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Carpenter ants can damage a home

SAN DIEGO COUNTY – Carpenter ants can be a nuisance to many people and can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to homes. Identifying and treating carpenter ants can prevent financial consequences from this invading pest.

Many times carpenter ant damage is mistaken for damage caused by termites. While the two insects can both wreak havoc to the structures of a home, identifying the difference between the pests’ damage can aid in exterminating the offending insect.

Carpenter ants do not eat the wood they inhabit. Rather, they tunnel through soft woods creating caverns where they nest and lay eggs. Tunnels created by carpenter ants will be smooth and free of debris, called “frass.” Wood that has been damaged by termites will be rugged and potentially filled with sawdust shavings or mud.

Moisture is the friend of carpenter ants. Moist wood is especially susceptible to damage from these ants. Rotting tree trunks, stumps, or roots are often infested with carpenter ants. However, healthy, hard, dry wood is more difficult for carpenter ants to channel through. Therefore, eliminating moisture from the home is one way to keep these insects from setting up nests indoors.

Much like termites, carpenter ants will swarm in the spring to establish new nests. It is not uncommon to see winged ants in search of a new roost. If winged queens are repeatedly found indoors, this is a good indication that there is a nest inside of the home.

There are ways to reduce carpenter ant numbers indoors. Initially, make sure any sources of damp wood are eradicated.

If wood is routinely stored indoors, as is the case for firewood, elevate it to provide ample air circulation. Promptly remove tree and shrub stumps and roots around the home. Also trim back any branches that overhang a home.

Carpenter ants feed on insects and sweet nectars. Reducing food sources in the home and promptly cleaning up any spills can help prevent the ants from seeking out sweet sources inside.

If carpenter ants prove to be troublesome foes, consult with an exterminator who can assess the situation and propose a treatment option. If carpenter ants are merely found outdoors doing their job as nature’s wood decomposers, leave them be.

 

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