Do Carpenter Ants Eat Wood?
This is a common belief. Termites have a special bacteria in their guts that allow them to digest the fibers in wood. Carpenter ants, however, do not eat wood. It is too hard for them to break down, and they much prefer living and dead insects and the sweet “honeydew” liquid produced by scale insects and aphids.
So what’s the problem? Well, when carpenter ants build nests, they dig galleries and tunnels in the wood. This obviously weakens structures from the inside out. This can result in cosmetic issues but the bigger concern is the structural damage that carpenter ants can leave in their wake.
Signs of a Carpenter Ant Infestation
How do you know if carpenter ants are tunneling in your home, outbuildings, or business? You may notice:
- Worker ants foraging for food.
- Swarmers (winged ants) that are produced when a colony is ready to establish new colonies. This is a bad sign: it means that there is a well-established colony, and your problem is going to get bigger.
- Debris produced by the carpenter ants tunneling through wood. You may spot rough wood shavings and bits of dead ants.
- A rustling sound. This is produced as the ants tunnel, nest, and forage for food.
They are most likely to nest in moist wood. Look for signs of infestation around your chimneys, sinks, doorways, windows, wall voids, and woodpiles or other wood debris you may have in your yard. Carpenter ants also like to nest in structures that have already sustained insect damage, so if you see signs of an infestation, you could have a few different pests causing problems.
How Do You Get Rid of Carpenter Ants?
The only way to get rid of a carpenter ant problem is to attack it at the source: the nest. From there, you can treat it chemically or remove it entirely.
This can be tricky. Carpenter ants often have a primary nest and a satellite nest. They leave the main nest and search for food around the satellite. It is important to identify the main nest and eradicate it. Otherwise, the pests will continue to reproduce.
Baiting and sprays can be effective, but, again, you must be able to find the nest. Additionally, laying down poison around your home, yard, or property can be problematic if you have pets and/or children.
The safest bet is to contact Rid-a-Bug. Our trained technicians have extensive experience in removing stubborn pests, including carpenter ants. We can identify the problem, find the source, and effectively exterminate the nests without putting your family at risk, as well as prevent reinfestation and enable you to avoid costly damage to your structure.
If you have a pest problem, give us a call as soon as possible. We deliver Western North Carolina’s most complete, professional extermination services.