Carpenter ants are considered a serious pest here in the United States. These insects cause serious structural damage to your property. But, do you need to be careful about carpenter ants in the winter as well?
We receive several calls from Tinley Park residents complaining about the nesting of big black ants in the house. While most people are not educated about insects, you should be aware of these dangerous carpenter ant species.
What Are Carpenter Ants?
Carpenter ants belong to the genus Camponotus. These insects are polymorphic which means the size of worker ants varies. The queen is wingless, while males and females get wings when the colony matures. It generally takes 2 years for the colonies to mature. Their nests are often located near places with moisture. Their food menu consists of sugar and protein based items like meat.
Carpenter ants can be yellow, dark brown, or red and black. These big ants form a huge ant colony often called ant swarmers. The worrying thing is that you may see carpenter ants in the winter, and fall as well. Every year homeowners spend millions of dollars in repair expenses for the damage caused by carpenter ants.
Where Do Carpenter Ants Nest?
Carpenter ants usually make their shelter outdoors. You can find carpenter ant nests in decaying or rotting wood, firewood, or rotting trees. These ants like areas with moisture and water. If the foundation of your house had any water damage, there are sufficient chances of carpenter ant infestation.
Carpenter ants go dormant in winter. But, they may build nests in warm areas like your walls, or the foundations to have access to heat. When they nest inside your home, they will remain active during the winter and fall, away from the cold weather outdoors.
When Are Carpenter Ants Active?
Carpenter ants typically become active in your yard during early spring or summer, but it will not take them very long to enter inside the house. These ants eat protein and sugar for food. These insects sometimes even make satellite colonies that make them even more complicated to treat.
These ants typically go dormant during the winter season to avoid the cold weather. But you may still see them in fall or winter if they have built their shelter in a wall or the foundation of your house to have access to sufficient heat.
Do Carpenter Ants Die Off In Winter?
Carpenter ants get active in spring and summer, but they may remain that way year-round through all seasons and weather. Carpenter ants may be seen in fall and winter as well. Like other cold blooded species, carpenter ants go dormant during the winter to avoid the cold temperature but do not die.
Carpenter ants like warm temperatures and a cozy environment. If these ants find a place that is warm enough with moderate temperature to remain active during the winter, they will continue destroying your property even in the winter months. It typically happens when the infestation has happened indoors as they often do not go dormant in this situation.
Are Carpenter Ants A Threat To My Home?
Carpenter ants reside in the structural wood causing severe damage to homes. The repair cost can go up to several thousand dollars.
Many of them go dormant for the winter, but that is not always true. If you are seeing carpenter ants active during the winter or even fall, it means there is already a serious infestation indoors. These may have built their shelter in your yard in early spring or summer, then slowly moved into the home during the winter to avoid cold temperatures.
What Attracts Carpenter Ants to a Home?
The primary reason you see carpenter ants inside your house is in the search for a stable food source and shelter. If your home has moisture and wood, it is more likely to have a carpenter ant infestation. These insects generally get into your home through a window or door.
If you leave any food or even pet food residue in the house, it will invite ants into your home. If they find the structure suitable, they may form a colony in places like walls. The presence of carpenter ants may indicate more severe water damage in your home.
How Do A Carpenter Ant Differ from Termite?
Termites have straight arrow like antennae. These pests consume the expensive wood in the structure of your home. But that does not make carpenter ants any less of a threat. Carpenter ants rely on moist wood for shelter.
Carpenter ants do not have arrow like antennae as well. They eat sugar and protein based food for survival. If you spot any of the two pests, call a pest control service provider immediately to prevent any further damage.
What Is More Dangerous Between Termites And Carpenter Ants?
The presence of either of the two is a threat to your home. Both can severely damage the wood in the structures. Homeowners spend millions of dollars in the United States in repair costs against damage caused by these insects.
However, when we compare two of the species, it is the termite that can cause more damage in a short period.
How Do You Get Rid Of Carpenter Ants In The Winter?
If you see a few carpenter ants in winter, do not ignore them. You can get rid of the carpenter ant nests in the winter months as well. The best way to treat a carpenter ant infestation in winter is by calling pest services. A professional has the knowledge required to deal with and eliminate these insects.
There are some D-I-Y methods to control these ants in winter. But do not consider it as the final solution. D-I-Ys cannot replace professional pest control treatment. You do not want the problem to keep growing away from your eyes.
Make A Bait
Making bait is an effective solution to eliminate their entire population during winter. You can buy commercially available bait, or make one at home. Place the mixture on a dish and wait for the ants to carry it to the nest. The baking soda will kill them if they consume it.
Eliminate Scent Trails
Like other ant species, carpenter ants also rely on pheromone trails for their search for food and travel. You can use essential oils like lemon, cedarwood, or tea tree oil to clean these trails. Take the oil on a cotton ball or a cotton cloth and clean the surfaces of your house.
You can also make a spray solution with dish soap and water. Mix the solution properly and spray it on the surfaces. The third alternative to remove pheromone trails is a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar.
Destroy The Nest
If you have found the nest, you can go after destroying it completely to eliminate the ants. Mark points about every six inches of the suspected area. Drill holes on these points.
Once you have drilled the holes, killing the ants is important to prevent a new nest. You may kill ants by dusting boric acid into the holes. A bulb duster would be a suitable option for the task. Repeat the process a few times to confirm all ants die.
Why Am I Seeing Carpenter Ants In Winter Even After Killing The Nest?
You may see carpenter ants even after you kill the colony in winter. The core reason for this is they make satellite colonies. It means there are several micro nests in areas with moderate temperatures in your house. It makes getting rid of carpenter ants a very challenging task especially during winter.
You should take help from pest control services as they carry the knowledge required to get rid of these ants completely.
When Should I Call A Professional?
Though you can try some D-I-Y methods to get rid of carpenter ants in your home, it may not be sufficient. Ignoring for just a few weeks can significantly increase your home repair costs. You should call a pest service provider right away for a 360-degree ant control solution to protect your home.
A.N.T. PEST CONTROL provides quality ant control solutions to protect you and your home. We take special care of your pets and children while designing a custom pest treatment plan for your home or business. We also provide treatment plans for yellow jackets, ants, carpet beetles, and other pests and nuisances at your safety, and convenience. Give us a call today to get a free quote for the treatment of ants or any other insects from your property.