If you identify carpenter ants in a tree, it indicates the tree has some form of dead tissue decaying wood. However, carpenter ants are not the direct cause of any harm to your trees. Those carpenter ants feed on existing dead wood fibers present on tree limbs. Therefore, controlling carpenter ants' infestation and other insects that damage trees is unnecessary if your trees are healthy.

Rotting Wood is an Indication Carpenter Ants are Present

When black ants or carpenter ants are present, this is an indication there is rotting wood somewhere on the tree cavities. Thus, tree cavities must be inspected for carpenter ants and verify whether the rotting wood has weakened the rest of the tree.

Can ants damage trees?

Another culprit for wood decay on older trees is excess moisture and decay. Carpenter ants use the decay of this decaying wood to colonize the tree cavities. They use prior insect tunnels, cracks, holes, and knots on a decaying limb to access the tree.

Controlling carpenter ants on a tree and within the cavities can prove hard to accomplish. Yet, an infestation can be reduced by controlling carpenter ants on a tree, in trees, inside, and in nearby structures and areas they are not welcome.

Carpenter ants on tree

Do Carpenter Ants Eat Wood?

Carpenter ants, unlike termites, do not eat it. Rather, they remove the wood as they create tunnels and galleries for their nests. The primary food sources of those black ants in house are proteins, sugar, and other sweets. Outdoors carpenter ants eat both living and dead insects. They are attracted to honeydew, a sweet liquid produced by aphids and scale insects.

Carpenter Ants Nesting in Trees and Homes

You might find carpenter ants in trees, especially larger, mature trees with hollow cavities. They live in rotted, decayed wood, although some nests may extend into sound heartwood in the tree's center.

Rotting wood is an indication that carpenter ants are present in large trees. In addition, infested trees should be checked to determine whether the rot has weakened the tree enough for it to become a risk of failure

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants in a Tree

One way to get rid of carpenter ants in a tree is by applying dust insecticides inside the nest cavity. It is not recommended to treat any wounds to the tree with wound dressing or to seal off the cavity of a tree.

These treatments are not needed and will not prevent or get rid of any decay or carpenter ant activity. In addition, to prevent further damage to a tree's health it is not necessary to cut down viable trees infested by an ant nest.

Treatment for Carpenter Ants in Trees

You will discover there are ways to control insect infestations and eliminate winged carpenter ants inside your trees. Besides eliminating the ant infestation, you need to learn how this affects other healthy trees.

If you put off controlling the ants inside a tree, you allow the colony to continue burrowing into the tree. At the same time, other trees become targets for establishing more satellite colonies of nearby trees and buildings by the parent colony.

Carpenter ant colony on the tree

Are Carpenter Ants nesting in my home?

You might sometimes find ants within openings in the bark created by the environments. These environmental conditions include a lightning strike, broken branches caused by the wind, or low temperatures causing wood decay in young trees.

Once the nest has been created and matured, the colony will construct a satellite nest. The winged ants, pupae, and older larvae will live here. Because the first satellite colonies have no eggs, they can be constructed in a climate that is relatively dry.

Occasionally, carpenter ants with wings infest the house and ruin window frames, door sills, deck boards, and other things made of lumber.

In addition, most wood decay starts with it being exposed to moisture. A healthy tree exposed to excessive amounts of moisture allows fungal growth and the start of wood decay.

What are carpenter ants eating when they are in your tree?

These are not eating your tree. They are chewing through it to form a variety of tunnels and chambers to move through. The chewed wood (also known as frass) is discarded by the ants, why a sure sign of their presence is seeing piles of wood shavings near the tree.

They don't eat the wood. Shredded fragments of coarse sawdust, sometimes containing dead ants, will be discarded from the nest.

A carpenter's ant infestation uses old insect tunnels' holes, cracks, and knots to acquire access to these areas. You might also find these ants in other areas, such as logs and old tree stumps.

If a carpenter ant damage a large tree deeply, that tree was already decaying due to other tree diseases or insect infestations. Stress, mechanical injury, environmental conditions, disease, or other insects are responsible for killing limbs or sections of the trees in which these insects can live.

How to Stop Carpenter Ant Activity

Apply the dust directly into the nest cavity. Sealing tree cavities or treating tree wounds with wound dressings is not advised. Such treatments are unnecessary and will not eliminate nor prevent decay or carpenter ant activity.

Also, cutting down otherwise viable trees that are infested with these ants is generally unnecessary unless the tree poses a risk.

There is no easy way to eradicate them once a carpenter ant nest is discovered. You can spray insecticide directly onto the nest to kill ant colony.

Spraying insecticide

If the nest cannot be located, bait food with a combination of 1 percent boric acid and 10 percent sugar water. Worker ants inside eat the baited food and share it with the rest of the colony through regurgitation.

This is a slow process and could take weeks to months. Do not put insecticide directly on the food because the ant killer for yard will kill the workers before they return and share the food with the colony.

Contact Us to Eradicate a Carpenter Ant Infestation

When you have an infestation of black ants to carpenter ants, A.N.T. Pest Control's best ant control services can help. Call us today at 815-215-7211 for a free estimate to eradicate an infestation.

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1200 S Cedar Rd #2D/E
New Lenox, IL 60451

815.215.7211

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