Life can get busy. Who has time to think about black ants crawling around on the back deck? Unfortunately, a lack of attention to an important problem like carpenter ants can come back to bite you. Here are a few things you should do about carpenter ants on your Yakima County property.

carpenter ants on wood
carpenter ants crawling on floor

Recognize That You Have A Carpenter Ant Problem

Proper identification of carpenter ants is one of the reasons Yakima County residents put off dealing with these ants. They don't know that they have a carpenter ant problem. Fortunately, there are a few ways to tell that your property is being damaged by these ants.

Identification — The first sign is seeing carpenter ants and properly identifying them. Carpenter ants are the largest of ant species. They range in size from ⅜ to ½ an inch in length. The winged reproductives are twice this size. Carpenter ant workers are polymorphic, which means they vary in size. In a carpenter ant colony, there are minor and major workers. The workers and the winged reproductives are entirely black or a mixture of black and dark red, depending on the species.

Damage — If carpenter ants are attacking your property, you may see the damage. While a carpenter ant colony can damage wood in areas that you don't see, they can target wood that is fairly easy to inspect, such as the boards on your deck or fence. The best time to inspect the wood on your property is at night. Carpenter ants prefer to be active at night. It isn't enough to see damage. There are many pests that can damage the wood of Yakima County homes. It helps to actually see carpenter ants.

Frass — If carpenter ants have gotten into a wall, it can be difficult to detect them. One sign that may appear is the frass material these ants push out of their tunnels. While frass can be pushed out into wall voids and go undetected, you may be fortunate to see it in sheltered areas around your home. 

Remove Food Sources

If you have a food source that is attracting carpenter ants to your property, it is very helpful to remove the attractant. This will reduce activity near your home and reduce the chances that these ants will get inside the wood of your home—assuming they haven't gotten in already. Here are a few examples of conditions that can attract carpenter ants.

A hummingbird feeder. The sweet liquid inside your hummingbird feeder is the perfect food source for some carpenter ant species. Workers can pick up droplets of sugar water and bring it all the way back to the nest. Move these feeders away from your exterior.

Bird seed. If you have bird feeders with seeds in them, carpenter ants may target them. It is important to note that they aren't nearly as attracted to seeds as they are to sweet liquids, but it is still a good idea to move these feeders away from your exterior.

Honeydew. This is a natural food source that can be a strong attractant for carpenter ants. Honeydew is produced by plant-damaging pests like aphids and scale insects. If you have unhealthy plants in your landscaping, it can start a cycle that ends with carpenter ants damaging your home.

Garbage. There are many pests that can be attracted to the scent of rotting organic matter. Carpenter ants are among them. Store your garbage in plastic bags and put them in covered containers. Remove the trash weekly and deodorize your receptacles if they begin to stink. 

Remove Ideal Habitat Conditions

When carpenter ants explore your property, they will gravitate to areas that provide preferred habitat conditions. If you understand what conditions they prefer, you can work to deter carpenter ant activity.

  • When you collect dead branches in your yard, it is best to burn them immediately. If you can't burn them, or don't burn them, we advise that you put brush piles well away from any structure on your property.

  • Carpenter ants are drawn to moisture. If you have a clogged gutter system and a damp perimeter around your home, you're likely to have more issues with wood rot and carpenter ant activity.

  • Stumps, logs, and trees with heart rot can lure carpenter ants onto your property because these ants prefer to create their galleries in soft wood that is decaying. Remove these and other wood sources.

  • When leaves collect, they can promote moisture issues and attract carpenter ants. Blow leaves out of your landscaping and out from underneath your deck.

What To Do About Carpenter Ant Problems

If you live in Yakima County and you believe your property is being damaged by carpenter ants, the best solution is to contact Prosite Pest Control. We use advanced pest control strategies and products to address carpenter ants and other pest issues. Reach out to us today for immediate service. We can help!

 

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