When you think of pests that threaten your home’s structural integrity, termites are probably the first thing that comes to mind. But did you know they’re not the only pest that destroys wood? There are actually several different wood-boring pests you have to watch out for in and around your home. Carpenter ants are another biggie besides termites, sometimes giving even termites a run for their money in the destruction they cause. Let’s take a look at what carpenter ants are, how to spot and prevent them, and what to do if you wind up with them.
Carpenter Ants – Why Do They Carve Wood
Unlike termites, which actually eat wood, carpenter ants in Sycamore only cut wood to live in it. Even so, they build vast, intricate nests inside the wood in which they decide to make their homes. These nests have hallways and nurseries and food storage facilities and cavernous common areas, meaning carpenter ants can inflict serious damage on your home without ever consuming a bite of it.
One of the good pieces of news about carpenter ants is since they don’t eat wood, they have to leave their nests in search of a meal. This means you might notice a carpenter ant infestation earlier than a termite infestation because you may see the worker ants out and about looking for food. Carpenter ants like sugars and proteins, meaning things like open cookie containers, pet food bowls, fruit plates, etc. will attract them. They’ll also eat things found in nature, like honeydew from aphids or the bodies of dead insects, but if the food in your home is easier to access, they won’t hesitate to take advantage.
This means one of the best ways to prevent these ants is to make food sources difficult to access. To mask the smells of food:
Keep foods either in the fridge or in tightly sealed containers.
Don’t leave pet foods or bowls sitting out. Feed pets and cover or clean their bowls after.
Tightly cover garbage containers and take out the trash often.
Don’t leave dirty dishes lying around.
Signs Of Carpenter Ants
Seeing carpenter ants doesn’t necessarily mean you have an infestation. Since these ants have to travel for food, they might wander in from outside if you leave a pie on your windowsill or something like that, so running across the occasional large, black ant with huge mandibles isn’t always cause for concern. However, if you start seeing these ants frequently or in large numbers, it’s a sign you need to start looking for other issues.
Carpenter ants build their nests in wood, so many of the signs you have an infestation will have to do with the damage they cause or their construction activities. Besides seeing carpenter ants, you might also notice things like:
Piles of sawdust: carpenter ants don’t eat wood, so they’ll push a lot of wood shavings out of their nests as they carve them.
Rustling or scratching sounds inside walls.
Ants crawling in or out of holes inside your structure.
Wood damage such as ill-fitting doors or windows, sagging ceilings, warped walls, or bucked floorboards.
What To Do If You Get Carpenter Ants
Because carpenter ants are so destructive, if you do wind up with an infestation, it's best to call in the experts before ant damage becomes too severe. Here at Pest Control Consultants, our family has been providing effective, customer-focused pest solutions to Northern Illinois residents for three generations! Our certified technicians have the tools and the chops to make sure your carpenter ant problem becomes a former carpenter ant problem – and stays that way. So give us a call at Pest Control Consultants at (815) 427-1211 or visit our contact page to schedule your appointment today.