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  • Preventing carpenter ants this fall in O’Fallon, IL

    September 28, 2020 | Blog
  • How to Prevent Carpenter Ants in O’Fallon, IL

    Carpenter ants look a lot like regular ants. You’ve probably seen them in your home or elsewhere. However, carpenter ants can do a lot more damage.

    Carpenter ant infestations typically occur in the late fall or spring. If you see carpenter ants inside your home in the winter, they’ve probably taken up permanent residence. Because of their ability to do a lot of damage quickly, it’s important to deal with them before they become a problem.

    Here’s what you need to know about these wood-eating pests and how to get rid of them.

    What Is a Carpenter Ant?

    Carpenter ants are among the longest and most common ants in O’Fallon, IL. They vary in color and may appear to be red and black, black, gray, brown, or yellow. Their size is a distinctive characteristic, with adults growing between 0.25 and 0.5 inches. Carpenter ants resemble termites but have darker bodies with narrow waists; they are recognizable by a rounded thorax and bent antennae.

    Their colonies are divided into castes with different functions, characteristics, and sizes. The easiest to recognize carpenter ant is the swarmer cast, responsible for reproduction. These ants have two pairs of wings. Because their colonies can grow rapidly, they can inflict structural damage on your home in a very short period.

    Where They Live

    Carpenter ants build colonies in hollowed out or wet wood. They build tunnels inside the wood, which becomes structurally compromised. Wood colonized by carpenter ants becomes dry and smooth and may collapse on contact. Carpenter ants chew wood into sawdust-like material, which is the main way to identify them.

    As the colony expands, some of the ants will leave the nest to find in a new home in the spring. This is typically when they are spotted.

    What Do Carpenter Ants Eat?

    The more you know about carpenter ants, the easier they will be to get rid of. First, they do not eat wood; they move the wood out of the way to make tunnels. Instead, Carpenter ants like to eat sugar and protein. They’ll eat just about anything, including meat, syrup, greens, honey, and jelly. They particularly love aphids and other scale insects.

    Worker ants look for food close to their colony. Food is distributed among all members. Typically, carpenter ants establish their homes with access to moisture. This usually involves an outside source. However, they are also attracted to wet areas of your home.

    Why Do Carpenter Ants Sometimes Come Inside?

    Moist wood with enough water attracts carpenter ants looking to expand their colony. They can easily chew through softwood, allowing for more efficient growth. If your home has rotting or damaged wood, it’s an attractive prospect for carpenter ants. Carpenter ants spotted in the fall may be looking for additional wood to begin a satellite colony.

    Carpenter ants like to live in areas with little circulation, access to soil, and condensation. In the fall, they also look for warm areas. Common areas are the attic, crawl space, porch, roof, windows, or basement. They also like wood baseboards and old siding.

    Tips to Prevent Carpenter Ant Infestations

    Here are a few tips that can help you get rid of carpenter ants in your O’Fallon, IL, home this fall.

    1. Inspection

    Inspect your property for carpenter ant activity. This will help you figure out whether they live inside the house or forage for food there. It’s best to leave this up to a licensed pest control professional who knows what to look for.

    2. Consider Control Options

    After the inspection is completed, exterminators identify nest locations by observing foraging trails. There are a variety of control options, including:

    • Baiting along the foraging trails
    • Non-Repellent Spray along the perimeter
    • Treating voids are foam or powder used on the nest itself

    3. Clean Up Damp and Rotting Wood

    Both before and after pest control, prevention measures help avoid further problems with carpenter ants. Clear away rotting trees and piles of lumber, fix any plumbing leaks and check your home for areas with damp wood.

    4. Baiting

    Exterminators often place ant baits along foraging trails. The ant bait attracts carpenter ants, which take the bait back to the colony. Once ingested, the bait kills all ants that encounter it.

    Tip: Do not place repellent in areas where you apply ant baits. Otherwise, the ants will be driven away from the bait, which you want them to take back to their colony.

    Exterminators use repellent insecticides to keep ants away from your home. Pest control professionals typically spray around the perimeter of the home or near tempting food sources, such as the kitchen or where you feed your pets.

    What’s Next?

    For help managing carpenter ant issues this fall, rely on an experienced pest control company in O’Fallon, Illinois. Exterminators have the expertise to find and eliminate these determined pests.