While the frosty grip of winter stubbornly lingers on in Hudson Valley, new promises of sunshine and warm temperatures are well on their way! However, the frequent rain and snow makes things damp and wet, and this creates a perfect environment for destructive insects like carpenter ants. Here are some tips to help you identify, exterminate, and prevent these common nuisances from ruining your home:
What are carpenter ants
Carpenter ants are a common pest problem in New York and are just as damaging as termites. However, instead of eating wood like termites do, they tunnel through wet, rotting lumber with powerful jaws to create a nest.
How do you identify carpenter ants
These destructive insects are considerably bigger than your typical black sugar ant and are frequently mistaken for termites since they cause similar damage.
Carpenter ants have several physical variations, and individuals can be difficult to distinguish because of that. That being said, you will mainly come in contact with the workers, who sometimes have wings, and can vary from ¼ inch to 1 inch in length. Regardless of the variety of sizes they come in; if you’re frequently finding large ants in your house, it’s safe to assume that you have a carpenter ant problem.
Carpenter ants vs. termites
When carpenter ants have wings, they look almost identical to termites. If you’re brave enough to get close to these creepy crawlies, the one thing that sets carpenter ants apart is a segmented body, meaning they have a middle part that creates a distinguishable waist. The ants will be a black, brown or even red color, whereas termites are a creamy white.
Where do carpenter ants live
Damp weather makes for damp wood, which is a carpenter ant paradise! The soggy remnants of trees create a quick and easy nesting ground. So if you have piles of firewood or tree branches near your home there’s a high chance that carpenter ants could invade and cause you grief.
Signs of an infestation
Aside from the increasing amount of gigantic ants in your house, you’ll sometimes hear them chewing away at the inside of the walls and they can leave behind tiny piles of sawdust.
Seasonal changes can help you confirm an infestation, and with the coming of Spring here in New York, ants are leaving their nests in massive swarms.
After successfully getting rid of carpenter ants, the last thing you want to do is endure the battle again. To prevent another infestation, keep potential problem areas away from all structures. Trim away tree branches and get rid of rotting stumps or piles of wood that are anywhere near your home. If you have firewood and keep it outside, try to store it in its own dry area away from the house or garage.
Most insect perimeter sprays will ward off all bugs, including carpenter ants. By using a combination of these tips, you have a high chance of defeating these destructive menaces!
Glenn Mitcham is an insect identification and extermination specialist who works with TERRO® . It’s his goal to share his wisdom about home-invading pests and he frequently updates TERRO®’s blog with interesting stories and pest control guides.