carpenter ants

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One of the most misunderstood pests that pest control companies have to deal with are carpenter ants. That is assuming we deal with them at all. What do we mean? Well, if home or business owners don't let us know they have carpenter ants, there isn't a whole lot we can do about them.

When a big black ant appears in the master bathroom of a home, it isn't a big deal to just grab that ant and flush it down the toilet. So that is what a lot of people do. When a big black ant crawls across the counter of a hotel reception desk, an employee is likely to just squish it and throw it away. A business owner may too. Seeing an individual carpenter ant at home or in a business isn't a big deal. It isn't like walking into a room and finding thousands of ants crawling across a kitchen counter or mobbing a trash bin. We're talking about one ant every once in a while. Let's explore this and discuss what that one ant might mean. Then we will be better able to determine if we should still be worried about carpenter ants as we head into winter.

One, lone carpenter ant inside your home should not be ignored. That one ant could be a warning sign of a significant infestation. Significant? Yep. There is a misunderstanding that a carpenter ant infestation is easy to detect. One of the reasons for this misunderstanding is that people think that the larger a carpenter ant infestation becomes, the more ants they'll see crawling around inside. This is not the case.

When carpenter ants infest a man-made structure, they don't crawl around on every inch of the interior like you might expect them to. Most homes don't have a lot of easily accessible food. Those ants have a much easier time getting a bite to eat outside where there are plants, aphids, scale insects, and honeydew-a-plenty. But, that doesn't keep carpenter ants from checking out your place. A scout ant or two will roam your home. Their job is to find a suitable food source and let the other worker ants in their colony know about it. When they do find a food source, like an apple your kid rolled behind the couch or a bagged lunch an employee forgot next to their desk, you might see those ants come out in large numbers. But, then again, you might not. Carpenter ants are mostly nocturnal by nature. While they can, and do, come out during the day, they prefer to come out at night. So they are likely to go after that apple while you're sleeping and go after that bagged lunch when everyone has gone home for the night.

It is vital that everyone living in a home, and everyone who works in a business, understand that seeing a single carpenter ant is something that should be reported to whoever is in charge of protecting the equity of the home or business. That may be the only warning sign given by those carpenter ants. Really? Yes, really.

 carpenter ant up close

Carpenter ants aren't just nocturnal by nature, they are secretive by nature. Their habits and habitat preferences keep them concealed. They spend a lot of time hidden inside wood, creating galleries for their nests. The wood they prefer to infest is wood that has been moistened by water. This is usually wood in shaded, damp locations that are hidden from view, such as the wood under a deck, a rotted sill just above the foundation wall, and wood inside a crawl space. If you don't check these areas for the presence of ants and other signs of carpenter ant activity, those ants will be free to damage your property.

Carpenter ants can also get into the voids of your property. Wall, ceiling, and floor voids are inviting to these ants. And, inside voids, their activity is concealed. That can make detection difficult.

What about sawdust? Don't carpenter ants make sawdust? Yes. These wood-destroying pests create frass, which is a fine sawdust. And this frass can give those carpenter ants away. But they don't always push frass out where it can be easily seen. As carpenter ants crawl around in dark, secluded locations that are hard to get into, they push their frass out into these locations. As they crawl around inside voids, that is likely where their frass will be. They may push frass out of kickout holes in an attic rafter. If you don't go up into the attic of your structure very often, you're not going to see that sawdust. Worse still, sometimes property owners see frass and don't even realize what it is or what it means for their equity. So this isn't a reliable way to detect a carpenter ant infestation either.

Since carpenter ants like to be concealed, their presence can go undetected. And when an individual ant is shrugged off, these ants can continue to do their damage. This happens more often than you might think. That is why carpenter ants cost U.S. property owners hundreds of millions in repair costs annually. We hope that you'll decide not to be a part of that statistic.

The best way to protect your property from carpenter ant damage is to invest in a year-round pest control plan that includes carpenter ant control. Why? Because carpenter ants can be a year-round problem. This brings us to our primary question, "Should you still be worried about carpenter ants?"

Carpenter ants establish their nests inside wood. If they choose the wood of your property, they may be active all year long. Carpenter ants don't hibernate. In the freezing temperatures of winter, they seal themselves in their nests and become dormant. This dormancy is called diapause. The biggest difference between hibernation and diapause is that a creature in diapause will wake up as soon as conditions become favorable again. Or they don't become dormant at all when conditions never become unfavorable.

What are favorable conditions? Warmth and food. Carpenter ants need both to be active. If they find warmth and food in your property, they can continue to grow their populations and continue to tunnel through your wood. They don't have to stop just become winter is coming. That is why we suggest year-round protection.

If you're going to invest in carpenter ant control, it is best to invest in a complete pest control plan. These ants aren't the only pests that can destroy your property. Subterranean termites, wood boring beetles, rodents, and other pests can eat into your equity too. A year-round pest plan that is executed by an experienced and educated pest control professional will catch the activity of destructive pests and provide treatment options, appropriate to the season, to keep those pests from their destructive activities.

Residential Carpenter Ant Control

At Arrow Pest Control, we offer carpenter ant control as part of our Home Protection Plus and Arrow Premier residential programs. These programs also come with vital monitoring and control options for termites, which can be far more damaging to your home. Along with protection for destructive pests, you'll have a barrier to keep disease-causing pests out. While carpenter ants aren't considered a health threat, other ants can be. And ants don't have anything on cockroaches, flies, and rodents.

Commercial Carpenter Ant Control

If you are a business owner, carpenter ants are only one of many pests that can threaten your property investment and your bottom line. At Arrow Pest Control, we provide our commercial customers with comprehensive, customized, IPM-driven, pest control solutions that meet their specific needs. These pest programs include:

  • Detailed inspections and pest threat analysis from trained and licensed professionals. During inspections, your technician will look for signs of activity and identify conditions that are conducive to pest infestations.

  • An evaluation of pest threats will be done and treatment suggestions will be made.

  • Ongoing treatments will be performed around the exterior, according to your pest treatment plan. If needed, interior treatments will also be applied.

  • Detailed records will be kept so that, when it comes time for an audit, you'll have the information you need at your fingertips. You'll also have ongoing, actionable information about the state of your pest control.

With ongoing pest control for your property, you don't have to be worried about carpenter ants in fall, winter, spring, or summer. While those ants can be destructive all year long, they won't be allowed to be destructive inside your property.

If you own a home, a business property, or manage properties, reach out to Arrow Pest Control to get industry-leading pest control. Our team is nationally recognized for excellence in business operation, environmental stewardship, consumer relations, and employee education by the National Pest Management Association and our technicians are certified by the NJDEP. When it comes to controlling carpenter ants and other dangerous and destructive pests, don't settle for less.

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