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Carpenter Ant Control around your Home this Winter

It may surprise you, but every home is at risk during the winter. Your home in the McAllen area is a prime place for these ant species to build their nest in damaged or dry wood. They cause much more home damage than your common pavement ants or pharaoh ants. These natives to the United States find food sources in your kitchen and entry points throughout your home. They build nests in the wall voids where ant killer is almost ineffective.

This type of ant is tricky to get rid of, but there are some things you can do to prevent the ant colonies from invading. The best treatment is prevention. We’ll also tell you what attracts ants, and the best treatment methods for a carpenter ant infestation.

Keep in mind that professional help with ants is almost always necessary when the ants have infiltrated the walls of your home. Always be careful when seeking and treating a nest. Some pest control companies may not need to drill holes in your walls to treat an ant problem effectively.

Facts to Help You Eliminate Ants

Description

  • Black, red, brown, or combination black-and-red coloration
  • Workers are 1/4-1/2 inch long
  • Colonies can range from 10,000 to 50,000 ants strong, depending on the colony age
  • Usually, only have one wingless queen

Signs

  • These carpenter insects make nests in wood, so you might see wood shavings or wood bits
  • Tunnels and nests are smooth, like sanded wood
  • If you see an ant swarm, or flying ants, in front of your house, chances are you’ve got an infestation
  • If you see an ant crawling around, you’ve obviously got a major problem

Habits

  • These ants generally prefer soft, damaged wood, but will destroy hard, dry wood also
  • They need water to survive, so watch for moist areas, leakages, or damaged, wet wood
  • When a colony matures, it will swarm. The queen sends out winged kings and queens to breed and create separate colonies. When the new colony settles, they lose their wings
  • Workers forage as far as 300 feet from the nest, or further
  • Mature colonies create satellite nests to widen forage areas. Satellite nests are comprised only by worker ants, eggs, larvae, and pupae. A pheromone trail connects the main colony nest to the satellite nests.

Food

  • These ants do not eat wood, unlike termites. They only carve wood with their powerful jaws but do not consume the wood
  • They also eat fruit, other insects, juices produced by some insects, or any protein-based or sugar-based food sources they can forage.
  • They need water for survival, and the water pipes inside regular residential homes in the McAllen area often accumulate condensation, just like a cold glass of water on a hot day. This water may not cause damage to a home, but it can be enough to sustain a satellite nest or colony indefinitely.

Ant Problems versus Termite Problems

Similarities

  • Both excavate in wood and cause expensive and extensive home damage
  • Both swarm, the process of new colony production by harboring winged, breeding males and females and releasing them during the spring
  • Both exhibit colony hierarchy and organization

Differences

  • Appearance. The termite’s waist is broad, but the ant waist is extremely narrow. Ant wing morphology includes four wings of disparate sizes, but termite wings come only in pairs and are identical.
  • Food sources. Termites feed on wood, and carpenter ants feed on fruits, meats, and other insects
  • Defense. Ants of this particular species emit formic acid, especially when biting, which causes extreme pain in the victim.

Get rid of Carpenter Ants and Eliminate Ant Problems

Remember that total ant eradication is extremely challenging to do on your own. The best way to destroy a colony for good is to find the nest and destroy it. However, even after you’ve eradicated an entire colony, the unhatched eggs may survive and hatch weeks, months, or even years later.

Follow these suggestions for do-it-yourself treatment methods:

  • Purchase over-the-counter ant baits. They transport these back to the nest and distribute for mass ant casualties over time
  • Find the main nest. Find an ant and bait it with honey or pieces of bread. Follow the ant until you find where the nest is located. Keep in mind that very mature colonies can create massive and extensive nests, so one entry or exit point may not necessarily indicate the bulk of the nest site. You may also have found a satellite nest rather than the mother colony nest. Be patient when looking for the original nest site
  • Once you’ve found the nest site, drill holes into the nest and products with boric acid as the active ingredient. You can purchase these from your local hardware store. The acid will kill the ants that come in contact with it.
  • Keep in mind that your walls may or may not contain the main colony nest, so be careful and watchful
  • Seal your home with silicone caulking. Cracks and crevices around doors and windows or along sill plates are easy places for ants to gain entry. Modern residential construction includes weep holes at the bottom of exterior walls and windows for water drainage, but these are excellent places for ants to enter. We don’t recommend sealing weep holes around your home since that could lead to mold, damage wood. and worsen the problem.

Best Practices to Get Rid of Ants: Professional Pest Control

The best way to eliminate ant problems is to call local pest control. Fox Pest Control knows how to deal with these kinds of pests and is more than a match for the job. Our Pest Professional technicians will work with you to determine entry points, identify the ant species infesting your home, and create a protection plan suited to the needs of your specific residence.

We use highly effective, commercial-grade products that are specifically suited to eradicate entire ant colonies and prevent them from ever returning to your home. Our products are safe for children and pets, and your safety and peace of mind are our Pest Professional technicians’ number one priority. Call today for a free estimate if you suspect an ant control problem in or around your home. We work hard to get the job done right, the first time. Pests ... it’s what we do.

Posted on December 2, 2019.

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