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What Attracts Carpenter Ants?

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.

This article looks 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 larger species 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 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 discard 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 tricky because their colonies often run deep within your walls, attic, or floorboards.

Do Carpenter Ants Bite?

These ants have strong jaws that are used to see 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 they bite, which can cause a burning sensation.

However, the pain subsides after a while and does not pose significant health threats for most people.

What Attracts Carpenter Ants?

Carpenter ants do not feed on wood. Just because your walls are built with wood does not mean 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:

1. 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 a bowl or open 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 left over in the can, it can quickly attract many ants in a matter of hours.

2. 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 pests from invading your home.

3. Piles of Debris and Trash.

Leaving firewood outside your home or shed and then forgetting about it can also attract ants. Wooden planks and logs left outdoors get wet in the rain and become a major source of attracting insects.

Sometimes, a few of these ants are already 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 of your next-door neighbor.

Signs of a Carpenter Ant 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 debris near the holes is a good sign of an active infestation in your home.

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 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, getting rid of it is difficult, if not impossible. The infestation only gets stronger and bigger with time unless you get expert help from a professional.

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 eggs. Workers can also establish a colony close to a food source. These colonies are easier to destroy as no queen can repopulate them. However, the colony can come back from destruction if there is a parent colony nearby to supply 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 Ants?

Carpenter ants can cause damage to your home if they’re left unchecked, so it’s important to take steps to control them.

Here are some tips on how to get rid of carpenter ants:

1. Remove Sources of Moisture.

Carpenter ants are attracted to moisture, so it’s important to eliminate any water sources in your home. Fix any leaks, and make sure your gutters are clean and debris-free.

2. Use Baits and Traps.

There are several baits and traps available that can help you get rid of carpenter ants. Place these near areas where you’ve seen the ants, and check them regularly to see if they’ve been successful.

3. Hire a Professional.

If you’re having trouble getting rid of carpenter ants, you may need to hire a professional pest control company. They can help you identify the source of the problem and develop a plan to get rid of the ants.

How Do You Get Rid of Carpenter Ant 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 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’ eggs, ensure the removal process involves 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.

FAQs in Relation to What Attracts Carpenter Ants

Why do carpenter ants suddenly appear?

If there is a sudden increase in the availability of these resources, carpenter ants may suddenly appear in greater numbers.

What is the fastest way to get rid of carpenter ants?

Finding and removing the nest is the fastest way to get rid of carpenter ants.

What scent keeps carpenter ants away?

There is no one scent that will keep carpenter ants away, but there are certain scents that they are attracted to. Some of these include citrus, cinnamon, and mint.

How do you stop carpenter ants from coming into your house?

You can stop carpenter ants from entering your house by sealing up any cracks or crevices they may use to enter, removing any sources of food or water they may be attracted to, and using ant baits or traps.