How To Prevent Carpenter Ants From Infesting And Damaging Structural Wood Within Homes
Many carpenter ant species can be found throughout the United States, but not all are pests in homes. Much like termites, carpenter ants damage structural wood within homes. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not consume natural or structural wood sources; instead, the ants tunnel through wood for nesting purposes, which often results in costly damage. Carpenter ants are most notable for the substantial degree of damage that they can inflict to timber-framed structures, but they are also the largest group of ants in the world in terms of body size. The most economically damaging carpenter ant species in the United States, Camponotus pennsylvanicus, can be found in Pennsylvania, just as its name suggests.
Camponotus pennsylvanicus is more commonly known as the “black carpenter ant,” and this species is somewhat beneficial in the natural environment, as they contribute to the decomposition of dead and decaying trees. In the wild, black carpenter ants nest in tree hollows, tree stumps and logs, but the large-sized and jet black worker carpenter ants forage long distances which often brings them into homes in search of food. In these cases, carpenter ants can be nuisance home invaders, but they are likely to nest within structural and cosmetic wood sources on the exterior and interior of homes, making them economically significant insect pests. Black carpenter ants prefer to infest structural wood with high moisture levels, and they typically avoid excavating dry sound structural wood sources. In addition to infesting structural woods, black carpenter ants often damage foamed plastic insulation boards, and homes located near wooded areas are at the greatest risk of becoming infested with these ant pests.
Black carpenter ants can be difficult to eradicate from homes due to their habit of establishing multiple nests in homes. Infestations are often indicated by the indoor presence of large black ants that measure a half an inch in length, but sometimes, carpenter ants invade homes from outside nests in order to locate food sources like meats and sugary foods. If a large number of winged reproductive carpenter ants are found along inside window sills, then at least one indoor nest is highly likely to exist. In order to prevent carpenter ants from venturing into a home, loose wood, like tree branches and logs should be kept at least 100 yards away from a home, and evergreen shrubs and trees should not make contact with a home. It is also important to keep firewood stored away from a home, and minimizing indoor pipe leaks and other sources of indoor moisture will prevent the ant pests from nesting within a home’s structural wood.
Have you ever found carpenter ants within your home?
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