Why Carpenter Ants Invade West Chester Properties

May 7, 2021

Big, black, and very bad, carpenter ants are probably the single most dangerous ant type in the West Chester, PA area. That’s not because they’re dangerous to people, but because they’re dangerous to your property. When it comes to destroying wooden structures, perhaps only termites beat out the carpenter ant for sheer damage. Like termites, carpenter ants tunnel through wood to build their nests, leaving trails of destruction in their wake. If left untreated, this behavior can lead to thousands of dollars in repair costs and maybe even a total loss. Let’s talk about what carpenter ants do, what they like to eat, and how you can avoid or get rid of an infestation.

carpenter ants destroying wood

Relentless Wood Carvers

As their name suggests, carpenter ants are woodcarvers by nature. They don’t actually eat wood as termites do. Rather, they tunnel through it to make vast, complex colonies full of chambers and highways for the ants to live in and move around. Large carpenter ant colonies can contain up to 100,000 individual ants, and mature colonies will often send out swarmers to found satellite nests in the areas surrounding the original, further spreading the infestation.

Since carpenter ants don’t eat wood, they have to find other sources of food. Contrary to what you’d think about an ant, carpenter ants can be rather picky. They won’t eat just anything – they prefer proteins and sugars, including dead insect bodies, honeydew (the sweet secretion from aphids), dog and cat foods, cookies, fruits, etc. You might find these ants sneaking around your pantry, garbage, or kitchen counter looking for these staples.

Carpenter Ant Signs & Prevention

Carpenter ants threaten the wooden components of your home, such as railings, moldings, decking, the window and door frames, and even the structural supports. That means a lot of the signs you might have a problem with will have to do with damage to these components. Look for:

  • Buckled floorboards
  • Windows and doors that don’t fit in their frames
  • Warped walls
  • Sagging ceilings
  • Ant sawdust (a mix of chewed-up wood and ant droppings)
  • Holes or other inexplicable wood damage

You might also notice other signs like:

  • Large, solid black or black-and-red ants on your property
  • Ant trails in or around your house
  • Rustling noises inside walls
  • Swarms of flying ants or piles of shed ant wings

Like other ants, carpenter ants are attracted to the easiest pickings possible when it comes to food and shelter. They want rotten, aged wood because it takes less effort to carve. They want accessible entry points to your home. And they want readily available water and food sources, meaning the most effective prevention methods involve depriving them of these things. Take measures like:

  • Inspect your home’s exterior, finding and plugging up any potential entry points like holes in the foundation or cracks in the siding.
  • Tightly seal all potential food sources including pet foods, garbage, pantry staples, and anything edible you don’t keep in the fridge.
  • Fix moisture problems like clogged drainage and leaking plumbing to reduce potential ant water sources.
  • Trim trees and bushes away from your home’s exterior to make it harder for ants to get up the sides of the house.

Unfortunately, because our homes have so many of the things ants need, even the most stringent prevention measures aren’t always enough to keep them out. That’s where the pros come in. Here at Masters Touch Pest Solutions, we’re your one-stop-shop for everything you need to get the carpenter ants out of your home.

Our pest control programs include custom-tailored, recurring treatment plans to keep your property pest-free all year round. Give us a call at 610-269-3000 or visit our contact page to get your free quote today.

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