Finding carpenter ants in your home at any time of the year can be distressing. However many homeowners are especially confused about why they are finding carpenter ants in winter in their homes. 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.
A Closer Look at Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants have a notorious affinity for wood, which categorizes them among the wood-destroying insects that homeowners dread. With colonies that can swell to between 10,000 and 20,000 workers, the potential for damage is significant. These ants bore into wood not for nourishment but to create nesting sites, leaving behind characteristic smooth tunnels as evidence of their presence.
Predominantly found throughout the United States, carpenter ants vary in color from black to a mix of black, red, and brown, measuring approximately ½ to 5/8 inches in length. Their diet mainly consists of honeydew, plant and fruit juices, and occasionally other arthropods.
Natural Habitats of Carpenter Ants
Outdoors is where carpenter ants typically establish their primary colonies, choosing environments such as tree stumps, decayed wood, underneath or inside piles of firewood, and beneath stones or pathways. These industrious ants are known for their ability to travel great distances from their nest to food sources, often entering homes through small openings.
Worker ants from these colonies are capable of traveling up to 300 feet in their quest for food, primarily undertaking these excursions at night.
Why Are Carpenter Ants Inside My Home?
The main colonies of carpenter ants are generally located outdoors, but it is not uncommon for satellite nests to be found within homes. These nests house mature workers, larvae, and pupae, all of which are diligently tended to and fed.
Since carpenter ants are cold-blooded, their activity within your home during the colder months suggests they are seeking warmth. An increase in indoor ant activity is often reported by homeowners following the initial use of heating systems in the fall, which can stimulate the ants' movements.
What Attracts Carpenter Ants to My Home?
Carpenter ants are drawn to environments that meet their survival needs, which include moisture, food, and shelter. Leaky pipes, damp wood, and other moisture-prone areas within a home can attract these pests. Additionally, easy access to food sources, such as sweets, meats, and other insects, can lure carpenter ants indoors. Ensuring your home is well-maintained and free of moisture and food remnants can help deter them.
How Can I Eliminate Carpenter Ants?
Elimination of carpenter ants begins with identifying and destroying their nests, a task that can be daunting due to the potential distance between the nest and the area of ant activity. Professional pest control services are often necessary to effectively locate and treat carpenter ant nests. Homeowners can also take preventative measures such as sealing cracks and openings in the home's exterior, maintaining dry conditions, and storing firewood away from the home's foundation to reduce the likelihood of infestation.
Does The Cold Kill Carpenter Ants?
While extreme cold can be lethal to carpenter ants, these insects are adept at finding warmth and shelter to survive the winter. Indoor nests allow carpenter ants to continue their activity undeterred by the cold outside, which is why homeowners may notice them even during the colder months.
For those facing carpenter ant issues this winter or any other pest concerns, reaching out for professional pest control assistance is a prudent step. Addressing both the immediate problem and the underlying conditions that attract these pests is essential for long-term pest management and peace of mind.
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 ant elimination. Our technicians will identify conditions such as moisture, wood rot, leaks, and other issues that can attract carpenter ants and other pest issues.