Having ants in your home is a nuisance. These tiny bugs can be frustratingly difficult to get rid of but are generally more of a threat to your pantry than your personal safety. However, carpenter ants are a different story. Unlike their smaller cousins, large carpenter ants can ruin wooden structures in your home and cause lasting damage. To protect your property, you ought to know why carpenter ants invade Baltimore homes.
What Are Carpenter Ants?
Carpenter ants are the largest of the home-invading ants in the continental U.S. They can range in size from about 1/2 to 5/8 inch and are usually solid black in color, but may also be red or brown. Like many ant species that live near or in human habitation, carpenter ants have an appetite for human food — sugar and protein-rich substances in particular. What sets them apart from other types of ants is that they can build massive colonies inside of wooden structures.
As their name suggests, carpenter ants are expert woodcarvers. They create elaborate galleries with perfectly polished tunnels and chambers to house their colony. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t actually eat wood, but instead, carve it out for construction purposes.
Carpenter ants are known to splinter off into satellite colonies when the main colony has grown to a significant size. They can establish a large territory and workers have been known to travel up to 300 feet from their colony to forage for food. Because of their fondness for travel, seeing a carpenter ant in your home might not mean you have an infestation, but it’s a good reason to keep your guard up.
What Attracts Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants infest homes to establish shelter and obtain food. There are a few factors that could make your home attractive to them:
- Excess moisture: If you have water or moisture accumulating around your property, it could be attracting ants. Leaky plumbing, faulty gutters, and even air conditioner condensation are likely causes.
- Food availability: Sugary substances, processed snacks, and meat will attract carpenter ants indoors. If you keep a garden, food sources like nectar, honeydew, and small insects will provide a reliable meal.
- Damaged wood: Carpenter ants prefer damp, rotting, or damaged wood to build their nests. Old stumps and logs in the yard are common sites for carpenter ant colonies, and water-damaged windowsills, door frames, and wall voids are prime targets indoors.
What Makes Carpenter Ants Dangerous
Although not as quick to destroy your home like termites, carpenter ants can cause significant damage over time. The tunnels of their galleries will weaken the structural integrity of the wood they inhabit, but signs of damage are often not visible. This is what makes carpenter ants especially troublesome.
The only visible signs of a carpenter ant nest are smooth rounded holes and small piles of discarded wood and waste expelled through them. These entrance points can be hard to spot, making eliminating the problem difficult. But even worse is the fact that carpenter ants often establish satellite colonies around the perimeter of their main colony, so destroying the entire population at once is unlikely.
Carpenter ants can be tough to get rid of on your own. That’s why the best thing you can do to protect your Baltimore home is call the experts at Pest Czar. We have a variety of affordable residential pest control plans to solve your carpenter ant problem along with any other pests you may have. Our Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach ensures that your carpenter ants are eliminated at the source and your home stays protected all year long.
For total protection against carpenter ants and other common Baltimore pests, get in touch with us today.