Most people have probably never heard of carpenter ants, or if they have, they may not know that these ants are considered structural pests due to their habit of excavating wood. When it comes to insects that damage wood, the termite is the first bug that comes to mind, but there exists a few wood-boring ant species as well. Unlike termites, wood-boring ants do not digest wood; instead, these ants excavate dead trees and soft logs in order to nest within them. However, wood-boring ants are similar to termites in that they can build extensive networks of tunnels within relatively soft pieces of natural and processed wood. Also, both termites and carpenter ants cause similar forms of damage to timber-framed structures, but the structural damage caused by carpenter ants is much less severe. Carpenter ant infestations are often noticed after wood shavings are discovered within a home. These wood shavings result from carpenter ants excavating a home’s timber material. Although, termite infestations are notoriously difficult to eradicate, carpenter ant infestations may be even more difficult to eradicate for a variety of reasons.
Carpenter ant colonies do not congregate into one single nest; rather, they establish several satellite nests in addition to one primary nest. The primary nest, which contains the queen, is usually located outdoors within a tree stump, a rotting log, or a wood pile. The satellite nests, which contains workers and babies, are often found within nearby structures. Finding a carpenter ant-infested tree stump in a front yard is usually the first indication that a satellite nest may exist within a home. This means that pest control professionals must locate all carpenter ant nests, especially the primary nest, before a home can be judged as safe from further infestations. Carpenter ants that excavate timber material behind plaster walls do not leave behind wood shavings that can be seen by homeowners, which makes detecting carpenter ant nests particularly difficult. In order to locate all carpenter ant nests within a home, pest control professionals must literally follow individual ants into certain areas. This is often done by placing syrup on the ground in certain areas of a home where carpenter ants were known to have been. Once the ants step into the sugary syrup, they then leave behind tracks. These tracks eventually lead to a nest. This multi-step pest control process makes carpenter ant infestations among the most difficult to eradicate from a home.
Have you ever found a carpenter ant within your home, without falling victim to an infestation?