It’s every homeowner’s nightmare; you’re in your crawlspace checking a rat trap or checking on some pipe insulation and you notice what looks like sawdust over by the foundation. When you investigate, you find, to your horror, that a nest of carpenter ants have been feasting on the sill plate that supports your house. To fix this your home needs to be jacked up so the plate can be replaced. What a complete nightmare!
Carpenter Ants are a Year Round Concern
In our temperate environment, carpenter ants are perfectly happy gnawing through your home 12 months of the year. They won’t let up so you can’t either. Only by keeping a constant eye out for signs and with proactive treatment can you keep these brutal pests at bay.
Look for signs of activity. Generally, and unfortunately, finding signs of carpenter ants is sometimes easy; look for small piles of what looks like sawdust near the base of walls around the inside of the basement or crawlspace. The technical term for this dust is ‘frass’. If you find any frass you’re close (but you should Call Us Right Away!). Gently probe the nearby timber with a screwdriver to see if there are cavities or voids in the wood. It shouldn’t be that hard to spot. If you suspect activity in an area but the signs aren’t immediately visible, you’ll need to move to setting some bait.
Use bait to track location and movement. By placing bait in your attic or crawlspace you can usually draw them out and locate where their nest might be by following their movement. A classic home mixture is to combine Borax with powdered sugar (1 part Borax to 3 parts sugar). This is a poisonous bait that attracts the ants with the sugar. The bait is then taken back to the nest and fed to the rest of the colony.
Watch for a thin line of ants that will meander back to their point of entry. This bait method should only be used to locate the colony as it’s not a sure method for extermination. It’s best to contact a professional Pest Control Service so they can expertly deal with the colony and stand by their warranty.
Proper identification is important. There are many varieties of ants and some pose less of a danger than others but to know for sure what you’re dealing with always identify the type of ant. A carpenter and is all black and can range in size from just over .5 CM to around almost 2 CM in size.
Here is a really excellent resource for identifying whether your ant is a carpenter or not; http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/carpenter-ants/.
Always consider your friendly neighbourhood pest control experts to efficiently address the issue before it’s had the time to effect massive damage to your home.