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Pest Spotlight: How To Handle A Carpenter Ant Infestation In Tampa

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It is common knowledge that carpenter ants cause damage to wood, but other facts regarding these ants are not nearly as common. Would it surprise you to know that carpenter ants typically enter structures through gaps and cracks, rather than tunneling through structural wood? Would it surprise you to know that carpenter ants are finicky eaters and that baits often fail to control colonies when deployed incorrectly? Here is one last fact that might surprise you. Sometimes carpenter ants infest a structure but they cause no damage at all. They may create a nest within a void and not tunnel into the wood. It is rare. But it happens. A primary reason for this is that carpenter ants don't get into pressure-treated wood unless it is damaged by water. Join us today as we discuss a few more facts about carpenter ants in Tampa that you may not know. Not only will you learn a few fun facts, you'll pick up some tips to help you detect signs of carpenter ants and get rid of carpenter ants. Before we get started, we want to remind you that Haskell Termite & Pest Control has licensed technicians on staff to help you with carpenter ant pest control in Tampa. We specialize in the control of wood-destroying organisms and are able to guide you toward an effective solution.

Where Are Typical Carpenter Ant Nesting Sites?

It is helpful to know where carpenter ants create their nests if you are trying to tell whether or not you have an infestation or you are working to address one in your home. These ants have an attraction to wood and are closely associated with wood. But it isn't always obvious where they're nesting. Here are a few typical carpenter ant nesting sites.

  • Stumps. They love getting under stumps and creating nests in the wood or nearby soil.
  • Trunks and roots. Carpenter ants are drawn to dying trees and will nest in the trunk or root system.
  • Decks. Few structures on your property will get damaged by the weather as much as your back deck. Carpenter ants quickly take notice of rotting wood and will help with the deterioration of your back deck by accessing the wood and tunneling within the timbers.
  • Wood fence. Have you noticed that your neighbors are erecting vinyl fences? Wood does not hold up well to the weather in Tampa and will attract termites, wood boring beetles, carpenter bees, and carpenter ants.
  • Door and window frames. Your frames are moisture points and typically high in humidity. Carpenter ants don't prefer hardwood but will get inside your frames and create a nest. 
  • Wall voids. Carpenter ants can get into a wall and create a nest.
  • Rotted wood. When water runs down the sides of your home where a gutter is clogged or broken, wood rot may occur. When the wood rots, it becomes a strong attractant for carpenter ants and other wood-damaging pests.
  • Structural timbers. While carpenter ants prefer soft and rotting wood, they will get into sound timbers and wood that has not yet been compromised by moisture. But, check rotted wood first.

These are places to check first. When you perform an inspection, look for kickout holes and frass to tell if you have an infestation. A kickout hole is roughly the size of a pencil tip. Frass is a mixture of sawdust, insect parts, and fecal pellets. Along with these warning signs, look for carpenter ant swarmers on your Tampa property. Swarmers are produced by a mature nest, and these winged ants don't travel far from their nests. You may also look for ant activity and identify the ants you find. Carpenter ants are red with black abdomens or entirely black, depending on the species. Black carpenter ants are the worst because they are prone to damaging structures. If you have black carpenter ants in your home, contact Haskell Termite & Pest Control for a professional inspection and treatment advice.

Is It Possible To Hear Carpenter Ants Chewing A Wall?

Yes. You may hear carpenter ants in structural wood at night when it is quiet. These ants are typically nocturnal insects and are active at night. The noise carpenter ants make is often compared to the crinkling of cellophane. It is important to note that they will make less noise when tunneling through timbers that are softened by water damage. Why? Because that crinkling sound is made by their hooked feet clinging to wood surfaces. As they scale a hard surface, the clicking is more noticeable. It is also more noticeable when galleries are fully formed as the sound echoes off tunnel walls. If you're clearly noticing a crinkling noise, you may have a mature infestation.

There are two more reasons carpenter ants might increase the amount of noise they make. One happens naturally. If carpenter ant tunnels are invaded by another organism, the carpenter ants may get excited and start to move around like crazy inside their tunnels. The other way they get moving is when a professional applies a treatment product. But they won't make that noise for long. A correctly applied treatment arrests activity.     

Can you track carpenter ants down by listening for them in your walls? We wouldn't recommend it. Carpenter ants can damage your home for years without making any sounds you can detect. It is best to learn how to effectively detect warning signs of activity, or have a professional inspect your home for carpenter ants.

What Not To Do About Carpenter Ant Damage

There are many ways you may respond to finding carpenter ant damage or frass leaking out of a gap. The worst response is not responding. Life gets busy and who has time to deal with carpenter ants? If you know that carpenter ants take years to damage your home, you may put that problem on the shelf for later consideration. Unfortunately, you may not return to thinking about that problem until it is too late to prevent extensive damage. It is best to take quick action and turn the problem over to a licensed professional. Your home is a big investment. A carpenter ant problem can cause unique damage that is hard to fix.

When you find carpenter ant damage, you may consider laying some bait down to correct your issue. While bait can work to arrest a carpenter ant infestation, it often fails. The reason it fails is that carpenter ants are picky eaters. Some prefer protein. Some prefer sweet food sources. You can select a bait your carpenter ants won't take. But, more than this, carpenter ant workers don't tend to recruit a large number of other workers to gather a food source. If you put down bait, you may only get a portion of the colony. The rest of the workers will learn to avoid that bait. These insects have a knack for avoiding baits and treated surfaces.

When you find damage, you may fix it and call it a day. Unfortunately, doing this is likely to do nothing to deter those ants. By the time you start to notice damage to the area you fixed, you could have extensive damage in areas you can't see, such as timbers within your walls and floor.

Contact a licensed ant control professional at the first sign of carpenter ant damage. A professional can track these ants down and help you to understand the scope of your infestation and give you valuable insights. Your professional will also tell you how carpenter ant control works and what will work for your specific situation.

Carpenter Ant Extermination In Tampa

You know what we're going to stay. If you live in Tampa, contact Haskell Termite & Pest Control. It pays to hire a pest management professional that specializes in addressing wood-damaging insects. We have made it our mission to learn how to treat carpenter ants, termites, wood-boring beetles, carpenter bees, and all of the other pests that damage Tampa properties. Our technicians are highly trained, career professionals with the experience needed to provide you with the highest level of service. When you find carpenter ant frass in your home, detect large ants crawling around on your property, or detect wood damage, we can help you diagnose your pest problem and find the right solution.

We also offer ongoing, year-round pest control service plans to help you stay ahead of all your pest problems. It helps to have routine inspections to catch pest problems, like carpenter ant infestations, early. On top of routine inspections, we provide essential services, such as crack and crevice treatments, granular spot treatments, exclusion work, and general pest maintenance. It is easy to get started or to simply learn more. Give us a call or drop us a line on our contact page and we'll send a friendly and knowledge service technician to your front door.

There is peace of mind in knowing that carpenter ants, termites, and other sneaky pests can't sneak up on you. Connect with us today. We're here to help.

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