The Secret To Getting Rid Of Carpenter Ants On Katy Properties
What Are Carpenter Ants & What Do I Need To Know?
There are many ant species native to Texas, and today we’re here to talk about one of the more destructive ones in the bunch: carpenter ants. These ants prefer moist, humid environments, and they live in nests outside of your home or business.
Measuring from 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch long, carpenter ants are one of the largest subspecies in the region and definitely one of the biggest pest ants that can get into your home. These large ants are usually black, although their tint can range from dark black to reddish-brown. They have notoriously strong jaws that help them effectively eat other insects, shave down timber, and feed on sources of nourishment. This brings us to what they’re known for – the large-scale destruction of wood.
The threat is similar to that of termites, however usually on a smaller scale. That, and carpenter ants are different than termites in that they aren’t wood-eaters. They do destroy wood, but they don’t actually feed on it as termites do. Carpenter ants look for damp, humid, and wooded areas to make their nests. You can usually find their colonies set up in areas damaged by water, such as rotting wood sources like stumps, dead trees, wall voids, and crawl spaces.
They chew through the moistened wood and push it out to create gallery tunnels, through which they travel to make nests where they will raise their offspring. As carpenter ants dig their tunnels and burrow through the wood, they can cause serious structural damage, putting you in harm’s way. As carpenter ants infest homes and businesses, they continue developing and expanding their colonies until the property is entirely infested. The longer they’re there, the more damage they do, and their skilled abilities to destroy wood pose a real threat to all Katy property owners.
How Are Carpenter Ants Different From Other Ants?
When it comes to distinguishing carpenter ants from other species, there are a few things to keep in mind. As mentioned, they differ from termites in that they don’t actually eat wood. They only use wood to tunnel through and build their nests. Carpenter ants create galleries in the wood, and in the process, weaken the structure from the inside out. They’re known for infesting damp, moisture-damaged, decayed wood; however, once they gain access to the structure, they’re also known to infest sound wood as well.
Just like most ant species, carpenter ants infest your property in search of shelter, food, and water. They tend to go inside during the winter months for food, water, and a safe place to set up their colonies. However, they differ greatly from other ant species, and here are some ways to distinguish them:
Carpenter ants have a head shaped like a heart, while regular ants have more of a circle-shaped head. They also have more of a symmetrical thorax than other ants.
Carpenter ants are known for nesting in wood outside of the structure, but when they get inside, they can cause a lot of damage to the construction of your home or business.
Carpenter ants eat protein and sugar, and they spread to other locations when looking for sources of food. That’s why they’re often found feeding on food in your pantry like honeydew, honey, jelly, syrup, candy, meat, and pet food.
After they establish nests throughout the structure, carpenter ants create parent colonies outside of the home (one carpenter ant can travel up to 300 feet from the nest).
One colony of carpenter ants can have a population of over 15,000 worker ants, and as they travel outside the nest, they build new nests, spreading populations even further.
There are many approaches to take to keep yourself protected from carpenter ants. However, the most reliable way to deal with carpenter ants is to seek out help from experts. The potential dangers are much too large to risk, and the stakes are too high. Modern Pest Control is ready to help.
The Dangers Of Carpenter Ant Infestation
Different types of ants infest local properties, each bringing their own set of problems to your home or business. Some ants spread harmful bacteria, while some ants species cause painful, itchy bite wounds. Well, carpenter ants cause serious structural damage to our homes and businesses.
Carpenter ants are small in size, but they can have some big consequences. While they may not sting or transmit disease, that doesn’t mean they are entirely harmless. They access your structure via remote areas that aren’t always easy to get to. Some of their common points of entry include expansion joints, cracks in the foundation, gaps around windows and doors, openings around utility pipes and wires.
Once they get, they spread fast, and the nightmare begins. There are a number of consequences that come with a carpenter ant infestation. The main danger is in their ability to cause severe property damage, but they can also have other consequences like compromising food sources, not to mention your safety.
Carpenter ants can weaken the construction of your property over time by excavating damaged wood, burrowing into structural timbers, and spreading their colonies to continue the job. This leads to large-scale infestation that can impact the structural integrity of your property.
Some of the structural damage that carpenter ants cause include:
Damage to fence posts
Destruction of decks and patios
Nesting inside of and destruction of wood
Spreading into dry, sound wood
Serious structural damage
Warping of the structure
Weakened studs, joists, and structural timbers
Weakened support beams and foundation
Carpenter ants chew through soft, rotting, moisture-damaged wood to make their nests. Once inside the rotting wood, these ants can move on to sound timbers within your home. They branch off from their main colonies and produce satellite colonies throughout your structure. As they spread, populations grow until you have a large-scale infestation on your hands.
Through the destruction of wood sources, carpenter ants cause the structural timbers of your property to weaken over time. When this happens, your property experiences decay and destruction, making it an unsafe place for you, your loved ones, and anyone else who frequents the area. As they travel through gallery tunnels in the wood, they burrow and nest in it, spreading their populations through the structure. More ants mean more workers biting away at the wood, and they have a strong pair of jaws to get the job done efficiently and effectively.
Considering all the hard work they do to build nests, their jaws are pretty sharp. Carpenter ants also use those same jaws to bite prey if provoked. No, carpenter ants do not sting, but they may bite if prompted - another reason why it’s best to leave things to Greater Houston pest control experts.
Another lesser-known consequence of carpenter ant infestation is potential food contamination. While carpenter ants live mostly outdoors, they can make their way inside your home or business for food scraps. Remember, they don’t actually eat the wood; they only use it to make their nests. Because of this, they need to find other sources of food, so they come looking in your kitchen pantry. When carpenter ants access your food sources, there’s the added threat of potential food contamination and the subsequent health reactions.
Now we face the big question: how is one supposed to know if they have a carpenter ant problem? How did these wood-destroying ants get inside your property in the first place, and is it possible to detect a problem on your own? Well, there are some telltale signs of carpenter ant activity, and it’s good to be aware of them.
The following indicates the presence of carpenter ants in your home or business:
Faint rustling sounds of carpenter ants burrowing in the wall voids
Flying ants emerging from their colonies to establish more nests
Frass in crawl spaces, garages, and other secluded locations
Knocking on the foundation to see ants scurry out/appear
Mountains of wood shavings and ant body parts
Piles of wood shavings found beneath wooden items
Shed wings laying around window sills, baseboard, and vents
Tapping on the wood to see if it sounds hollow
Trails of sawdust of patches of wood that appear to be sanded
Visual wear on the construction of your home or business
Walls and baseboards become rickety and feeble
Weakened foundation signs (warping, stuck doors, sloped floors, sinking ceilings, etc.)
Worn down wood that can be easily pierced with a knife
If you detect any of these, it’s crucial to get a professional carpenter ant inspection. That’s the only guaranteed way to really find out what’s going on. The worst thing you can do is let the problem continue without properly addressing it. That’s why it’s essential to pay attention to the signs listed above. When these vital signs are missed, which happens often, the problem worsens with neglect.
Carpenter ants are tiny, so the damage is often unnoticed for long periods of time. It can take them years to cause significant harm, and that means most people remain unaware of the problem. They slowly but surely cause problems, and even though it takes time, ignoring carpenter ant infestation can have serious consequences. When warnings are missed, the damage can go on for years, and a lot of property owners aren’t aware there’s a problem until the worst damage is already done.
When it comes to carpenter ant control, the best thing you can do is get ahead of the problem before it even starts. A good way to do that is to understand what brings them inside your property in the first place.
What is it about your home or business that carpenter ants find so enticing? There are a lot of factors to consider. Remember that carpenter ants gravitate toward damp, weakened wood sources. With that in mind, the following issues make properties vulnerable to carpenter ant activity:
Excessive shade - This can lead to damp conditions near your home’s exterior walls, which will create the ideal conditions for carpenter ants.
Excess moisture - If your home has moisture damage, it is more likely to be attacked by carpenter ants because these invaders prefer damp conditions, as excess moisture helps to drill through wood.
Damaged wood - Any damp, rotting, or water-damaged wood will attract carpenter ants. This includes stumps or dying trees in your yard and piles of wet firewood outside.
Stacked wood - Piles of wood in your yard that are kept close to the foundation increase the risk of multiple interior nests. Also, having a woodshop in your garage or inside your home increases your exposure.
Vegetation - The presence of plants increases the presence of carpenter ant food sources, like aphids, scale insects, and sweet honeydew.
It’s not easy to stay on top of everything, but that’s why Modern Pest Control is here to help you. We are proud to provide comprehensive carpenter ant control services, giving you access to the resources and expertise you need to rid your property of carpenter ant activity.
Effective Ways To Prevent Carpenter Ant Activity
Katy is a hotspot for carpenter ants all year round, and that means local home and business owners are vulnerable to infestation. That’s why it’s important to be proactive in your prevention efforts. Here are some effective ways to prevent carpenter ant activity:
Add sweeps and weather stripping to doors and windows.
Check screens and windows for any gaps, holes, or tears.
Clean up food crumbs and spills as soon as they occur.
Clean your dishes and vacuum regularly.
Close cracks in windows, doors, foundations, paneling, caulk, and utilities.
Eliminate landscaping touching the exterior of the house or building.
Eliminate rot and debris away from your yard.
Ensure that outdoor trash cans have tight-fitting or locking lids.
Fix any faulty pipes, fixtures, and appliances.
Have all leaks fixed, specifically those that are dampening wood.
Inspect potted plants before bringing them inside from the outdoors.
Inspect wood and scan it for signs of ants and other insect activity.
Install a barrier between the lawn and the foundation of structures.
Keep your gutters unclogged and free of debris.
Place plants and free wood two feet away from your property.
Put trash and food in containers with tight lids.
Remove any organic debris, fallen trees, and downed tree limbs.
Replace any water-damaged or rotting wood and eliminate decaying trees.
Routinely clean-out behind and under the oven, fridge, and other appliances.
Store food in sealed containers or in the fridge.
Store trash cans on platforms above the ground.
Take the trash out regularly and keep it sealed.
Trim back trees, bushes, and other vegetation.
By taking these actions, you’ll keep your home or business from being a prime target for carpenter ants. If you do have an infestation on your hands, don't try to get rid of them on your own. The risk of widespread damage just isn’t worth it. Contact Modern Pest Control at the first sign of a problem. We’re ready to treat your property for carpenter ants and keep them out for good.