Finding carpenter ants in your home at any time of the year can be distressing. But many homeowners are especially confused about why they are finding carpenter ants in winter in their home. Most people falsely assume ants and pests disappear during colder months. The reality is that carpenter ants likely found your home the ideal location for food and shelter this winter.
What Are Carpenter Ants?
Just as their name suggests, carpenter ants love wood and are wood-destroying insects.
The typical carpenter ant colony has 10,000 to 20,000 workers and can do a lot of damage to your home. Carpenter ants do not actually eat wood. They chew through the wood to make nests. Carpenter ants create smooth tunnels as they excavate the wood.
Carpenter ants are live throughout most of the United States. They are typically black or a combination of black, red and brown. They are about ½ to 5/8 inch in size.
Food for carpenter ants is abundant outside. They will primarily eat honeydew, plant, and fruit juices, but will also eat other arthropods.
Where Do Carpenter Ants Live?
Carpenter ants usually build their nests outside in locations such as tree stumps, rotting wood, in or under firewood, and under stones such as walkways. Carpenter ants can travel long distances to food sources. They will crawl along wires, trees, and shrubs to enter a home through small cracks and openings.
Carpenter ant workers can travel up to 300 feet from their nest in search of food. Most of this activity takes place at night.
So, Why Do I Have Carpenter Ants Inside My Home?
Carpenter ant colonies are usually outside. This is especially true for the main, parent colony. Satellite nests can be located outside or inside. These colonies usually contain mature workers as well as larvae and pupae that they will care for and feed.
Because carpenter ants are cold-blooded, activity during the winter, or cold months, means they are coming from a warm area – usually your home. We get a lot of calls about carpenter ants when homeowners turn their heat on for the first time in the fall. The added heat can sometimes lead to an increase in their activity.
Treating Carpenter Ants
Eliminating the nest is the key to successful carpenter ant treatment and elimination. Because the nest can be 300 feet from where they are found, locating the nest can be difficult. It may not even be on your property.
My Pest Pros’ Professional pest control experts will use a mix of products including baits, dusts foams, and liquid products to eliminate carpenter ant infestations. Ideally, we will treat the nest, but that is not always possible. The products we used are designed for the ants to take them back to the colony for complete elimination. Our technicians will identify conditions such as moisture, wood rot, leaks, and other issues that can attract carpenter ants and other pest issues.