There are over 700 ant species in the United States, and thankfully most of them are relatively harmless as far as infestations are concerned. Carpenter ants, however, are far from harmless invaders. Much like termites, carpenter ants cost the United States billions of dollars annually in structural damage, even though they won't eat the wood that they inhabit. When it comes to an ant infestation, these are the ants that homeowners dread the most.
What Do Carpenter Ants Look Like, And Where Can I Find Them?
Carpenter ants are among the largest in the ant species, growing up to ¾ of an inch in length. They're most commonly black, but some species are red or yellow in color or even a combination of colors. The workers have large, powerful mandibles that are strong enough to chew through wood and other cellulose-based products.
Like all ants, carpenter ants invade where they find ample amounts of food sources, so you'll most likely discover an infestation while they're foraging through your pantry. They won't eat wood, but they do enjoy a wide variety of tasty treats, such as:
- Sugar-based foods such as syrup, jellies, and bakery items
- Proteins found in meats and pet food
- Other insects
- Honeydew from aphids and other scale insects
How Did They Invade My Hudson Valley Home, And Why Are They Here?
There is a multitude of ways for carpenter ants to sneak inside. Poor insulation around outside-leading doors and windows can leave enough of a crack for insects to crawl right in, and gaps between walls and utility pipes or electrical wires make for easy entrances. Cracks in the walls and foundation, low-hanging tree branches above your roof, and bushes that have grown too close to the siding of your home are also entry points for hungry ants searching for a new home.
The most common reason carpenter ants invade a home is ample food sources, but there are other reasons they might find your home to be a habitable location. Excessive moisture and water damage is a big draw for carpenter ants, as they require large sources of water for survival. Another reason they might find your home enticing is an underlying insect infestation. These ants eat other insects, and an ongoing pest problem such as smaller ants, termites, fleas, bedbugs, and roaches would provide lots of protein for their growing colony.
How Can I Protect My Hudson Valley Home From A Carpenter Ant Invasion?
Thankfully, there are plenty of precautionary steps you can take to keep carpenter ants outside:
- Patch up gaps and cracks within the foundation and walls of your home
- Trim bushes and low-hanging tree branches that touch your rooftop and siding
- Re-insulate your windows and outside-leading door frames
- Keep floors and countertops cleaned and free from crumbs, spills, and debris
- Repair any leaky pipes, and possibly invest in a dehumidifier for rooms that produce moisture – kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room
- Inspect your home for other underlying pest infestations
Can I DIY My Pest Problems Away?
While some home-brewed pest remedies may resolve infestations, trying to rid your home of ants DIY-style can often cause even worse problems for your Hudson Valley home. To start, store-bought pesticides usually contain harmful chemicals that could make you and your loved ones sick. Another problem could arise if you only exterminate a fraction of the colony, and startle the rest into branching out throughout the rest of your home. Ants often create smaller “satellite” colonies to ensure the safety of their nest, and at-home methods of pest extermination could force their hand to utilize that strategy.
When it comes to a carpenter ant infestation, the best and most cost-effective option is to call in the professionals. At Pestmaster® Services, we have over 40 years of experience in resolving pest problems. We utilize cutting edge and eco-friendly pest control methods and pesticides, ensuring the safety of you and your loved ones while also quickly and effectively resolving your pest problems. Don't wait around for carpenter ants to destroy your home. Get in contact with us today to start discussing your pest control options.