Carpenter Ants and their Control
(Click here for information about small ants.)
There are five species of carpenter ants in Missouri, but the most common is the Pennsylvania carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus, shown on the right), which is black in color and ranges in adult size from 3/8 of an inch to slightly over one inch in length.
In nature, carpenter ants nest outside, usually in hollow, wooden void areas such as dead trees, abandoned termite galleries, and fallen timber. They can also nest in man-made items such as fence posts, telephone poles, electrical conduit, PVC furniture, and playground equipment.
When carpenter ants infest buildings, they tend to live in structural voids such as roof soffits, cinder blocks, wall voids, crawl spaces, and door frames. In general, carpenter ants prefer wood that has already been damaged by moisture.
Carpenter Ant Damage
Unlike termites, carpenter ants don't actually eat wood. They excavate galleries in the wood, in which they lay their eggs and raise their young.
Also unlike termites, whose galleries are rough and contain mud, carpenter ant galleries are sanded smooth and kept meticulously clean. In fact, the smoothness of a carpenter ant gallery is how most exterminators quickly distinguish carpenter ant damage from termite damage.
Over time, carpenter ants can cause great damage to a home, often necessitating costly repairs. Carpenter ants can infest any part of a home, from the foundation to the top of the roof; so repairs may be quite expensive, sometimes involving erecting expensive scaffolding so that damaged wood high in the structure can be repaired, or lifting a home off its foundation so the sill plate can be replaced.
Carpenter Ant Control
There's no single "best" way to exterminate carpenter ants. Every situation is unique, and control methods should be customized to an individual property to achieve the maximum effectiveness.
At Buckingham Pest Control, we utilize a variety of treatment methods depending upon the exact specie of carpenter ants, their location, the condition of the wood that they are infesting, and the season. Treatment measures may include:
- Consultation regarding removal and replacement of moisture-damaged wood.
- Correction of moisture problems, such as leaky gutters or downspouts.
- Removal of overhead tree limbs or limbs that touch the home.
- Treatment with specialized insecticides formulated as liquids, baits, granular products, or dusts, as appropriate to each individual situation.