Carpenter Ant Prevention Tips For Fall & Winter

Earlier this year, we wrote a blog post about carpenter ants in New Jersey and how to prevent them during the spring and summer months; this month we’re shifting gears and are ready to discuss carpenter ant prevention for fall and winter. Let’s get started!

carpenter ant outside a new jersey home looking for a way inside

Carpenter ants in the fall

This is the most important season for carpenter ant prevention. Carpenter ants are more active when it is cool and moist. These two conditions are common during fall days, especially toward the beginning of the season. Here are fewer prevention tips to consider, starting with the most obvious.

Leaves on the ground

There are many ways leaves can attract carpenter ants. They offer a natural covering that help the ground to stay moist, and moist ground is attractive to carpenter ants. It is vital that you take the time to rake leaves up off the ground, and particularly, away from your foundation walls. The last thing you need is for these insects to find nice, moist soil and the shade offered by leaf cover, near your home.

Leaves in your gutters

When leaves drift down into your gutters they can cause obstructions. This can allow rainwater to spill over and run down the side of your home, moistening the ground near your foundation wall, creating stagnant water pools, and moistening the wood of your home’s exterior. Over time, water can do a lot of damage to a home, that is one of the big reason homes have gutters on them in the first place. All of that rainwater needs to be channeled down and away from your walls. If it is allowed to soak the wood of your home, not only will it cause rot, it will attract carpenter ants. These ants prefer soft, rotting wood.

Stacked wood

Do you stack wood in fall to use during the winter? If you do, be sure to stack it away from your home and elevate it if possible. Carpenter ants love wood piles. Don't let your stacked wood be a reason for carpenter ants to be close to your home.

Entry points

While it is possible for carpenter ants to chew their way into your home, it is more likely that they will exploit an entry point to get in. Once inside, they will gravitate to moist, cool areas within your walls, floors, and ceilings, and begin creating galleries within your wood. Some common entry points that they exploit are:

  • Gaps around window frames. When windows are installed, there is usually a gap around them. Windows don't usually fit snuggly, so window installers must put a seal around those windows, such as a high-quality silicone caulk. This seal can develop gaps as a home ages, and these small gaps can give carpenter ants, and other pests like mice, easy entrance into your wall voids. This can be easily fixed by apply a new layer of silicone caulk to areas that are gapping.
  • Small gaps in door and window frames. If a frame settles and pulls apart at a corner, it can be enough to give these ants entry. These gaps can be fixed with a little carpentry magic. If you don't have the skill and can afford to pay to have someone do that right now, you can fill these gaps with silicone caulk for a temporary fix.
  • Gaps around plumbing, wire conduit, air conditioning units, and other objects that pass through your exterior walls.
  • Damaged weather stripping. If you can turn the lights off inside your home on a sunny day and see light coming through a hole around a door, there is a good chance you have weather stripping that needs to be replaced. Carpenter ants will take quick advantage of gaps in weather stripping.

Carpenter ant prevention in the winter

You wouldn't think that there is much you can do about carpenter ant prevention in the winter but there is if we get a late snow.

Outside your home

When plants go dormant in late spring or early winter, it is the perfect time to trim them. Pruning too early may result in new growth that doesn't harden off properly before winter. And, when you cut back your bushes in winter, you'll also be doing something important to resist carpenter ants in the spring.

Trimming bushes helps to resist carpenter ants in a few important ways. It allows better airflow near your foundation walls and helps to keep the soil dry. It lets the sunlight in, which also helps with drying the soil. And it shortens branches so they don't quite touch your exterior walls. This prevents carpenter ants from using those branches as bridges to gain easy access to higher locations on the outside of your home.

Inside your home

If you have carpenter ants active in your home during the winter, odds are you have a satellite colony living inside your walls. If ants have settled in your home, it's very likely they have found a sustainable food source near a bathroom or kitchen that is keeping them active through the winter. Some other basic tips are: 

  • Keep pet food in an air-tight container and clean around your pets food dish daily
  • Seal flour and other pantry items in plastic bags or air-tight containers
  • Store fruit in the refrigerator or in sealed containers
  • Vacuum and clean regularly 
  • Wipe down areas you are seeing ant activity with cleaning products that contain ammonia or bleach to discourage that path to be used again

Carpenter ant control in Montclair, Basking Ridge, Plainfield & more

At Arrow Pest Control, we know the best way to keep carpenter ants away from your home and off your property is with an ongoing home pest control plan.  Servicing Montclair, Basking Ridge, and Plainfield as well as communities throughout our multi-county service area, our locally owned and operated pest control company offers the best in year-round pest protection.

Home Protection Program Plus

This program includes everything from the Home Protection Program - PLUS carpenter ant control and our termite monitoring advantage. Arrow will install a passive subterranean termite monitoring system at critical or conducive areas along the exterior perimeter foundation of your home. This system will include up to 4 in-ground subterranean termite monitoring stations. These stations will be serviced and inspected as part of your routine service.

Should the monitors indicate termite activity or termites occur within the home, Arrow will provide you with a termite treatment proposal at a 50% discounted rate, and you will be upgraded to Arrow Premier at the current prevailing rate.

  • Is a year-round program that provides full interior and exterior service.
  • Service includes a one-time interior service per year and two exterior treatments.
  • Covers your entire property* including the attic, mailbox, playset, shed, and fence.
  • Termite monitoring advantage

Pests targeted with Arrow’s Home Protection Program Plus includes all the pests included in the Home Protection Program PLUS carpenter ants, pharaoh ants, and acrobat ants.

*If you have a pool house that requires service, pricing would increase based upon the size of the structure.
*Termite monitoring advantage is not applicable in over-55 communities
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Renee R.


‟We’ve been using Arrow for the last 4 years. We have a monthly plan, so they come and service the interior and exterior regularly. We can also call them anytime for anything we see...wasp, wasp nests, rodents, ants, whatever...our coverage literally includes the mailbox at the curb all the way to the furthest point of our backyard fence and everything in between. All the technicians we’ve had, including Jason, were friendly and knowledgeable. But, Jason, goes above and beyond with his service and willingness to do more for his customers. Highly recommend Arrow Pest Control!”
Renee R.
Short Hills, NJ
Arrow Pest Control received an average rating of 5.0 out of 5 stars from 1380 reviews. 5.0 Read Google Reviews

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