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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.
Understanding carpenter ant nests
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.
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 hollow through.