Home Remedies and Carpenter Ants, Do They Really Work?

Carpenter Ant Nest

Carpenter ants in Toronto are a major concern for homeowners and one of the most common pest complaints. Contrary to popular belief, carpenter ants do not eat wood the same way that termites do. The ants simply excavate the wood using their strong jaws to make galleries where they nest. The ants deposit the wood shavings outside the nest because it is of no nutritional value to them.

Whether carpenter ants eat wood or not is not important in the grand scheme of things. The fact remains that the ants can do major damage to a wooden structure if the infestation is large enough and left to go on for a long period of time. Tracking and treating the ant nest is the surest way to know how to get rid of carpenter ants in house.

Spring is finally here, and while we look forward to celebrating the end of winter, we have to brace ourselves for what bad it brings. Unwanted pests. Carpenter ants are perhaps the most common pests in Canada, and besides being a nuisance indoors, they have the capability of causing extensive damage to wood by hollowing it out for nesting space.

Carpenter ants drill through the wood to create their nests. Therefore their nests are likely very deep in the wood of your home. Finding this nest can be nearly impossible. It is best to contact professional ant exterminator Toronto in the Greater Toronto Area to declare your home ant-free as soon as possible!

Carpenter ants prefer to nest in moist parts of your home. Places that may have leaking pipes. This can help you locate the nest if your home has any leaks. They are often found in decaying wood around windows and other things. If the wood is damp, they will build a nest in it. 

Understanding carpenter ant nests

Though most carpenter ant colonies start outside of the home on the property usually in damp rotting wood like firewood piles or old stumps. If you are worried about carpenter ants, getting rid of old wood on your property is a good start.

These ants are always looking for a steady temperature to survive the winter. Because of this they often aim to be somewhere warm in your home. That can also help you locate the nest. So rotting wood in your home in a place that is warm, likely near a leak. Shouldn’t be too hard, right?

One method of finding a nest is to tap on the wooden areas they may have infested. This will cause the workers to come out of the walls and help you identify where the nest is located. 

If you have a carpenter ant infestation there is a lot you can do to stem it. You can clean your house of food particles, seal your garbage very well and seal food in plastic containers. Open packages of food attract the ants. They tend to eat sweet things and meat and remember they defecate on your food making it inedible. So keep that food safely stored away.

Carpenter ants have two types of nests. Satellite colonies and Parent colonies. The parent colonies are found outdoors in rotted, moist wood and trees. Carpenter ants will also nest in decaying or moist wood inside your bathroom, dishwashers and under sinks. Stacked-stone foundations also make excellent nests for carpenter ants.

Moisture easily penetrates through the stone foundation getting trapped in-between the wood studs and stone, providing the perfect environment for a carpenter ant colony.

The parent colonies consist of the queen, her brood and the worker ants. On the other hand, satellite colonies consist of workers, mature larvae and the pupae. These types of colonies may exist in drier areas. Moist areas are where you are likely to find carpenter ant satellite colonies. If the satellite colony exists in a drier area, you will likely find workers, as the eggs will dry out in low humidity areas.

The satellite colonies are not a small concern. Carpenter ants have been known to move their eggs from the parent colony to these colonies in case sufficient moisture is available. Therefore, don’t rule out the possibility of carpenter ants in your home even if your plumbing system is flawless and lacks any leaks.

Tracking carpenter ants

Trailing ants back to their nests is possible, but isn’t the simplest of tasks. Ants are very difficult to track due to their size an ability to fit through tiny spaces we can’t access. However, with a combination of skill patience and the right tools, you can be successful.

Ants rarely walk in straight lines from their food source back to the colony. They have adopted a zigzag formation march style. This is the result of previous ant-explorers who have been searching for something to help feed the colony. They lay down a pheromone trails other ant can follow. Due to their meandering nature, it could take an ant a long time to cover a short distance. These trails straighten out over time, as the routes get more used, shortcuts are defined.

Finding an ant nest

If you suspect you have an ant nest inside your house, tracking them is very important. It is vital that you address this house-ant as soon as possible to eliminate the colony that could ultimately damage your structures polluting your water and food.

Look for frass or wood shavings. They are a definite sign of carpenter ant infestations. You will find these shavings underneath beams in your attic or cellar. These shavings can be confused with sawdust.

Look for moisture. Apart from the food they forage through your kitchen, carpenter ants need moisture. In your household, wet wood can invite these invasive insects. Makes sure you study these areas for signs of insects. If you have leaky pipes that often get covered by condensation, they could attract more than just ants. A route to a water source will be well established, and you could easily trail them back to the nest.

Look out for swarmers. It’s important that you are certain the “ants” in question are indeed carpenter ants and not termites. In case they are ants, there is a possibility they may be nesting outside and entering your home through a small opening or crack beyond your foundation. If you spot indoor swarmers, it might be a sign of carpenter ants or pharaoh ants.

Look for dead ants. If you spot dead ants and particularly around your window, it could be a sign of an indoor infestation. It’s important to check if indeed these insects are termites or ants before taking the necessary steps to locate their nests.

Carpenter ant infestations

In most cases, these infestations go unnoticed until its too late, and end up being a cost ridden affair. It is easy to confuse the damage done by carpenter ants for terminates; it is, therefore, important to make sure you are dealing with the right pest.

Locating Carpenter Ant Nest Indoors

A simple strategy is to inspect the most likely areas of infestation. Carpenter ants prefer moist wood so inspect under bathtubs, around skylights and chimneys, beneath window sills, in wall voids, in crawl spaces, in hollow door frames and other moisture-prone areas. You should see evidence of carpenter ant activity such as small holes in wood and/or small piles of sawdust.

If you are lucky enough to see an ant trail, simply follow it back to the nest. Tap walls or doors that you suspect might be infested and listen for faint rustling inside.

Locating Carpenter Ant Nest Outdoors

Although these ants may be active throughout the day, they are most active just after sunset and before midnight. Grab a flashlight and inspect your property about 20 minutes after sunset.

Carpenter ants like hardwoods, preferably rotten and moist wood. Concentrate your search here and look out for evidence such as ant trails, dead carpenter ants and small mounds of sawdust under or around trees.

Signs of carpenter ant infestation

  • Sawdust looking wood shavings known as frass. These are usually found underneath wood areas in your homes like door jams, baseboards, and window sills.
  • Rustling noises from inside your walls or hollow doors
  • Winged ants coming from your walls, ceilings or hidden crevices
  • Shed wings around your home near window sills, vents, and baseboards.

If you are certain that you have a carpenter ant nest inside your home, the best thing to do is to contact our Toronto carpenter ant control service. We will carry out an inspection and help you get rid of the pests for good. A thriving carpenter ant colony inside your home could cause significant damage to your structures weakening them as they follow through.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Getting rid of carpenter ants in Toronto is a difficult task even for professionals. It is best to hire an exterminator to do the job.

A thorough inspection may reveal the ant’s nest but there is no guarantee that it is the only nest. Carpenter ants often have a ‘primary’ nest and ‘satellite’ nests and easily shuffle between the nests. You may have found only one of the multiple nesting sites so any extermination, in this case, would be useless.

Another major risk of DIY extermination is ‘budding’. A single carpenter ant nest often contains multiple queens. If the nest is disturbed such as by unsuccessful treatment, the queens will split, each queen taking a few workers and creating multiple colonies so the infestation becomes even worse.

Lastly, over-the-counter carpenter ant treatments simply don’t work because they contain a low concentration of active ingredients compared to what professional exterminators use.

A professional Pest Control Toronto – The Exterminators can guarantee an accurate inspection to determine the extent of the infestation. He also has the necessary equipment and chemicals to safely and permanently exterminate the ants. Finally, the professional helps institute measures to ensure that the infestation does not return in the future. This may include trimming trees and shrubs near the house, repairing or removing water-damaged wood and eliminating food sources. Ask for a warranty of at least 6 months for the best result. Call The Exterminators today to book an appointment:

Article Updated: May 12, 2020