Most ant species are relatively harmless, in that they are nuisance pests, and the worst they do is contaminate food and then some species might sting you if disturbed. It's different with Carpenter ants. They can inflict serious, expensive damage to your Kingwood home if left untreated.
There are some things you can do to help prevent them, but the best advice you can hear in relation to Carpenter ants is to call a pest control company as soon as you notice them on your property.
Carpenter Ants (Camponotus)
Carpenter ants are a large ant species native to several forested parts of the world--there are about 14 different species of them in Texas alone. They can build nests inside wood after they've excavated galleries in the wood, chewing with their mandibles. They prefer dead and/or damp, rotting wood. They can damage homes similar to the way termites do LINK to termites article, but they don't consume wood like termites. They discard sawdust-like material as they go excavating.
Carpenter ants usually measure from 3/8" to 1/2" in length, though one species is only about 3/16" in length. These ants have a "waist" with one node and a thorax (area behind their head) that is evenly rounded from the side view. Their workers are usually red/black to completely black or red and black, though even within the same species, sizes of major and minor ant workers are known to vary somewhat in size.
Queens and male Carpenter ants are larger than workers and they feature wings. Queens can measure up to an inch in length, and will lose their wings once they start building a new colony.
How to Prevent Carpenter Ants
The best thing you can do to prevent Carpenter ants indoors is to eliminate damp conditions. Try the following:
- Do what you can to replace damp and/or moisture-damaged wood. The less of this there is, the fewer Carpenter ants will be attracted.
- Make sure stored wood or lumber in your garage or basement is off the ground and well ventilated to keep it dry.
- Keep firewood as far away from your home as possible (at least 20 feet).
- Remove the stumps and roots of trees and shrubs from your yard.
- Keep branches that touch your home, roof, and eaves trimmed (trees and shrubs). This will remove a bridge ants often use to get inside your home.
- Also trim branches back from electrical lines, as Carpenter ants can travel from these branches to electrical lines, and then get into your home.
- Keep you lawn mowed, and keep cracks, crevices, and holes around your home's exterior sealed with caulk or spackle. Screen over pipe/cable entry points.
- You can spot treat for ants indoors with a good home bug spray, but you won't be addressing the source of the problem. It can also be helpful to treat around the outside of your home regularly with a yard bug spray.
There are definitely preventive steps you can implement to help protect your home from Carpenter ants, but there is no foolproof DIY methodology to keep them away for good. The best method to control them is to apply pesticide directly into their hidden nests, and this is best done by a professional. Remember, if you see Carpenter ant activity in or around your home, call a pest control company immediately! You will save yourself plenty of time, stress, and money by calling our Kingwood, TX pest control experts today. Let us help you protect your home and get your yard and house Carpenter ant free so you can enjoy the summer with your family and friends!