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We have several ant species in Ellensburg. Of all the ants that can get into your Ellensburg home, carpenter ants are the worst. This is because carpenter ants don't just get into your food and cause contamination; they are also structure infesting pests. Here are a few facts every Ellensburg resident should know about carpenter ants.

carpenter ant on a tree
carpenter ant eating wood

What Carpenter Ants Look Like

They are the largest ants that will get into your home. Workers will be between 6 and 12 mm in length, depending on the species. They're also polymorphic. That means a single colony can have workers of varying sizes. The winged ants produced by carpenter ant colonies are about twice as large as the workers. A queen ant can be as much as 20 mm long. That is a little larger than ¾ of an inch.

Carpenter ants have six legs and three distinct body parts. If you look closely at the waist (between the thorax and abdomen) you'll see one tiny node.

A carpenter ant will be black, dark red, or a combination of the two colors, depending on the species. The most destructive carpenter ant is the black carpenter ant, which is entirely black.

Why Are Carpenter Ants Structural Pests?

In nature, these ants live in dead wood. They establish colonies in the voids of living trees and tunnel through heart rot, which is dead wood. When trees fall to the ground and become logs, these ants tunnel through every portion because it is all dead wood. They're also fond of creating their nests in stumps. If you have stumps, logs, or trees with heart rot near your home, these ants could become a problem for you.

When carpenter ants get into homes, they can do damage. While they prefer to chew their galleries in soft wood, they consider all of the wood in your home to be appropriate for harborage because every timber of your home is dead wood. They'll start with spots that have been softened due to moisture damage and extend their tunnels into sound timbers.

How Fast Can Carpenter Ants Destroy A Home?

Carpenter ants that go untreated can do quite a bit of damage to your home, over time. But it takes years for extensive damage to occur. Before you allow this to sound like good news, carpenter ants cost U.S. property owners hundreds of millions in repairs every year. This is because they are sometimes difficult to detect or the warning signs are not taken seriously. If you see the warning signs, this is definitely a problem you don't want to leave untreated. It could impact your retirement.

Carpenter Ant Warning Signs

Winged Ants: We usually get calls when people see winged ants inside the house. It is hard to ignore a few dozen winged ants that are about ¾ of an inch long. But, surprisingly, some people suck those ants up with a vacuum and do nothing. This is because they don't realize that those ants didn't come in from the outside. They emerged from a nest inside the home.

Frass: Carpenter ants push sawdust and feces out of their tunnels. This mixture is called frass. The problem with frass as a warning sign is that it is often pushed out in wall voids or crawl spaces, where it can't be seen. It can also be mistaken for dust or some other benign material. If you see sawdust clinging to walls or piling up on a floor, you should have your home inspected for carpenter ant activity.

Damage: You might see carpenter ant damage. A common location to notice carpenter ant damage is in the lower corners of exterior door frames. But most of the time, the damage these ants do is on the inside of wood.

Ants crawling around: A home that has a carpenter ant infestation is likely to have a scout ant appear every once in a while. The problem with this warning sign is that carpenter ants are nocturnal. Scouts may appear at night while you're sleeping. Scout ants are also missed as a warning sign. Some people think these individual ants just found a way inside, and that they'll find their way back outside. They don't realize that the ant came from a nest inside. Do you see the problem?

What To Do About Carpenter Ants In Ellensburg

If you see warning signs, or hopefully long before you see signs, reach out to Prosite Pest Control. We can provide inspection, treatments, and year-round residential pest control plans that include coverage for carpenter ants. Don't let these ant pests chew into your equity. Take action and have those ants eliminated. 


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