inside wooden structures and, if this activity is left unchecked and untreated, they can cause structural weakening, which can lead to other damages.
Warning Signs of a Carpenter Ant Invasion
Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood, but they create tunnels and galleries inside wood to establish a safe place to create their nests. This activity can cause support beams to weaken and can lead to all sorts of problems. Here are some of the signs you may notice if you have thousands of carpenter ants at work within your walls and support structures:
Big ants: Carpenter ants are shiny black or reddish in color and will be the largest ants you will see crawling around in your home. They typically measure between 7 and 12 mm (¼ -½ inch) and have a single node between their thorax and abdomen.
Swarmers: Swarmers are even bigger than the ants themselves. Swarmers are produced when a colony matures and needs to explore other spaces and establish new nests. These flying ants can be close to an inch in length with wings that extend out past their bodies. If a swarm of flying ants has come and gone, you may only see their shed wings.
Holes and wood shavings: Since these ants do not eat wood, they need to remove it from their tunnels. You may see tiny piles of wood shavings underneath wooden areas. But often these piles are hidden inside walls, crawl spaces, or other hard to get to areas. These holes are called kickout holes and the piles of shavings are called frass.
Rustling in walls: If you listen closely to a wall where carpenter ants are at work, you may be able to hear a faint rustling sound.
Sticky windows or doors: When structures are weakened enough, this can lead to doors and windows that don't open or close properly.
Walls, ceilings, and floors: If enough time goes by and carpenter ants are able to do significant damage, this can cause walls to bulge, ceilings to dip, and floors to become slopey.
Carpenter Ant Prevention Tips
To keep carpenter ants out of your home, it is best to first focus on how to keep them away from your property. Here are some things you can do to deter these ants and other pests from coming in close to your home.
Keep grass clipped short: Many pests are drawn to taller grass. Keeping things short will help keep pests away.
Remove plants that collect water. All pests need water to survive and the more water-collecting plants you have, the more likely pests will be to come and stay.
Keep the mulch to a minimum. If you have mulch, make sure it is 2 feet away from your home. Mulch is attractive to carpenter ants, termites, and other household pests. Also, consider replacing any wood borders with stones. The less wood by your home the better.
Reduce shade: The dryer the better. If you can open up areas for the sun to shine, things will be drier and less inviting for pests.
Trim bushes and branches: Make sure you don't have any bridges that go from the ground to your walls.
Keep your property weeded: Weeds are also a magnet for many kinds of pests.
Call Big Blue Bug
Carpenter ants can damage a structure for years and years without being detected, which can result in costly repairs. They dig tunnels to make nests and they multiply. Then, they dig more tunnels to make more nests… And the cycle goes on and on.
If you need help getting rid of carpenter ants, or you simply want to know for sure that you don't have these little destroyers eating away at your equity, reach out to Big Blue Bug Solutions today. We'll take care of all that for you.