Carpenter Ants In Fall Can Mean Trouble
Ants are the top nuisance pests in the United States, with more than 700 species in existence. The carpenter ant, the largest of all common ant species, is the most damaging. Although the carpenter ant is generally at its most active during the summer months, the presence of the winged black insects in your home during fall can indicate that you have an indoor nest that can put you at risk for serious structural damage to your home.
The most obvious characteristic of a carpenter ant is the presence of wings (but they don’t have them at all stages). Worker ants can range in length from 1/4 inch to 5/8 inch, but a queen carpenter ant can be as large as an inch long. Carpenter ants are brown, black or reddish. Unlike termites, which eat the wood they infest, carpenter ants chew through it to create tunnels to build their nests. When carpenter ants nest indoors in structures, they look for enclosed spaces with wet or damp wood. They can be found near excessively moist wood around windows, chimneys, sinks, showers, dishwashers, pipes and roofs. It can be difficult to tell if you have damage from carpenter ants because, many times, there are no external signs, but sawdust might be present around areas where carpenter ants are nesting.
If you saw carpenter ants in your home this summer, it doesn’t mean you have an infestation, but it could mean that you have carpenter ants nesting outdoors that could potentially seek entry to your home. The key to preventing carpenter ants indoors is fixing leaks or drainage issues, then replacing wet, damaged or molding wood. The presence of carpenter ants indoors this time of year, however, is a sign that you already have a nest indoors.
Locating the nest and treating it directly with an insecticide registered for use on carpenter ants, such as Spectracide Terminate® Termite & Carpenter Ant Killer, is the best method for control. If you’re having trouble finding the nest, narrow it down to the rooms where the most carpenter ants are found and treat all exposed wood.