Battling the Carpenter Ant: Charlotte’s Home Destroyer

How to Identify Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are a common nuisance in North Carolina. These ants are rather large, especially compared to other pest ant species such as fire ants. They range from a quarter inch to a half inch in size, and while black is the most common color, they can also be a brown or even reddish color. Carpenter ants have a distinctive, small node between their thorax and abdomen and a much more rounded thorax than other ant species

What Time of Year Are Carpenter Ants Active?

Carpenter ants are active from spring and early fall. During the warmer months, they build their nests and grow their colonies—this is when they’ll be most active and is the best time to try to prevent them. During the fall, you may see an uptick in slight activity as they try to gather food and resources as the winter approaches. 

Carpenter ants can also be tricky to spot because they are most active at night. You may never see them in your home during the day, but if you begin to notice large, black ants during the night, you may have carpenter ants. 

Differences between Carpenter Ants and Termites 

Because carpenter ants and termites cause similar problems for a home, they can often be confused. However, in order to have an effective treatment plan, it’s important to know which pest you’re actually dealing with. The biggest difference between these two pests is their appearance.

While carpenter ants are often black pests with bent antennae and three distinct sections of their body, termites are a brownish/white color with straight antennae and no clear distinction between a thorax and an abdomen. If the pest you see has wings, carpenter ants’top wings are going to be different in size from bottom wings,while termites’ wings are the same length. 

Do You Have an Infestation of Carpenter Ants?

The most obvious sign of a carpenter ant infestation is the appearance of large, black ants, especially at night. However, because of their nocturnal habits, you may not always notice their appearance. 

If you spot one or two carpenter ants every now and then, it may not be a sign of an infestation—though it’s definitely something you should keep an eye on. On the other hand, if you spot a flying carpenter ant near your house or especially inside your home, this is a definite sign of an infestation, and a pest control technician should be called in immediately. 

If you never see a carpenter ant, there are other signs that you may have an infestation. One common sign is “frass.” Unlike termites, wood is not a food source for carpenter ants—they just tunnel through it. To create these tunnels, they push aside the leftover sawdust, and this is known as frass. If you have an infestation, you may notice frass near damaged wood in your home. 

Depending on the size of the infestation, you may even hear the carpenter ant colony at work. It’ll sound like a rustling sound behind your walls and will be more evident during the evening. Actually hearing the ants means you have a large infestation, and you should contact pest control services to deal with the issue. 

What Damage Can a Carpenter Ant Infestation Cause?

As their name suggests, carpenter ants tunnel through wood. This can damage the structural integrity of the wooden components of your home. Carpenter ants work slowly, so you may not even notice the structural damage at first—and since the tunneling is internal to the structure, you may not see external damage except for maybe some small entrance holes. 

The good news is that because of how slowly they work, the sooner you treat the problem, the less damage there will be. However, leaving an infestation can cause costly repairs to your home. 

Carpenter Ants Prevention Tips

There are some measures you can take to prevent ants from entering your home. Here are some steps for carpenter ant prevention in North Carolina: 

  • Moisture Control: Carpenter ants are attracted to moist, decaying wood. Make sure humid areas in your home such as your bathroom or crawl space have moisture control measures such as dehumidification. 
  • Remove Dead Wood from Your Yard: Carpenter ants will only enter your home if they’re already in your yard. Removing wood sources such as tree stumps, injured trees, or branches close to the home will deter them from moving into your yard or home. 
  • Carefully Select Firewood: If you have a fireplace, you may be bringing pests such as carpenter ants into your home with the firewood you purchase. Store firewood outside your home, carefully inspect it for any tunnel entrances, and watch it as it first begins to warm to make sure bugs aren’t trying to escape. 

While there are DIY solutions to getting rid of carpenter ants, these may not be effective—especially if you don’t realize the scale of the infestation. If you notice signs of carpenter ants, the best thing to do is call your local Charlotte pest control company like Clint Miller Exterminating. 

Keep Your Charlotte Home Safe from Carpenter Ants with Clint Miller

Carpenter ants are known as silent destroyers in the pest world. The best way to keep your home safe is to prevent them in the first place—that’s why we offer reoccurring ant control services starting as low as $49.99 a month. With our pest packages, we’ll treat your home regularly to ensure a pest-free home. 

However, if you suspect an infestation, we can get rid of the problem for you—if we didn’t get rid of them the first time and you see a recurrence within 40 days, we’ll treat your home again for free! Whether it’s prevention or active extermination, call Clint Miller Exterminating today for your free quote!

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