Carpenter ant Travis CountyWith temperatures rising, ants are becoming more active.

One of the most common types of ants we hear about this time of year are carpenter ants. Another is acrobat ants. Both are wood boring ants who can climb onto structures and burrow into older, water softened wood.

We’ll focus on carpenter ants here.

The first thing to know is that carpenter ants, unlike termites, do not eat wood. So having these will mostly be a nuisance rather than a structural concern like with termites.

How to Know If You Have Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are some of the largest ants out there, with adult worker ants about 1⁄4 inch to 5/8 inch. Winged reproductive ants are 3/4 inch. The winged ones are often seen in the spring as “swarmers.” Swarmers don’t necessarily mean you have an issue in your home as they may just be from a nearby wooded area or other source.

Carpenter ants are typically a combination of black, red, and reddish orange or solid black.

Ants are most active in the evening when they forage for food. You can spot them around your home late in the day at dusk or even in the dark with a flashlight. Look particularly around gutters and anywhere that trees are nearby or branches touch the home.

Another tell-tale sign of carpenter ant issues is a small pile of debris, or frass, which indicates a nest is likely nearby. The debris looks like small wood shavings or sawdust.

How To Prevent Carpenter Ants

  • Look for wet areas near the home such as leaky faucets, air conditioner drips or other sources of moisture. Carpenter ants prefer moist wood for nests so this could entice them to those areas. Repair and dry out leaks and keep a strong air flow underneath and around homes and in attics.
  • Trim tree limbs and branches that touch the structure. Cut back bushes or brush off the house. This can reduce their pathways to the house. It also makes it much easier to see if there are ants walking onto the foundation and walls.
  • Replace water damaged or previously damaged wood (such as from past termite damage).
  • Remove or move tree stumps, logs, firewood and debris away from the home.

How to Treat A Carpenter Ant Issue

One of the most effective ways to treat carpenter ants is finding the nest. If they are climbing onto your house you can try tracing the activity back to the nest and puff an insecticide dust or aerosol into it. Dusts work well because they typically travel further if applied properly with a bulb duster.

Note that boric acid powder, which is great for roaches and some other ants, is not effective on carpenter ants.

Small sugar ant baits from home stores don’t work for carpenter ants either. Carpenter ant specific baits are needed.

Beyond baits, sprays that do not repel the ants can work well. These sprays are not detected by the ant, so they will crawl over it and bring it back to the nest and even touch other ants and transmit it that way.

If you are seeing carpenter ants in or on your home we can provide a specific carpenter ant treatment using a combination of sprays and baits as appropriate to provide long-lasting control. Call us at 512-443-0123 or fill out our online pest quote form for a fast carpenter ant treatment quote.