Why Carpenter Ants Thrive In Houston Year-Round
In other parts of the United States, carpenter ants take a break in the winter. That's because cold weather causes carpenter ants to seal themselves inside their nests and go into a low-energy state. This is not a hibernation sleep. There is no biological clock involved. As soon as it warms up, those ants will become active again. But here in Houston, it doesn't generally get cold enough for carpenter ants to grow dormant. Therefore, Houston is a hotspot for carpenter ant all year round. And that is not something any homeowner needs!
There are many ants that get into our Houston homes and they each bring their own set of problems. Some ants spread harmful bacteria. Some ants cause painful itchy bite wounds. And some cause damage to our homes. Carpenter ants fall into that last category.
How destructive are carpenter ants, really? How much damage carpenter ants can do is reliant on many factors:
- If your home has moisture damage, it is more likely to be damaged by carpenter ants because these ants attack rotting or water-damaged wood first. And not only is damp, rotting wood an attractant for carpenter ants, it is also an ideal location for them to establish a nest. Once inside the rotting wood, these ants can move on to sound timbers within your home.
- If your home has excessive shade, it can lead to damp conditions near the exterior walls of your home. It is important to trim back tree branches and overgrown foliage to allow the sunlight to dry the areas around your foundation perimeter.
- If your home has obstructed gutters or a broken gutter system, it can cause your perimeter to become damp. This will create the ideal conditions for carpenter ants.
- If you stack wood near your home, you'll have carpenter ants in close proximity and increase your chances of multiple interior nests.
- If you have lots of plants on your property, you'll likely have a lot of carpenter ants. These ants feed on aphids, scale insects, and the sweet honeydew they both create, and these insects gather around plants.
- If you have stumps or dying trees in your yard, the carpenter ant population on your property will be higher. Ant the more ants you have, the more mouths you'll have chewing on the wood of your property.
- If you have a woodshop in your garage or inside your home, it is possible for carpenter ants to invade and go undetected. When those ants push frass out into a room that already has sawdust, it can be concealed. The longer these ants are allowed to infest a home, the more damage they can do.
- If you have an outbuilding, shed, or a secluded area in your home that you don't visit often, these ants can do more damage. As a carpenter ant nest matures, flying ants emerge from their colonies to establish more nests. These flying ants can give you the warning you need to take action and take measures to eliminate those carpenter ants. But, when this vital sign is missed, which often happens, the damage can go on for years.
While carpenter ants aren't considered as destructive as termites, they can be under the right circumstances. When they find a home with lots of food and lots of options for harborage that provides the most, shady conditions they need to invade, they can do a lot of damage.
The worst case scenario when it comes to carpenter ants is allowing them to remain untreated. When you see signs of an infestation, it is important to take action immediately:
- If you spot a big black ant crawling around inside your home every once in a while, don't wait to get your home inspected until you see more. Carpenter ants are mostly nocturnal and you aren't likely to see them active inside your home, even if you have a severe infestation. That one ant could be a warning sign of a major nest in your home!
- If you see winged ants crawling around inside or outside your home, don't just vacuum them up and shrug them off. Those winged ants are a sign that an already mature nest is about to replicate itself.
- If you see big black ants crawling around near your foundation walls, don't assume they haven't gotten in yet. Have a pest control professional come take a look.
Don't let a carpenter ant infestation threaten your equity. For assistance with carpenter ants and other harmful pests in Houston, reach out to us at Modern Pest Control!