Carpenter Ants — Summertime Pests
Carpenter ants are one of the most common insect pests in the world — and one of the top five pest ants in the United States. Though they are often confused with termites, carpenter ants are different. While termites eat wood, carpenter ants tend to move into already-damaged wood and live there. When carpenter ants are found, there’s often an underlying wood damage (often from termites) or moisture issues in the area, such as roof leaks, crumbling mortar, plumbing leaks, and more.
In particular, the Florida carpenter ant starts to make an appearance in the summer months, which is their flight season, making now the prime time to be aware of these pests and make efforts to keep them away.
There are several different species of carpenter ants in Florida. They are bicolored and among the largest ants, making them easy to spot as they forage or fly indoors and out — yes, they do have wings, and fly. Florida carpenter ants tend to forage at night, with peak foraging hours from just before sunset to two hours after sunset, and again around dawn. They often forage in groups of very loose trails, but individual ants may also wander aimlessly. Carpenter ants have a fondness for sweet floral nectars and honeydews, which is why you may find them near trees and shrubs that attract honeydew-producing insects. While carpenter ants certainly have a sweet tooth, they also seek out other insects for food.
Carpenter ants foraging in homes are typically in search of sweets, moisture, or new nesting sites, and are usually found in kitchens and bathrooms or in rooms that have plumbing leaks or leaks around doors and windows. They might also be trailing from an interior nest to an exterior food source. In your home, you may see them trail along wires or cables attached to the home that serve as access routes to enter attics and other above-ground areas.
Direct treatment of nesting sites is recommended because these sites harbor the entire group, including the queen and a bulk of the workers and winged reproductives. Unfortunately, finding the nest can be difficult to do without a professional. Your best bet is to look for trails and wanderers during their foraging hours to give you clues as to where their nest may be. Sometimes, a small amount of insecticidal spray applied to the nest is successful, but, used in excess, may cause the inhabitants to relocate the nest, making your job more difficult. In the event the nest cannot be located, store-bought baits may help draw them out of hiding. Since location and treatment of these pests can be tricky, it’s usually best to call professional pest control experts to deal with the problem.
There are a few things you can do to prevent carpenter ants from entering your home. Eliminate “bridges” caused by trees and shrubs touching the home’s exterior to keep them from trailing into nesting spaces. Additionally, if wires or power cables are being used as “bridges,” have a professional treat the wires or areas where the wires attach to the structure. There are a number of sticky “pest barriers” available that can be placed on tree trunks and other high-traffic locations to stop ants from passing. Caulking exterior openings and weather stripping may also aid in control.
Trust in Trad’s
The good news is Trad’s has the pest control expertise and programs to help you get rid of carpenter ants and any other pest control problems you may have. Our Preferred and Complete Pest Control programs include treatment for carpenter ants. Our Pest Control Experts are highly trained and know how to proceed in unique conditions present in Northeast Florida. Our professionals work with you to form a user-friendly program that best suits your needs. Don’t waste time. Call us today at 904-733-7488 to set up your consultation! We’ll give them the boot.