Regardless of the fact that they’re rather small, carpenter ants can cause some big problems. Rarely seen up close, these sneaky little critters can cause some serious damage to your house before they are even detected.
Are you suffering from a carpenter ant infestation? Recognizing the symptoms and knowing what things to look for can help you prevent massive losses. The following guide will acquaint you with some of the key essentials.
Places in Which the Damage Will Be Most Visible
As already mentioned, carpenter ants can be quite difficult to detect. This is the main reason why you should get in the habit of inspecting certain parts of the property. These are the places in which the signs of damage will become visible the earliest.
Carpenter ants are notorious for attacking primarily wooden structures. Always look for leaks or damp areas. The ants are more likely to attack vulnerable wood that’s rotting due to the passage of time or moisture. They’re much less likely to attempt creating tunnels in dry wood.
Carpenter Ant Damage
Wood that is in direct contact with the ground is also quite vulnerable. Just like in the case of termite infestations, carpenter ant infestations become much more probable if the insects find a direct point of entry into the building’s structure.
When inspecting a wooden structure, you may want to look for carpenter ant sawdust. When positioned underneath a tiny hole, the sawdust is a sign of a recent entry. This is why you should get in the habit of inspecting wooden structures and the exterior of the property on a regular basis.
If ant activity took place some time ago, there isn’t going to be any sawdust indicative of an entry. You may, however, notice structural damage to wooden constructions. As time passes, carpenter ants can do a lot to undermine the integrity of the building. If they’ve been around for some time, the damage could reach epic proportions.
Most Common Types of Carpenter Ant Damage
Now that you know where to look for damage, it’s time to examine the most common problems that carpenter ant infestations cause.
Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat wood. Instead, they create tunnels through it for the purpose of moving around. In addition, the ants create nests inside wooden structures, which leads to serious hollowing.
According to a number of insurance company reports, carpenter ants can cause as much property damage per year as natural disasters. If they’re undetected, the structural integrity of a building can be seriously undermined. Repairing the damage could potentially cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.
The signs of carpenter damage will always involve piles of sawdust. These are created because of the fact that the ants don’t actually eat the wood. Therefore, if you notice a pile of sawdust anywhere on the outside or the inside of the property, you can be pretty confident that you’re dealing with a carpenter ant infestation.
Water stains on wood are also a potential sign of an ant infestation. When the structural integrity of the wood is damaged, water will be allowed to soak through and often reach the interior of the house. Since water is entering the wooden structures, it is contributing to the structural damage that the ants have already caused.
When looking for damage, don’t restrict your inspection solely to ground floor wooden structures and ones that are touching the ground. Once a carpenter ant infestation occurs, the insects can spread quickly throughout the property.
In addition, overhanging tree branches that haven’t been trimmed provide ants with an excellent opportunity for access to the house. Likewise, areas where a roof leaks are especially popular among carpenter ants. This is why any inspection needs to be thorough. Start at the ground floor and the exterior of the house, slowly moving your way upward and examining every inch of any wooden structure.
How to Prevent a Carpenter Ant Infestation
It seems that carpenter ants are quite crafty and they can access a property in multiple ways. While this is the truth, you shouldn’t get discouraged. A few simple measures in advance can help you significantly reduce the risk of an infestation.
For a start, pay attention to leaks and water damage, especially when these affect a wooden structure. Remember that carpenter ants aren’t interested in dry wood that maintains its structural integrity. The sooner you deal with water leaks, the less likely an infestation will be.
Using caulking to seal any cracks and around cables is another good idea. The ants could use such crevices to gain access to the property, even if you don’t have wooden structures on the ground floor. Even the smallest of cracks could permit the ants to gain access.
The next obvious step involves controlling greenery around your home. If you have trees in close proximity to the house, you should trim the branches regularly. Another landscaping improvement you may want to consider involves creating a line of gravel installation around the house.
If you use fire for heating purposes, always check the logs for sawdust and other signs of carpenter ant damage before bringing them inside. Remember that the ants are pretty clever. If you’ve cut off access in all other ways, they may still find an alternative for getting inside your house! The same goes for termites and firewood.
Finally, make sure there aren’t any wooden structures in contact with the ground. Concrete piers that are a typical measure against termite infestations can be used quite effectively to deal with carpenter ants, as well.
Overcoming an Infestation
Have you noticed signs of carpenter ant damage, regardless of the fact that you’ve completed all of the precautionary measures? In such instances, you’ll need to act fast in order to control the damage.
Requesting professional assistance from pest management professionals is the best way to handle the situation. The team will treat the exterior parameter of the building, preventing ants from getting inside. In addition, a drilling and treating process will be initiated to exterminate the ants inside the wooden structure.
The products that professional pest management teams use aren’t designed for DIY application. It’s a much better idea to pay a little bit more for professional assistance than to jeopardize your own health and the wellbeing of your family.
Further Resources for Carpenter Ants