Carpenter ants are destructive when they gain access into your home, but you can take steps to prevent them from becoming a problem.
The common carpenter ant is a large black insect. While it doesn’t eat wood, it will bore through it to build or expand nests. In the spring, carpenter ants swarm to create new nests, which can cause infestation.
Carpenter ants eat honeydew, which is a sugary secretion from certain insects that feed on plants. When they invade homes, they look for sweet items but are also attracted to fats, grease and meat. Carpenter ants will also seek out water, so you can find them around sinks, bathtubs and dishwashers.
Carpenter ants usually get into homes through cracks and crevices in the foundation, windows or doors. They can also travel into the home by cable, telephone and electrical lines.
Look for infestations in the spaces between walls, attics, hollow doors, window and door casings, wood eaves and structural beams.
Step 1 - Moist or Damp Wood
Carpenter ants like moist or damp wood, so take care of leaking plumbing or chimney flashing. Unclog overflowing gutters. Look for any wet wood around roof edging, attics, and door and window frames.
Step 2 - Wood Used Around the House
When installing wood landscape edging, decking or fencing, take care not to let it come in direct contact with soil. If possible, use pressure-treated wood.
Step 3 - Foundations and Seal Openings
Inspect foundations for cracks where carpenter ants can enter the home. Make sure all openings where wires and pipes extend from your home are tightly sealed.
Step 4 - Firewood
Never stack firewood on the porch, deck, or against the house. Also, keep firewood elevated off the ground.
Step 5 - Insecticide
Spray insecticide around the outside of the house to prevent a carpenter ants infestation.
Step 6 - Trees and Shrubs
Dead tree branches are ideal places for carpenter ants nests, allowing the ants to easily migrate to your home. Trim tree branches and shrubs that are close to or touching your house.
Remove dead or rotting trees to discourage the possibility of carpenter ants nest. Keep your yard free of debris and be vigilant about any carpenter ants crawling in or out of your house.