carpenter ant crawling on kitchen surface

What are carpenter ants?

Common invaders of homes and other structures in the Pacific Northwest, carpenter ants are large ants that are black, red or a combination of those colors. Outside and away from people and our property, carpenter ants are beneficial, aiding the decomposition of dead or decaying trees. Unfortunately, carpenter ants often find their way inside Washington homes while out foraging for food. Once inside it is common for them to establish satellite colonies within a home’s structural wood. These ants are often mistaken for termites, but unlike termites, carpenter ants do not feed on the wood they are tunneling through. They only use wooden structures as nesting sites.

carpenter ant on floor

Why am I seeing winged ants flying around?

Only the reproductive members of a carpenter ant colony have wings. These winged ants emerge from a mature colony in the late spring or early summer. After swarming they find mates and establish new colonies. Discovering winged ants crawling on the walls of your home is a sign of a carpenter ant nest inside your home. Finding winged ants flying around the outside of your home means there is a nest nearby. If you are seeing winged ants either inside or outside of your home, immediate help should be sought from a professional pest control expert.

Why do I have a problem with carpenter ants?

Carpenter ants are living in your Washington yard or home because it is providing them with easy access to sources of food and water. Carpenter ants, like other species of ants, forage for food in open containers of trash, compost bins, pet food bowls, gardens, and outdoor eating areas. They have their water needs met through leaking outdoor hoses, clogged gutters, and even birdbaths.

Once carpenter ants are in your yard, foraging for food, it is only a matter of time before they find their way inside your home through small openings in its exterior walls. They then may decide to stay and create a satellite nest within your home’s structural wood. Since carpenter ants are highly attracted to water-damaged wood, the presence of carpenter ants in or near your home may indicate an underlying moisture problem that needs to be addressed.

Where do carpenter ants nest?

Carpenter ants prefer to nest in moist or decaying wood or wood that has been previously damaged by other insects. They create a main nest for their colony, then once the colony reaches capacity, they expand the colony by creating satellite nests. Their large colony size and many nesting sites make them a difficult pest to control and eliminate.
 
Outside, carpenter ants create their nests in rotting trees, tree stumps, large tree roots, fallen trees, and in old piles of firewood. Inside, carpenter ants nest in structural wood behind walls, above ceilings, and below floors. They also place their nests in pieces of water-damaged wood around windows, doors, sinks, chimneys, and the roofline.

Are carpenter ants dangerous?

Carpenter ants pose the biggest danger to properties built in or near wooded areas, though a carpenter ant infestation may pop up in any structure located in the Pacific Northwest. Carpenter ants are considered a danger because of the structural damage they create while building their nests. Over time, as they tunnel through a home and create more and more nesting galleries, the damage they cause increases. To limit the structural damage they cause in your home, eliminate carpenter ants at the first sign of their presence.

How do I get rid of carpenter ants?

For homeowners looking to eliminate carpenter ants from their home or property, contact the experienced professionals at Prosite Pest Control. At Prosite, we offer effective and comprehensive pest control services that include an inspection.
 
When you contact us, we begin by conducting a thorough inspection of the property. We’ll also locate entry points and determine what conditions in or around your structure are attracting carpenter ants. Upon completion of our inspection, we’ll discuss our findings and recommend a treatment plan to get rid of the carpenter ants.
 
For carpenter ant control, Prosite provides a regularly scheduled treatment every year to protect against structural damage. If you’re interested in learning more about our ant control services, please contact Prosite today.

How do I prevent problems with carpenter ants?

At Prosite, we recommend the following ant prevention tips to keep destructive carpenter ants out of your Washington home:

  • Seal cracks and crevices found in your home’s foundation, exterior walls, and spaces found around utilities (pipes, wire, and ducts).
  • Remove fallen trees and tree stumps from your yard.
  • Unclog gutters and trim trees and bushes away from the exterior.
  • Install de-humidifiers in areas to reduce moisture levels in your home.
  • Remove any wood from your home damaged by water.
  • Ventilate crawl spaces.
  • Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight or for any length of time.
  • Store food in the refrigerator or in air-tight containers.
  • Empty trash cans often.
  • Vacuum your home’s floors often.
 

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