Carpenter ants aren’t harmful to humans but they can do a considerable amount of damage to your home. Often confused with termites, carpenter ants tunnel through wood to build nests and can be difficult to locate. As they hollow out wood, such as in ceiling beams and wooden doors, the integrity of the wood is compromised and can result in serious structural damage to your home. Therefore, early detection and removal is key!
Identifying Carpenter Ants
It is not uncommon to find a single carpenter ant in your home rather than a colony. Here’s what to look for:
- Carpenter ants are black but can have a dark red color
- Carpenter ants are the largest type of ant. They can be as big as ¾ of an inch long.
- Carpenter ants have elbowed antennae and a thin waist
- Carpenter ants are polymorphic, or not all the same size. This means that size does not necessarily differentiate between adults and juveniles
Carpenter Ant Swarmers
As the spring time begins to roll in, you may begin to notice carpenter ant swarmers crawling on the outside of your windows. Carpenter ant swarmers are winged carpenter ants that leave their colonies to mate and start their own colonies. Spotting carpenter ants in or around your home is a tell-tale sign that there is a mature carpenter ant colony nearby or inside your walls. If this is the case, the carpenter ant swarmers will only increase the population and perpetuate your carpenter ant infestation.
It is important to contact professional as soon as you notice a carpenter ant swarmer in or around your home. Ignoring them can result in a great deal of damage. If you suspect a carpenter ant infestation, please call Freedom Pest Control at 877-PESTS-55!
Spring weather was slow to arrive in New England this year so it’s likely that you’re still working to get your yard in tip-top shape. Before you dive into your spring clean-up and gardening, take a moment to consider how you can also prevent pests from taking up residence in your yard. Keeping your yard pest free will make it a more enjoyable space for you and your family and will also reduce the risk of pests making their way into your home. Here are some precautions you can take today:
Pest Free Yard
- Treat your yard to prevent against ticks and mosquitos. Our sister company, Mosquito Busters, can help guide you towards a method that is safe and effective.
- When considering your landscape design, keep plants and shrubs at least 18 to 24 inches away from the foundation of your house. Also, trim back trees and plants that might be too close to your home.
- Note damage that has been made to your lawn, deck, patio, or outdoor furniture over the winter. Damage may be a sign that pests have been present over the winter months. Our experts can help you to determine if you have an infestation problem.
- Use pressure treated wood when building raised garden beds, outdoor structures, and playground equipment. Pressure treated wood resists rot and decay, two things which attract pests.
- Make sure your mulch and wood chips are no thicker than three inches.
- Pests are drawn to piles of wet and rotting yard waste. Clearing your yard of leaves, twigs, and standing water will eliminate this problem.
- Remove dead trees, dying trees, and tree stumps before ants and termites find them!
- Finally, be sure to clean your gutters out at least twice a year.
Freedom Pest Control can help you determine if you have a pest infestation in your yard and can eliminate those pests. Call us at 877-PESTS-55 to schedule your evaluation today!
Spring in New England means warmer temperatures, longer days, and the return of carpenter ants! These ants typically remain dormant during the winter months and begin to become more active as the temperature increases. Carpenter ants like to nest in moist or decayed wood and do not eat wood but, instead, chew it and spit it out. They’re name comes from the fact that they are skilled carpenters and make long tunnels in the wood in which they live. Carpenter ants prefer to eat sweet foods and meat scraps which is why we often find them around dishwashers, sinks, and dog bowls.
Even though an ant infestation can be incredibly frustrating and downright gross, carpenter ants are fascinating little insects:
In fact, they can lift things that are at least seven times their own weight
They’re good at finding their way home!
These ants leave behind a chemical substance as they travel and use their antennae to find their way back home. They can also recognize their fellow ants by the chemicals on their bodies.
Carpenter ants can bite and will inject acid into the skin, making for a very unpleasant experience.
As in, clean! Carpenter ants are very hygienic and keep their nests incredibly tidy.
They have a sweet tooth!
Carpenter ants are attracted to sweet foods like honey, syrup, and jelly.
Carpenter ants are one of the biggest types of ants and range from one sixteenth of an inch to three-fourths of an inch long. Queens can sometimes grow even bigger.
They can live a long time!
The Queens can live up to twenty-five years. Imagine how many millions of babies that an ant with this lifespan can produce!
Nonetheless, an ant infestation can cause damage to your home if it is left untreated. Please call Freedom Pest Control at 877-PESTS-55 to schedule your free in-home evaluation!
Termites, also known as the “silent destroyers”, can go undetected for quite some time and can do a great deal of destruction before they are discovered. In fact, termites cause about five billion dollars of damage to American homes every year. Finding evidence of termite swarmers in your home is a sure indicator that you may have a termite infestation. Termite swarmers will typically appear between late March and mid-April, depending on the weather. But, what exactly is a termite swarmer?
Termite swarmers are adult male and female termites that have wings and can reproduce. As the weather turns from cold to warm, the swarmers will be released from their current colony to venture out and create a new one. An existing colony may release hundreds, or even thousands, of swarmers. Swarmers that find an ideal location for reproducing will become the kings and queens of their new colonies.
Identifying a Termite Swarmer
A termite swarmer is often confused with an ant swarmer. However, there are several differences that help to identify between the two. First, Termite swarmers do not have a segmented body while ant swarmers have a distinct head, thorax, and abdomen. Second, the antennae of a termite swarmer are straight and the antennae of an ant swarmer have a ninety-degree bend. Finally, termite swarmers have four wings that are the same size and ant swarmers have two pair of wings that are different sizes.
What about those Wings?
Once termite swarmers have landed in a location that is suitable for colonizing, they no longer need their wings. The wings will be discarded and sometimes even eaten by the termites themselves.
Signs of Termite Swarmers
When termites swarm, they head towards a light source. Finding a pile of wings near a light source in your home, like in a window sill, is a sure sign that you have an infestation. If you suspect that this is the case, search the outside of your home for mud tubes. A mud tube is a tunnel created by termites that allows them to move from the soil and into a structure where their food source would be.
Freedom Pest Control is here to help! Call us today at 877-PESTS-55 to schedule your free in-home evaluation!
If only this were the case when the real thing comes to your house (although we might be out of a job)! Carpenter ants are a fact of life in New England, and can do a real number on your home, both inside and out. But they’re just one variety of several types of ants you’re likely to encounter – do you know the differences, and what to look for? Here’s a basic rundown of the most common types of ants you could run into in your home:
Pavement Ants – Pavement ants are part of a larger category we call sugar ants. They are black in color, varying in size from about 1/8” to 1/6” long. They live under slabs of concrete or asphalt, and tend to form a feeding trail from a food source to home and back. Once they find food (usually protein- or sugar-based, depending on what the queen dictates), they communicate this to one another through pheromones.
Little Black Ants – Joining pavement ants in the sugar ant family, little black ants also carry the hallmark of a feeding trail between food source and home. They’re about 1/16” (so, yeah, they’re tiny) and live in moist areas like underneath rotting trees, leaves, or piles of lumber. They’re omnivorous, feasting on meat, grease, rotting fruits and vegetables (think garbage cans and compost piles), as well as plant secretions and honeydew. They live in large colonies that are tough to eradicate without a professional treatment plan.
Citronella Ants – These amber-colored ants fall into two general categories, large and small; large are the ones most commonly found in the Northeast. Their name comes from the citronella-like smell they emit when they feel threatened. Citronella ants most typically live outside underneath woodpiles and concrete slabs, or against a foundation. They don’t normally forage for food inside your home, like other ant varieties, and first appear as winged swarmers, which often gets them confused for termites.
Carpenter Ants – These are the type to do your home the most damage, as they excavate living quarters out of your house’s wooden infrastructure. The myth is that they actually eat the wood; rather, carpenter ants chew it and spit it out, eating basically any food that humans eat. They’re one of the largest ants in the species, averaging about 1/3 to 1/2 “ long.
They’re not all the same size, and, depending on the time of year, you’ll see them with wings. Carpenter ants like to build colonies or nests in moist wood – like under a doorway or window that has been insufficiently flashed, or in rotting fence posts. In the case of these types of ants, prevention is absolutely key to protecting your home from major damage. Having regular periodic inspections for vulnerable soft spots around your home will go a long way in ensuring against infestation.
Are you overdue for a home inspection? Call our team today for a free onsite evaluation! 877.PESTS.55