Carpenter ants are a rather large species of ant (they are generally about .25 to 1 inch) and are indigenous to many parts of the world. They are a particular problem in this area of Ontario – with Balm Beach being the clear leader in our service area.
They reside both indoors and outdoors in moist, decaying or hollow wood and will build two different types of nest. The first is the main nest; this is where the queen will go to lay eggs and in order for her to do so, it must be a moist, decaying wood source that must remain moist in order for the eggs and young larvae to survive. The main nest will almost always be located outside in places such as rotting trees/stumps or decaying landscape timbers.
The second type of nest is the satellite nest. Carpenter ants will make satellite nest where they care for older larvae and pupae that can tolerate drier conditions. These satellite nests are often located in wall voids, eaves, ceilings or under insulation found in attics or crawl spaces and can also be found in roof gutters and in downspouts. Generally, any nest found in a home will be a satellite nest.
Each year, carpenter ants become active in the spring (March-April) and remain so through early fall (September-October). A mature carpenter ant colony usually releases reproductive individuals in springtime. The reproductives have wings and, like winged termites, are commonly known as “swarmers.” The swarmers’ purpose is to mate and, in the chase of females, to fly to a new location, lay eggs and establish a new colony. In winter, most carpenter ant colonies become dormant, although indoor nests may show some continued activity.
Carpenter ants, while building their nests do not eat the wood but rather tunnel through it, which is why when investigating to see whether or not you have carpenter ants, it’s important to look for piles of a sawdust-like material called frass.
Controlling and eliminating carpenter ants can be done and the best prevention is to maintain dry conditions, so that they are unable to find moist and decaying wood to nest in. Remember, anyplace that wood comes in contact with soil, could potentially become infested with carpenter ants.
Reducing woodpiles around and in your home or cottage can help to prevent infestations and damage.
The key to controlling any infestation is to find where the queen is laying eggs (the main nest). This will require a thorough inspection and an effort to follow foraging ants back to their nest. It is recommended that if you see 10-12 ants (or more) in your home during the evening then it is worth investigating.
Thoroughly inspect (or hire a professional like Cottage Country Pest Control) all crawl spaces, attics, porches, etc for signs on nesting such as the mounds of loose shavings or the frass beneath a crack in the wall or eavespace.
Give us a call at 705-534-7863 or email us to ask a question or to book your appointment.