Carpenter ants get their name because they make their homes out of wood, just like a carpenter could do. But these insects actually live inside the different wood structures and products, and chew through them, too!
They don’t really eat the wood but once they enter the structure, they will gnaw on it to build a nest with its many pathways or galleries. They prefer wood that is damp, damaged by other insects, and contains decay fungi but they are also able to nest in dry and sound wood.
Damage caused by carpenter ants rarely threatens the structural integrity of a house. Nevertheless, this might be due to the early control measures taken in order to eliminate these pests before they cause serious damage. Most of us don’t like finding any insects in our homes, and carpenter ants are considered serious pests, whether or not they have caused structural damage.
Drilling tunnels in wood structures weakens the building over time. If not found and exterminated early enough, the carpenter ants can be very harmful to your wooden structures.
Keep reading as we cover in more detail whether carpenter ants can live in the walls and explain how to check for a nest in your house structure.
These ants like to nest in structural lumber such as wall voids and foam wall panels. However, apart from wood, carpenter ants can also readily infest other materials.
They are attracted to the warmth and moisture as well as the softness of the insulating material that’s in your walls. In fact, wooden structures and the foam or fiberglass insulation are the favorite nesting sites for carpenter ants.
Buildings with exposed hollow wooden beams arching overhead on ceilings and walls are particularly susceptible to infestations.
The carpenter ant workers might tunnel under the foundations or patio blocks of your house.
Adjacent to a house, they might trail along the edges of your lawn, driveway, sidewalks, garden hoses, and landscaping timbers. Inside the structure, they follow the edges of floors, or cabinets and other furniture pieces.
Within the walls, they excavate through insulation, follow utility lines, and travel through voids on pipes and wires. Free branches or vines touching the exterior house walls usually provide a foraging trail or connection between parent and satellite ant colonies.
Trailing on structural elements is an adaptation that results from the natural tendency of ants to follow guidelines such as tree branches or the grooves and ridges in the tree bark. For this reason, all trees, stumps, and driftwood on your property, or any wooden objects used in landscaping must be carefully inspected.
Carpenter ants may build multiple nests in different parts of the house and outside. It is, therefore, necessary to look for nesting sites that could be created inside and outside your house.
If you see large black ants crawling around on surfaces, this could be a sign that a carpenter ant nest is in your home. Check any possible areas on the interior and exterior of your house where moisture may have gotten into the wooden structure.
Wet wood as well as leaky pipes and pipes covered in condensation are likely to attract the ants. By finding out the route to the water, you’ll be able to follow these insects back to their nest.
Remember that insulated spaces will be the favorite spots for carpenter ants to build nests because they retain heat and moisture, and are easy to excavate.
It is also helpful to knock on the wall to check if it sounds hollow. A wall made of solid wood sounding hollow can be a sign that it’s infested with termites or carpenter ants.
Even treated wooden structures or decorative landscaping timbers mostly have cracks and other tiny holes that provide easy access for the ants to the untreated interior wood for nesting. These nests are often overlooked by homeowners because the insects have deposited the sawdust under or behind the wood, or used the sawdust to line their underground foraging trails.
In order to spot a carpenter ant infestation, there are various signs to look out for, such as:
– If you see the ants in your home as well as sawdust this indicates an infestation. If carpenter ant workers or alates appear within a house structure during the winter or early spring, then you can assume that there is at least one nest indoors.
– You may discover an infestation when sawdust from your decorative beams starts to build up on the windowsill.
– Sawdust piles of up to 10 inches in depth can accumulate along the walls of your basement or attic.
– An interior wall can buckle when you lean against it.
– You hear rustling noises in the walls or ceilings, mostly at night. You can actually hear the ants chewing on the wood as they build their nest.
So if you hear that faint rustling sound coming from your walls or inside the woodwork, it’s best to call a professional exterminator for advice and inspection.
Trying to find the carpenter ant nest on your own may not guarantee that you will find all the ants. But an experienced and knowledgeable pest control technician will know exactly how to get the job done right. After locating the nest, he will then drill small holes in the wall and spray an insecticide into the holes to exterminate these pests.
So don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert team at American Pest Control in Athens, GA. Call us today for a free quote and inspection!