What Should I Do About Carpenter Ants Around My Pearland Home?
If you have been around children, you know they have many questions, and those questions evolve as they grow older. Young children ask exploratory questions, which can be embarrassing. As they grow older, the questions become more defiant. It seems the favorite question of teenagers is; why? Questions are a necessary part of the learning and maturation process.
After years of schooling and maturing into adulthood, we still have many questions because no one can know everything. Although our question-asking may not be as erratic as a young child's, we ask questions when faced with a situation that demands answers. At Modern Pest Control, we understand that most people don't spend their lives thinking about pests as we do, and many have questions. One creature that generates many questions is the carpenter ant. People ask us; how do you identify a carpenter ant apart from other ants; why is it called a "carpenter ant," and are carpenter ants dangerous? In this article, we answer those questions and provide you with the information to combat an invasion of carpenter ants.
If you found this article because you need pest control in Pearland, Modern Pest Control is your answer. In 1952 Bill and Ruth Brashier began our independent company to offer personalized pest control with a holistic approach. We are proud to be one of a small percentage of pest control companies in the United States to be honored as a QualityPro pest control company. Our Texas Department of Agriculture licensed pest management professionals undergo continual training and are the best in the industry. When you call our team at Modern Pest Control, you can count on quality service backed by decades of experience.
Please continue reading to get answers to questions about carpenter ants so you can make decisions that are best for you.
What Do Carpenter Ants Look Like?
Before we get into the specifics of carpenter ants, let's start with the general characteristics of these creatures. Carpenter ants in Pearland are insects with six legs, a three-part body consisting of a head, thorax, and abdomen, two clubbed antennae, and two compound eyes. Like all insects, they have an external skeleton called an exoskeleton. They discard this exterior shell through a process known as molting each time they progress through a growth stage or instar.
Some insects, like wasps, bees, and hornets, have wings while others do not, and carpenter ants are no exception. Some carpenter ants have wings, while others are wingless. You may wonder which carpenter ants have wings and why some have additional appendages. Let's continue exploring these creatures to get the answers to those questions.
Carpenter ants are usually black or red, but they may also have a combination of the two colors. Carpenter ants are social insects that create massive colonies of 10,000 to 50,000 or more members. Inside each nest is a queen ant whose sole purpose is to produce eggs and grow the nest. Assisting the queen are female, sterile, wingless worker ants. These 3/8 to 1/2-inch worker carpenter ants are responsible for the upkeep of the nest by constructing new tunnels, defending the group against predators, foraging for food, and taking care of the queen, the newly-hatched larvae, and pupae. About 10% to 15% of worker carpenter ants search for food outside the nest, so if you see these ants, you are witnessing only a fraction of nest members.
When the colony has grown to 2,000 to 3,000 workers, which requires several years, the queen produces winged male and female carpenter ants, known as swarmers. Termite queens also create flying termites, so how can you tell the difference? If you compare the two, you will notice that the front wings of flying carpenter ants are longer than the rear wings, whereas the four wings on reproductive flying termites are the same length and are longer than their bodies. Furthermore, carpenter ant swarmers have yellowish wings; flying termites have white wings.
These reproductive carpenter ant swarmers on your Pearland property hatch in the summer, mature during the winter months, and fly from the nest in the springtime. When temperatures rise in the spring, the 3/4-inch swarmers leave the nest and mate. Once they mate, the male ants die, and the females search for a suitable nesting location.
Rotting, fungus-infest in a decaying log, tree stump, or tree provides the perfect solution for a future nest. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not consume wood for nutrition. Why do carpenter ant swarmers want to create nests in damp, rotting wood? Unlike other ants that construct nests in the soil, carpenter ants build nests by boring smooth tunnels in softwoods. Like other ant species, these ants eat carbohydrates and protein. Outside, dead insects, small invertebrates, and honeydew provide nutritional needs. When carpenter ants infest a house, they find food sources from crumbs and open garbage containers inside the home. Worker carpenter ants emerge from their wood nests at night to forage between 10:00 pm and 2:00 am.
If you see flying carpenter ants or carpenter ants in trees in the yard, you need Modern Pest Control to come to your rescue. Termites and carpenter ants are destructive; removal is necessary to prevent future or ongoing damage.
How Bad Is It To Have Carpenter Ants In My House?
Carpenter ants in your house are problematic. Before we discuss why it is troublesome to have carpenter ants in your Pearland home, we need to identify the signs of an infestation. These are indicators that you have an issue with carpenter ants:
Swamers in the springtime
Presence of worker carpenter ants
Sawdust-looking piles outside pinholes in wood
Rustling sounds inside walls
We've already discussed the activities of swarmers and workers, but what about the sawdust-looking piles? Carpenter ants do not consume wood, then return to the nest and regurgitate it to feed the colony members like termites. Instead, they transport the excavated wood shavings to the exterior of the tunnels. If you see carpenter ant frass in your home, you may want to try to listen for the ants. When a carpenter ant colony of thousands is inside walls, it is possible to hear them working if you use a stethoscope or inverted glass.
If you see these signs of carpenter ants in your Pearland home, you need to know that you do not have a problem with only one nest. A carpenter ant colony inside a structure is almost always a satellite nest originating from a nearby primary nest. Tree stumps, rotting fence posts, decaying landscaping timbers, firewood stacks in contact with the ground, and stones in damp locations are prime real estate for an outdoor carpenter ant nest.
Satellite nests form when the original colony matures, and the queen produces swarmers that search for similar nearby locations. If the springtime flying ants sense odor from damp softwood in a crawl space, basement, or underneath a wooden porch or deck, they will settle and begin a satellite colony.
Although it takes years for a carpenter ant colony to mature, once thousands are daily boring tunnels, it can cause structural problems similar to termites. If not stopped, carpenter ant infestations can eventually cause sagging floors, ceilings, warping window and door frames, and collapsing structures.
Indications of carpenter ants in your Pearland house mean you have a sizeable nest of worker ants boring holes deep into the wood inside your home. When you see these signs, you need the help of an independent company that has removed carpenter ants from Pearland area homes for over seven decades; Modern Pest Control.
What's The Best Way To Get Rid Of Carpenter Ants?
When you see signs of carpenter ants in your house, the natural question is, how do I get these ants out of my house before they cause significant damage? Most homeowner policies will not cover the repair costs for replacing floor joists, support beams, or other structures weakened by carpenter ant tunnels. Therefore, you must get these pests out of your home as quickly as possible to prevent future damage.
Carpenter ant treatment from Modern Pest Control starts with an interior and exterior investigation. A trained and licensed pest management professional will survey your property to identify attractants and the primary nest location. We will also look for attractants and entry points inside the house for satellite nests. Because carpenter ants are not the only wood-boring pests to invade homes, we will investigate for signs to identify the cause of the infestation so we can treat the problem appropriately.
Once we pinpoint the problem, we use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies to end the infestation. This environmentally-sensitive and safety-conscious method addresses not only the issue but the cause of the infestation and future prevention techniques. We use treatment products judiciously based on the pest and the type of infestation. We use only licensed and trained pest management professionals who undergo continual education so they can be current with the latest innovations and application techniques.
When you contact Modern Pest Control to remove black carpenter ants in your home, you can rest assured that you are using a company that is the best in the business, has a proven track record and decades of experience, and employs the highest quality personnel.
How Do I Prevent Carpenter Ants From Coming Back?
When a trained pest management professional investigates your home and creates and implements a strategic plan to eradicate carpenter ants in your house, you want to take action to ensure they don't return. To avoid carpenter ant damage to your home, implement the following to keep them away:
Provide drainage on the property
Eliminate sources of standing water
Remove rotting wood around the house
Replace decaying fence posts and landscaping timbers
Wrap wood in contact with the soil
Elevate and relocate firewood
Ensure water from gutters drain away from the house
Prune tree branches and shrubs away from the structure
Slope dirt away from the foundation
Seal cracks and gaps in exterior walls
Cover crevices at the bottom of doors and around windows
Repair leaky pipes in the crawl space
Install a dehumidifier in the crawl space or basement
Close exterior and interior garbage containers
Vacuum the house regularly
Wipe eating and cooking surfaces after meals
Most of these suggestions are self-explanatory, but let's walk through each one just to be safe. Standing water causes wood rot, so eliminating standing water around fences, landscaping timbers, and the house keeps wood dry and solid. The same reality holds for the wood underneath the house. Repairing leaking pipes and installing a dehumidifier if there is not good airflow from the vents are ways to ensure support beams and other timber in the crawl space and basement stay solid and impenetrable for carpenter ants.
Because firewood on the ground traps moisture causing wood rot, elevate the stacks to allow airflow and remove the piles at least 20 feet from the house. Remove wood scraps, fallen branches, and dead trees to minimize nesting location options. Carpenter ants use tree branches and shrubs touching the house as bridges, so pruning them away from the structure limits access and allows for better airflow and sunlight penetration.
When you seal cracks and gaps, use a silicon-based caulk. Cover openings between incoming pipes and wires; apply sealant around outdoor utility boxes and window and door frames. Since carpenter ants are omnivores who eat almost anything they can find inside a home, maintaining a clean house will discourage them from remaining in the home. These prevention tips will keep other insects from invading the property. Since carpenter ants feed on dead insects, this helps to reduce enticements to your Pearland property.
When you contact Modern Pest Control to get rid of carpenter ants, our pest management specialists will assist with additional tips to keep carpenter ants away from your Pearland home once we end the infestation. Contact us today to learn more about our pest control plans and service guarantees and to schedule your free, no-obligation inspection. Call now; don't allow carpenter ants more opportunities to harm your house.