Now is the Time to Stop Carpenter Ants from Damaging Your Home

June 20, 2016

When selling your home, Realtors will want you to improve your home's "curb appeal." If you suspect a carpenter ant or termite infestation in your home, curb appeal and location are going to be the least of your worries. There are things that can be done to prevent these infestations, but your best alternative when it comes to any pest problem is to consult with a pest management professional.

carpenter ant on plant in garden

Termites and carpenter ants can be differentiated by their antennae, waist, and wings. Termites also consume wood while carpenter ants tunnel through wood to build their nests. Once you have established what type of insect you are dealing with, you should take quick action.

Carpenter ants have their primary nesting area outside, in wood piles, landscaping barriers, trees, and possibly old tree stumps. They require water and their diet is largely sugar and protein based. The ants leave the nest, mostly at night in search of food which can lead them to your home where they usually start a secondary or satellite nest.

Water damaged wood around doors, windows and underneath siding are areas that carpenter ants typically invade. The ants also can use overhead wires that can lead into your home where they'll find nesting areas in fiberglass insulation and even roof and ceiling beams. They prefer moist wood, but also do nest in dry wood once they have access to it.

If you have seen these ants swarming in your yard you may need to take preventive measures. This would include repairing any damaged wood around doors or windows, and clearing away any brush or wood from contact with your house. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends trimming overhanging tree branches that are touching the side or roof of your home. It would be wise to look around your home to identify any of the problem areas mentioned above and for evidence of the ants.

Evidence can include:

  • Ants outside, usually 10 to 15 together can indicate a nest nearby.
  • Dead ants or pieces of ant bodies around doors, window sills and wall voids.
  • Piles of "frass," the leavings of wood consumed to build the satellite nest.
  • Small bits of insulation or other small insect parts.

Since you are trying to sell your home, the best solution for eradicating these pests is a licensed pest management professional. They can provide a speedy solution.

Your home is up for sale and considering that damage has already been done, prevention of further damage is essential. Performing this work yourself is usually not the best option if you want the problem taken care of quickly and professionally. The eradication of these pests may necessitate the use of chemicals you have no experience with. A licensed professional is always best when using chemicals of any sort near living areas. The experienced professional has been trained to use products that will effectively eliminate your problem in a manner that is safe around people and pets.

Will you want to get a barrier product to keep ants out? Do you want traps or insecticides to poison them? What are the best products to use? These are all questions that a professional can answer after a thorough inspection of your property. You, on the other hand, may end up with a hit and miss approach, costing time and money. An experienced pest management professional will immediately know the best approach for eliminating your infestation with no confusion.

Some people may try to take matters into their own hands and place both barrier products and poisons around their homes. Using two methods of defense may seem more productive than one, but these two products can work against each other. The barrier keeps the ants out, but that means the ants that have contacted the poison won't have access to the satellite nest inside of your home. You want the ants to come back in order to take the poison to the nest where the ants will groom each other and will consume the poison. With few or no ants in the nest some may die but the nest will regenerate rather easily.

If you decide to drill into the infested wood and place the poison in directly you could wind up creating additional problems in your home. How deep do you have to go? How large an area do you need to treat? If you are drilling into a wall void, are there any pipes or electrical wires there. Once again the professional pest management specialist knows the answer to these and other questions. They are much more experienced in this type of work and know where electric wires and pipes usually are. An experienced professional can also make the areas look much better cosmetically after the treatment to help restore some curb appeal. You don't want evidence of drilling that your unsuccessful attempts can leave behind.

A licensed professional will also offer a solid guarantee which will help even after you've sold the home and moved away. The new homeowner can be referred to the professional who performed the work in the event of a new problem or a reoccurrence.

Once you have decided on a pest management specialist as a solution for this problem, you want to be sure you have the right one. The NPMA suggests you ask to see license and other credentials and research the pest control company that you select.

Prices of treatment can vary greatly depending upon the size of the infestation and the amount of damage the ants have done. These experts can make your home a better, more attractive place and make it the last place the ants want to take up residence. 

Alliance Pest Services offers several pest control plans for wood destroying insects.  Termite control, termite baiting and monitoring systems, termite pretreatments for termites, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, powder post beetles and all other pests.  Alliance Pest Services provides pest control services throughout the state of New Jersey Pest Control.

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