Why Carpenter Ants Are So Dangerous to North Carolina Homes

Carpenter ants have earned quite a reputation for wrecking our homes. If you ask some people, they'll tell you that these wood-destroying pests can completely total your home in just a few short years. However, this is actually not true. It takes time for carpenter ants to do the damage they do. But there are some conditions that can increase their ability to damage your North Carolina home. Let's take a look at them:

carpenter ant in north carolina home
carpenter ant

1. Time

They say, "time heals all wounds." However, in the case of carpenter ants, time actually allows the wounds they cause to multiply. An infestation that begins with a single female winged carpenter ant can develop into a colony of several thousand worker ants in just a few years. As the colony nears its max population, new male and female winged carpenter ants are created and released. Those reproductives then mate, the males die off, and the queens (females) go on to establish new colonies near the old colony, growing the infestation inside your home. If this is allowed to continue, an infestation that started with a single carpenter ant colony can grow to consist of several nests and lead to major damages.

2. Moisture

Carpenter ants don't actually eat wood; instead, they chew tunnels and cavities in it in order to establish their nests inside. In your yard, they'll do this in a stump, a dying tree, an old fence, and in pretty much any other decaying wood found on your property. When they are attracted to your home by a stump or other rotting wood, the next logical step is to get into your home. The secret to resisting carpenter ants is to reduce the moisture conditions in your yard that allow water damage and wood rot to occur. This moisture may be from excessive sprinkler activity in your yard. It may be due to excessive shade created by a thick tree canopy. It may be due to the presence of leaves which can trap moisture underneath. It could be from a broken gutter. There are many things that can cause excess moisture on our properties. To help solve your moisture problem, inspect your yard for moisture conditions and address them so that the wood in your yard and, more importantly, in your home, stays as dry as possible. This will help deter carpenter ants from being drawn to your property and home.
 
3. Water

Standing pools of water that form after it rains will not only increase the moisture in your yard, they can provide carpenter ants with plenty of water to drink. These pools can form for many reasons. It is important to search your property for these pools of water and address any conditions that are allowing standing water to accumulate.
 
4. Food
 
Carpenter ants subsist on a wide range of foods, but there are two they prefer: aphids and the honeydew created by those aphids. If you have lots of vegetation in your yard, you're likely to have lots of aphids. This will increase the population of carpenter ants in your yard, and increase the likelihood that they'll damage your home.
 
5. Lack of Knowledge
 
The biggest factor that leads to significant carpenter ant damage is a lack of knowledge. If you want to protect your home from carpenter ants, it is important that you understand that:

  • A single carpenter ant crawling around inside your home is a warning sign of an infestation in your walls.

  • Just because you only see one carpenter ant every once in a while doesn't mean your infestation is small. Carpenter ants are mostly nocturnal and only come out in large numbers when a food source is found.

  • If you find winged ants crawling on an inside window pane, it is unlikely that they accidentally found their way into your home from the outside. Winged ants are attracted to light. They will not be attracted to the dimmer interior of your home. They're crawling on your window panes to get out to the outdoor light. That means the nest they came from is probably located inside your home.

  • Carpenter ants are wired to be quite elusive. The galleries they create in wood are to protect them from predators. They aren't going to expose these tunnels to you or any other creature, if they can help it. The most you're likely to see of these tunnels are tiny kick-out holes, which they push out frass (fine sawdust) from.

  • While you see a fine sawdust-like material in your home, that is a warning sign of a carpenter ant infestation.

It is important to recognize the signs of a carpenter ant infestation and take action when you see them. If left untreated, these ants can do a lot of damage to a home over time. Therefore, when you find carpenter ants in your home, it's important to reach out to a pest control provider for professional home pest control.

If you find carpenter ants in your North Carolina home, reach out to us at A-1 Pest Control to make sure those carpenter ants are properly dealt with. We've been protecting the equity of homes from the threat of carpenter ants and other wood-destroying pests for over 50 years and we look forward to helping you protect yours!

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