Most ants are annoying but harmless. When you discover an ant or two in your kitchen or bathroom, you typically don't have any reason to be alarmed. A big exception to this rule, however, is carpenter ants. If you notice any of these pests in your home, you need to take action immediately. This article offers homeowners a brief guide for dealing with the threat of carpenter ants.
The first step in dealing with an infestation is to make sure that you have correctly identified the carpenter ants. One mistake that some homeowners make is to confuse carpenter ants with termites, as the two insects have a resemblance. The color of carpenter ants varies, with most species being black, brown, or reddish. Like all ants, they have bodies that are segmented into three sections.
They have pinched waists, which distinguishes them from termites that have rectangular bodies. Carpenter ants are typically 3.4 millimeters to 13 millimeters long and have two bent antennae.
These ants are a threat because they tunnel through the wooden elements of your home. They do not actually eat wood as termites do, but their tunneling can cause structural damage to your house. Typically, they will begin to tunnel in wood that has started to decay or has been damaged by water. Although they do not damage a house as quickly as termites, a large colony can severely compromise a house's structure over time.
The most obvious sign of an infestation, of course, is spotting the ant visually. You might notice frass, which is fine sawdust, on your floor close to a wall. Also, look for signs of tunneling in any wooden elements of your house, such as door frames. If you knock on any wood that is part of your home's structure and hear a hollow sound, it could indicate that carpenter ants have been active.
To stop carpenter ants from gaining a foothold in your home, keep all firewood, or any type of wood, well away from your house. If you store firewood on your property, make certain that it's at least 20 feet from the house and raised up off the ground. Seal all gaps or holes that you find in your foundation. Keep your gutters clear of debris, so that water does not pool near your house and cause any wooden elements of your home to start rotting.
If you notice a carpenter ant infestation in your home, contact a pest control services company.