Controlling carpenter ants in the residential environment is a combination of good inspection technique and knowing where to look. The hard part about controlling carpenter ants is not exterminating the colony, but rather finding it. This article will give a short overview of where to look and what to do once you have found the colony.
There are several species of carpenter ant, but in general the common denominator for them all is moisture. When starting a search for a carpenter ant colony I always assume that the colony is nesting within the structure. The first thing I do is an inspection to the exterior perimeter of the home. I’m looking for several key situations:
1. Foraging ants
2. Moisture areas
3. Overhanging and touching trees
Finding foraging ants is the holy grail of carpenter ant control as sometimes it’s possible to follow a worker ant back to where it came from. Occasionally this search will lead to a main colony on the exterior perimeter of the home and other times it will give you insight as to where they may be gaining access into the structure. Also, while inspecting the exterior take notice of moisture areas. The most vulnerable areas where ants are likely to gain access are at window frames, door frames, improperly installed areas of flashing, chimney frames and areas at the gutter and roof line. The gutter and roof line inspection is especially important as overhanging and touching trees may give direct access to an area where the gutter has allowed moisture into the structure either from ice damming or overflow.
Next you will want to do an interior inspection. The interior inspection is really only a confirmation of what was found on the exterior. For instance, if during your exterior inspection you find water damage at a window frame. This window may be an area where ants are nesting. Ask your self these questions:
1. Do i see ants in this room?
2. Do i see frass (this is the name of the sawdust carpenter ants create) at the window frame?
Answering yes to the second question means you have found the colony and your control procedures should focus on that window.
Once you have found the colony you must identify where they are in the window frame. For the purpose of this article I’m assuming they are in the window header (located at the top of the window) the control procedure would be to drill holes through the drywall and apply a pesticide (preferably a dust) directly into the drilled holes. You’ll know if you got to the colony because you will immediately see ants coming out or you’ll hear a characteristic “crackling” noise artisan couvreur Yvelines.
Ant control is difficult even for a trained professional, but remembering the following keys to their biology will help you rid your home of this annoying and sometimes destructive pest.
1. They thrive on moisture, all moisture areas are suspect.
2. Following live ants back to where they came from is a simple technique that even a pro uses.
3. Know carpenter ants can forage 300 ft from their colony.
4. Frass which is similar to pencil sharpener shavings is a key indicator of a colony location.
5. Seeing ants with wings is a sure sign of an interior colony.
6. Carpenter ants will nest behind insulation in the basement of new construction even with no moisture.
In conclusion, if you are completely puzzled as to where your ants are coming from you would be wise to call a professional. These ants do damage to homes every year that is both expensive to repair and avoidable. Television commercials would have the general public believe that just spraying the baseboards of a home with a pesticide will stop a carpenter ant problem. Unfortunately, ants are a formidable opponent that you may need help with from a professional. As is the case with most things it’s sometimes not as easy as it looks.