Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants are a particular problem in northern Michigan these days.  As more and more structures are built in the midst of nature herself, these insects will have a much better vantage point to gain entry and set up shop in your home or business.

And before I go on I need to clear up a very common and very FALSE notion regarding carpenter ants.  They never, never, ever EAT wood.  I would say that about 85% of folks that call us with concerns about carpenter ants are scared to death that their home or business is being devoured by these ants.  That’s just not true.  Carpenter ants are being confused with termites when this line of thinking is in play.  Carpenter ants bore out soft, often water damaged wood and the by product of this boring is called frass. 

Frass is often the piles of very fine, sawdust looking material that you find in certain locations within a structure.  The composition of this frass will determine whether it is the work of a carpenter ant or that of another type of ant or even a wood destroying beetle.  It would take carpenter ants years to do to a structure what termites can do in a few days.  In fact, once the nest is of adequate size, the carpenter ants stop their boring and removing of wood.  This is why there are times when an owner will think that the problem has just gone away on its own, when in fact, they’ve simply stopped expanding and the frass piles stop showing up.  No worries, in just a matter of days or months, these piles will return and the colony will once again grow in size. 

Carpenter ants, as with most ants, are incredible insects with a tenacity to survive and thrive.  They are patient and resilient.  They are also phenomenal builders and developers.  Did I mention sneaky too?  A carpenter ant nest can go undetected in a persons home or business for years and years.  Its often not until they swarm or conditions change that cause their food source to dry up, that they all of a sudden become a problem inside.  It really depends on their environment and where the nest is located as to how often, if at all, they are noticed foraging around. 

There are several ways to control these insects, both from a preventative stand point and an existing colony stand point.  Both require an intense and incredibly detailed inspection.  I have spent as many as 2 hours on one call or multiple visits to locate an existing nest in order to treat it effectively and remove the problem.  Here’s an interesting bit of information for you.  Carpenter ants have one main colony with multiple satellite colonies that grow themselves while also bringing provision to the main colony.  More times than not, the colony that is destroyed and removed from a structure by one of us is a satellite colony.  Why is this important you ask?  Well, good question.  We can eliminate a satellite colony most of the time and the structure is good to go.  The problem is this.   Once a satellite colony is destroyed and those ants stop reporting for duty to the main colony, a giant red flag is raised and the alarm sounds at the main colony.  It may happen within a few days or weeks or it might take a couple of years, but eventually, the main colony is going to send out scouts to the satellite colony to determine what is going on and begin the rebuilding of that satellite colony.  Pretty cool hah?  This is where the preventative side of pest control becomes such a key component to the ongoing protection of any given structure. 

A power spray or base spray is an effective way to treat carpenter ants from a preventative stand point.  Baiting and domino type pesticides are a way to treat existing infestations. 

If you think you have a problem with these creatures, please give us a call and we’d be glad to lend a hand.  Again, inspections and consultations are always free.

Pictures on this page taken from internet with no one listed to credit!

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