Carpenter Ants Can Be Costly
Carpenter ant damage can be extensive.

ABOUT CARPENTER ANTS



Carpenter ants are encountered throughout the Bucks County area.  With their habit of nest building inside wooden structures, carpenter ants are a destructive pest that must be controlled. Ignoring these infestations allows the colony to multiply and widen the area of destruction, which may require property owners to make significant, expensive repairs.

DIY carpenter ant control methods are ineffective. This is because the treatment is not powerful enough or because it is not used correctly. Inexpert application may only push the colony to delve deeper into the structure, causing even more damage.

The sensible alternative is to hire a qualified pest management professional to exterminate the colony with effective treatments and the employment of exclusionary techniques.

APPEARANCE



Carpenter ants are among the largest species of ant found in Bucks County. Adults may measure between six and 18 mm, with queens sometimes reaching as much as 20 mm. Generally a uniform black, some carpenter ants also may be red or a combination of black and red. Some members of the colony, who are capable of reproduction, are equipped with wings.

DIET



Like other species of ants, carpenter ants require proteins and sugars. Living and dead insects are a frequent source of food, and this means that the carpenter ant can provide a useful service in nature. Moreover, carpenter ants eat the honeydew that is secreted by aphids and scale insects.

Protein and sugar frequently are eaten by people, which means that many human foods are attractive to carpenter ants. This provides yet another incentive for carpenter ants to establish a nest inside buildings. Foods that are most vulnerable to carpenter ants include all forms of meat, fruits, vegetables, juices, sodas, honey, desserts and pet food.

HABITATS



Carpenter ants burrow into wood to construct their complex nests. Typically, these nests are situated in fallen, dying or rotting trees. This type of wood is preferred because it is softer and allows for easier tunneling. Carpenter ants also look for wood that is perpetually wet or has been damaged by water because this also makes nest-building less troublesome.

When wet, damaged or rotting wood is found on buildings, carpenter ants view it as an invitation. Whether it is a fence, deck, siding or overhang, they are adept at seeking and exploiting unfinished or vulnerable wood. Nests have been discovered in out-of-the-way spots like crawl spaces, basements and attics as well as in wooden furniture, curtain rods and window and door frames. Beneath the subfloor in a kitchen or bathroom, which may mean extra moisture, also are likely spots to find a carpenter ant nest.

PROBLEMS WITH CARPENTER ANTS



Carpenter ant colonies, which may contain as many as 50,000 individuals, are always foraging for food sources. With a keen sense of smell, colony workers find and exploit food that may be up to 100 yards away from their colony. The female workers leave behind a trail of pheromones to tell other colony members where they are going. When they find food and return to the nest, they apply more pheromones to the trail. This makes it possible for other workers to make use of the food source.

Carpenter ants are persistent, and they will continue to follow this pheromone trail for as long as possible. Failing to eliminate this trail, which is a common problem in DIY treatment methods, means that carpenter ants can still find their way to food.

Wherever they go, carpenter ants also leave a trail of bacteria and germs, any of which may make people sick. Food that is prepared on surfaces where ants have been may become contaminated. Similarly, stored food that has been exploited by carpenter ants may be contaminated. Eating this food may cause food poisoning.

Even more threatening is the property damage for which carpenter ants are responsible. The large size of the colonies makes it necessary to continuously expand and improve upon the nest. Left untreated, an infestation can be responsible for thousands of dollars in property damage.

BEHAVIOR



Carpenter ants thrive in underground and sheltered places. This ensures that most of their activity goes unnoticed by people and predators. While they may be most active in the spring and summer, it is possible for carpenter ants to survive, and even be active during, the winter. This is especially true with the case of nests built in human habitations as these provide additional warmth.

In the spring or early summer, the winged swarmers emerge from the nest, hoping to mate and establish new colonies. When thousands of these pests fly into the air next to or even inside a home, it alerts the human occupants to the presence of these harmful insects.

HEALTH ISSUES



While carpenter ants are not known to spread illness through bites or stings, they are still a threat to health. Using their antennae, which are equipped with incredibly strong smell sensors, carpenter ants range far from their nest to find food. It is not unusual for them to walk through sewers, garbage cans, roads, animal carcasses and other unwholesome places. Then, they immediately enter human habitations, spreading filth across kitchen and bathroom surfaces as well as in stored food. People whose homes are infested with carpenter ants may find themselves subject to bouts of violent food poisoning.

Additionally, carpenter ants may pose a threat to people who have compromised respiratory systems. Their tunneling releases particles of wood into the air, which can become irritants to people with asthma, allergies and similar conditions.

SIGNS OF A CARPENTER ANT INFESTATION



Property owners who see these symptoms may need carpenter ant control:

• Tiny sawdust piles found inside or outside buildings
• Thousands of flying ants suddenly appearing in the spring
• Seeing wooden surfaces damaged with small holes

PREVENTION TIPS



Carpenter ant infestations are less likely when these steps are taken:

Eliminate clutter from around foundations and from attics and basements
Ensure that all wood on the property is painted or stained
Keep woodpiles several feet away from buildings
Repair water leaks immediately upon discovery

CARPENTER ANT CONTROL



An inspection by a licensed exterminator is the only means to accurately determine the extent of a carpenter infestation.

Every year, home and business owners across Bucks County are forced to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs for damage that caused by carpenter ants.

If you suspect you may have a problem with carpenter ants contact SafeGuard Pest Control LLC. Our trained technicians will provide accurate species identification, identify entry points, and implement the best treatment methods for complete eradication, including drilling, sealing, and use of specialized dusts and sprays.
SafeGuard Pest Control, LLC.
A Division Of Newtown Termite & Pest Control, Inc.
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