Carpenter ants are a tiny nuisance that can evolve over time into an annoying and aggressive destroyer of wood. What wood? The wood in your house of course! This includes the foundation of your house, beams inside your walls and sometimes sections of your front or back porch. It’s a common misconception that carpenter ants are similar to termites and are feasting on wood but that’s totally incorrect.
If you’ve ever seen an ant farm you know that ants love to burrow and create a tiny little community of tunnels and rooms that they use to as shelter and also to store food, building materials, eggs, juvenile ants, and of course, the queen. Carpenter ants aren’t out to get you and aren’t on a mission to torment human beings, to them, a nice porch or foundation is simply as appealing as an old tree stump or pile of rotten logs. They don’t know the difference, they are just doing what they do so don’t take it personally.
You will need to learn how to get rid of carpenter ants immediately once you determine they’ve taken up residence or seem to be around your property a bit too much. Here’s the information you need to tackle this problem head on.
Identifying Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants look like your basic little black and it’s relatively hard to tell them from similar species at first glance. During the spring you can usually tell these little creatures because many “swarmer” type ants are around. These guys have wings and fly around looking for mates before finding a place to settle down. Queens fall into this category until they mate then they land and their wings come off to prep them for egg laying and establishing a nest. Keep an eye out for the flyers and know what carpenter ants look like. The male flyers are a lot more common to see and are smaller than the queens.
A common way to notice you have carpenter ants around is also to look for “frass”. This appears like tiny piles of sawdust where the ants have decided to start burrowing. It’s very easy to see luckily but it’s also a sign they’ve already begun building their home so you’ll need to act fast.
You can get an up close and personal view of them here at the University of Minnesota Carpenter Ant Identification page.
Getting Rid of These Carpenter Ants
Now that you know a little more about them, it’s time to take the next step and give them a permanent eviction. To do this, you can pick and choose from a wide variety of products on the market today. Some are old-school chemicals that work great but are often frowned upon due to what’s in them and some are non-toxic sprays or gels that do double duty as carpenter ant killers and repellents.
You should spend a bit of time checking with friends and family who have dealt with carpenter ants, or consulting product manufacturers before making a permanent decision. Take into account people who live with you, pets and plants.
Calling an exterminator to take care of this problem for you can be effective and save a lot of time as they will get rid of the problem immediately with very effective methods.