Carpenter Ants

by Donna L. Gagnon

Carpenter ants are the big boys of the insect order Hymenoptera (which also includes hornets, wasps and bees). They are black/reddish-brown and measure 1/4" to 3/4"  in length. If the colony is in your house, they can be active all year round in the warm parts of the home. Sometimes, you can even hear their rustling sounds within walls. Winged/migrating ants can be found by windows in the spring. If non-winged ants are visible when the weather warms up in the spring, the colony is probably in an area that experiences outdoor temperatures, such as under stairs, porch roof, cellar door or in decaying areas of trees. They enter the house in search of food and nesting areas.  They do not eat wood.

Picture of Carpenter Ant Carpenter ants that nest in the damp wood of a house can cause damage over time, which could mean replacement or repair of beams. Any utility lines and vegetation that touch the house can provide a bridge for these ants.  Correcting water leakage problems helps to reduce the attractiveness of your house to carpenter ants.

Common locations of carpenter ant galleries are under wood siding and roofing panels, in log walls, along downspouts and roof gutter braces, wood/soil contacts near foundations, under bathroom floors and in padded ceiling insulation. Foraging ants will travel 100 yards or more from the nest in search of food. These ants feed on honeydew from aphids, scales, dead insects, fruit juices, sweets, meat, and grease fat.

Here is a list of things you can do to control and eliminate carpenter ants:

    eliminate moisture sources

    seal entry points

    properly store firewood (above ground and as far from the house as practical); shake off clinging insects before bringing wood in the house

    prune trees so that they do not touch structures; remove tree stumps

    remove nest (when located), repair damaged area and caulk access points

    apply insecticide labeled for indoor control of ants to baseboards,
    door frames, mud sills

    outdoors, apply liquid, dust or granular Dursban, Diazinon or other insecticide labeled for ant control, as an outside barrier 6-10 feet wide around the base of the house; spray 2-3 feet up on the outside of the foundation to prevent entry; also spray around exterior surfaces where telephone and electrical wires connect to the building

Always remember to follow all instructions on the label of insecticides.

Donna L. Gagnon
R. R. #3, Hwy 35 South
Minden, ON K0M 2K0
Ph: (705)286-3791 Fax: (705)286-6168




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