Carpenter Ants: What to Look For
Carpenter ants are a very common pest in the Western New York Region. We have a dense population of many different kinds of trees, root systems, and wood piles out side to keep our fireplaces running through the winter. So it would only be natural for carpenter ants to find their way into our homes. This time of year, early spring, is when carpenter ants are just beginning to wake up from their dormancy over the winter and forage for food and water, which is why we see so many this time of year. However, seeing them repeatedly inside your home year after year could be an indication of nesting inside your walls and potentially damage to wood you cannot see.
The pictures shown here were actually just taken this year on May 16th in North Tonawanda of a carpenter ant nest in the header of a garage. We had to pull the header off of the garage to get to this damage and see the extent of the issue. While this is the work of carpenter ants over several years, it is very indicative of the type of damage they can create when left untreated. Often times, people don't even know that they have carpenter ants until they are inundated with large ants in their house or flying ants and then are forced to address the issue.
Carpenter ants initially begin outside of the home in an old tree, a tree stump, or an underground root system. When this nest (we call this the colony nest) gets too big, workers will be sent out to find secondary nests, called satellite nests, inside the home. They are often drawn to the bathrooms and kitchens because moisture issues are most present in these areas and carpenter ants are most attracted to soft wood. Carpenter ants do not actually ingest the wood either, they will chew it up and spit it back out. One indication of a carpenter ant issue is this saw dust material, we call it frass, that can sometimes be seen in the basements along the sill plate or even around windows and door frames. Windows and door frames are another hot spot for carpenter ants as they often have water damage around the framing from moisture seeping through over the years.
If you or someone you know sees more than just a few carpenter ants, it is a good idea to call us in to take a look. It is normal to see several walking around, especially during the early spring as they wake up foraging for food and water, however more than that may indicate a nest in your walls. If you or someone you know has these occurrences, give us a call at 716-536-5806. We always offer free pest inspections and a $25.00 gift card for any referral that takes a service with us.