There are more than 12,000 identified species of ants in the world. They range from the smallest 2 mm ant to the largest 40 mm ant. Thankfully, only a handful of these ant species can make a colony in your home.
So what attracts carpenter ants? Carpenter ants eat sources of protein such as dead and living insects. They’re also attracted to sugars like honeydew, a sweet liquid produced by aphids and scale insects. Carpenter ants don’t eat wood. They eliminate wood as they make tunnels and galleries for nesting.
In this article, we look at the reasons that attract carpenter ants and how to get rid of them effectively.
What are carpenter ants?
Carpenter ants are one of the species that can move in and settle on your property. They are also one of the more dangerous ones. Most other ant species can dig tunnels in sand and earth, but cannot dig through hardwood. Carpenter ants can chop through wood and make passages inside your home’s infrastructure, significantly reducing its structural integrity.
Carpenter ants are one of the larger species of ants that can settle inside a property. A single carpenter ant is about 4 mm to 12 mm long, depending on the subspecies. They can be all black in color, all red or a combination of black and red.
Carpenter ants are sometimes confused with termites because of both types of insect damage wood. The main difference between them is that carpenter ants do not actually eat the wood like termites. They just chew through it and discarding the remnants. You will often find deposits of saw near their colony which is often the first indicator that your home has been invaded by carpenter ants.
The ants dig through the wood creating tunnels and galleries where they lay eggs to raise their young. The damage is usually expensive and getting rid of these ants can be quite tricky because their colonies often run deep within your walls, attic or floorboards.
What attracts carpenter ants?
Carpenter ants do not feed on wood. Just because your walls are built with wood does not mean that it will invite Carpenter ants to come in swarms. These ants need proper food and living conditions to settle in an area. Your home will only attract Carpenter ants if it has a source of food and the right atmosphere for their growth.
Here are a few things that you should be wary of to avoid Carpenter ants:
Food crumbs and leftovers
Carpenter ant colonies cannot thrive without abundant presence. They consume both natural food sources as well as processed and prepared food.
The ants live on all types of foods that have protein and sugar. Pet food left in the bowl or open food containers without lids offers a good meal of protein and sugars. The ants are also attracted by honeydew, a sweet liquid produced by aphids in your garden. If the aphid population grows large in your yard, it will almost always attract these ants.
Carpenter ants forage and gather food both during the day and at night. They are attracted to anything sweet, sticky or meaty. If your garbage can is not sealed properly and there is food leftover in the can, it can quickly attract a large number of ants in a matter of hours.
Moisture and damp areas
Carpenter ants build their colonies in a moist, damp area as it provides the perfect breeding ground for them. Moist, rotting wood becomes soft and easier to chew when building tunnels.
If you have developed a leak in your home and don’t fix it for some time, the water can absorb and settle into the base. This makes the wood damp and moist and creates a mold that can be a perfect diet for these ants.
The Carpenter ant loves areas like doorways and windows where condensation can collect due to cold weather. Bathrooms, kitchens, drains, pipe fixtures, roof vents, and laundry areas can also attract Carpenter ants to move in and settle inside your hope. Make sure to keep these areas free of moisture to prevent the pests from invading your home.
Piles of debris and trash
If you leave firewood outside your home or in the shed and then forget about it, it can also attract the ants. Wooden planks and logs left outdoors get wet in the rain and become a major source of attracting the insects.
Sometimes, a few of these ants are already present in the logs when you buy them. If you bring several pieces of firewood on your property a few carpenter ants can hitch a ride inside your home. The ants may also come from the firewood from your next-door neighbor.
Carpenter ants breeding with the changing seasons
You may have noticed carpenter ants around your property when the seasons change and it gets colder. There is a reason for that.
Normally, the ants breed in the spring or early summer. The female queen lays eggs for a new colony. These eggs hatch and grow into workers within 2 to 3 months. By the end of fall, the ants will have prepared for the winter food shortage.
Some new infestations die out if the workers cannot find food quickly enough for the colony to survive. If the location is suitable and the ants find enough food, they dig in for the winter. Carpenter ants enter a period of dormancy where their body slows down. This is a mechanism for conserving heat and energy to survive through the cold months.
If the area inside your home is warm and moist enough, or if the temperature during the winter is warmer than usual, the carpenter ants may not need to hibernate at all. This gives them an extra season to expand the colony.
Once a new colony is past the survival stage, it is difficult if not impossible to get rid of it. The infestation only gets stronger and bigger with time unless you get expert help from a professional.
Signs of an infestation
Carpenter ants prefer to remain out of view and grow their colonies inside the wooden structure. The only external sign of an infestation is the appearance of worker ants or a swarm in reaction to an attack on their colony.
The only other sign of their presence is the appearance of small hole-like openings on the surface of the wood. The ants use these holes to expel debris, which mostly consists of sawdust and other fragments of insect body parts. A pile of such debris near the holes is a good sign of an active infestation in your home.
Do carpenter ants bite?
These ants have strong jaws that are used to saw through wood and defend the colony. Their bites can cause pain and irritation. The ants may also inject a type of formic acid into the person that they bite which can cause a sensation of burning.
However, the pain subsides after a while and does not pose any significant health threats for most people.
Type of colonies
Carpenter ants create two types of colonies: parent colonies and satellite colonies.
Satellite colonies only consist of workers, larvae, and pupae. These colonies are generally established by workers from an existing parent colony when there is insufficient space for storing food or the eggs. Workers can also establish a colony close to a food source. These colonies are easier to destroy as there is no queen to repopulate them. However, the colony can come back from destruction as long as there is a parent colony nearby to supply them it with eggs.
A parent colony has a full queen, her brood and workers. These colonies are more difficult to get rid of because any loss of workers is replaced by the queen. A single parent colony can create several satellite colonies around it.
How do you get rid of carpenter eggs?
There are a variety of methods used to get rid of carpenter ants. The first step it to prevent the formation and growth of an ant infestation. Make sure that your surrounding property is clear of any debris that can invite carpenter ants to settle around your home. Keep your home dry and clean. Remove any leftover food from your property quickly that can feed the ants.
If you detect any signs of carpenter ants make sure the removal process involves both ant baiting and insecticide spray. Baits are taken by the worker ants to their colony. It kills the queen and affects the larvae and pupae’s ability to grow into adults.
Give at least 2 to 3 days for the bait to take effect before you spray the colony with anti ant spray. This will kill off the remaining workers.
Are carpenter ants dangerous? Carpenter ants don’t spread diseases or illnesses, Nonetheless, they could be harmful. The threat with carpenter ants comes in the simple fact that they make their nests in wood. Should they choose your house for their own nest, they could cause serious structural damage.
How do you kill carpenter ants in a tree? First, find the carpenter ant colony at the shrub or tree. Then, assess at which spot the carpenter ants input their colony to find out the entry of the colony and employ a liquid or dust insecticide. You can also place lure systems around the rotting shrub as an alternate process to killing carpenter ants on a tree or shrub. Finally, ensure you eliminate the rotting shrub.
Are all big black ants carpenter ants? People sometimes presume every large black ant is a carpenter ant, that may bring an instantaneous fear; nonetheless, not all large black ants are carpenter ants. To be able to identify them correctly, all of you want to know is a a little bit about the different types of ants.