Like termites, carpenter ants are notorious for causing structural damage on wood structures which is why most people assume that these ants eat wood. The truth is carpenter ants don’t eat wood; indoors, their diet consists mainly of proteins such as pet food, sweets and meats. Outdoors they mainly feed on small insects.
There is no denying that these ants burrow through the wood. They have strong jaws which they use to create galleries or tunnels where they can nest and reproduce inside the wood.
Carpenter ants prefer moist or decaying wood with a moisture content of roughly 15% or more. This is why homeowners tend to find carpenter ants in Canada nesting around showers, skinks, in attic beams, under subfloor insulation, around dishwashers and other moisture-prone areas. The ants also nest inside hollow spaces such as in wall voids, curtain rods and doors.
One of the reasons why carpenter ants like rotting or moist wood is low humidity dries their eggs out. If a colony gets too big, workers may create a second colony (known as a satellite colony) in dryer locations such as in insulation or foam panels. The workers may transport male or queen-carrying pupae from the parent colony to the satellite when they can hatch safely, usually during late summer.
Signs of Carpenter Ant Infestation
One obvious sign of a carpenter ants infestation is spotting the ants inside your home or building. Note that this is not conclusive evidence that they are nesting inside the home. These ants will forage for food up to 300 feet from their nest so there is always the chance that the nest is outside and the workers are simply foraging for food inside your home.
A more obvious sign is spotting wood shavings or sawdust under or around wooden structures and furniture. You may also hear light rustling inside walls or woodwork.
You can also tell whether the damage is caused by carpenter ants or termites by inspecting the galleries. Termite galleries or tunnels contain mud and soil while carpenter ants create smooth, clean, polished galleries that don’t contain any debris including sawdust.
How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants are difficult to get rid of because of their ‘Budding’ habit. As earlier alluded to, workers can create satellite nests due to overcrowding. Unsuccessful extermination can also cause the ants to split up and create satellite colonies. A carpenter ant nest has multiple queens so the potential for spreading is virtually unlimited. Spraying is a terrible idea.
You also need a thorough inspection of the property to ensure that you have identified all the colonies before taking action. Regular ant pesticides and baits don’t work on carpenter ant so any attempt at DIY will almost certainly be unsuccessful. Check out our infographic that provides a lot of information on how to deal with carpenter ants.
Hire professional ant exterminators Toronto to remove ants and their colony. These experts have lethal chemicals designed specifically for this kind of infestation. The chemicals are eco-friendly and safe for humans and pets. Finally, the exterminator will also help you to prevent a carpenter ant infestation in the future.