Carpenter ants speed up the decomposition of rotting wood. Although they play this important role for the ecosystem, these pests do not belong in your home or business. Carpenter ants can be extremely destructive, using their powerful mandibles to excavate into wood to create nest galleries.
Occurrence of Carpenter Ants in Western New York
Carpenter ants are common in urban, suburban, and rural areas of Western New York. The area’s most common species is Camponotus pennsylvanicus (DeGeer), a large black ant about 1/4″-1/2″ long. Unlike termites, they do not feed on the wood, but simply expel their borings, which accumulate beneath openings to their galleries as piles of fibrous sawdust. You as a homeowner should be on the lookout for any evidence of boring activity, which often reveals carpenter ant nesting sites.
Wood that is moist or already in some state of decomposition is prone to attack by carpenter ants. It should be noted that nests have been found in all kinds of wood, ranging from sound and dry to soft and wet. Leaks in roofing and siding; faulty flashing around chimneys, skylights & gables; poor drainage; and condensation from poor ventilation are often factors contributing to carpenter ant infestation.
The full potential for damage to your home depends on how many nests are actually present and how long the infestation has been active. In general, if activity is noted throughout the entire year, or if the emergence of large winged ants inside the structure is seen, chances are the infestation is at least two to three years old.
Your Personal Carpenter Ant Prevention Plan:
When it comes to carpenter ant pest control, you are not helpless. You can make small changes to your home, which will be the difference between an infestation and peace of mind. Follow our tips below to help prevent the chance of a carpenter ant problem in the future:
- Repair all leaks in your roofing or plumbing system to eliminate excess moisture. Carpenter ants search for damp wood to nest, so any leaks will contribute to the problem.
- Be sure to keep a safe distance between your home and your landscaping. Whether it is a flower bed, mulch, or dirt, do your best to eliminate these substances from sitting against your home. This also applies to firewood.
- Removing all tree branches that come in contact with your home is not only safe for your family, but will also eliminate the possibility of ants using your tree or home as a nesting ground.
- It only takes a microscopic hole for ants to enter your home. Check annually that there are no cracks or holes in your foundation that are seen as an open door for pests. Pay close attention to the areas in which you have utility pipes and wires, as these openings can spread over time.