Commercial and Residential Carpenter Ant Extermination
Are you concerned that you have a carpenter ant infestation in your home or commercial property? The ant control experts at PestLock are here to help. We provide extermination services in Portland, Vancouver, and the surrounding areas. Contact our team to request your free pest inspection and review the helpful information below.
Carpenter Ant Identification
Carpenter ants come in various sizes and consist of two castes: reproductives (winged ants) and workers. Queens typically measure about 5/8 of an inch while males are significantly smaller. These ants are generally black, but some have red, brown, or yellows spots on their body and/or legs. When an ant is full of food, its outstretched abdominal segments may appear to have yellow stripes. Carpenter ants also have a smooth, round-arch (convex) shape on top of their thorax when viewed from the side. They also have a node between the large thorax and the abdomen, as well as constricted waists and elbow-shaped antennae. Their reproductive forewings are larger than their hind wings, which are either transparent or brownish and not easily removed. “Major” workers are about half an inch long while “minor” workers measure about 1/4 of an inch. Workers are brown to black and have large heads with a small thorax. Eggs are about 1/8 of an inch long, cream-colored, and oval. Larvae are legless, grub-like, and late pupate in tough silk and tan-colored cocoons.
Carpenter Ant Education
Carpenter ants are the largest species found in the Pacific Northwest. As colonies mature, swarmers will leave the nest primarily from May to mid-July in search of a partner to mate. Males usually die within a few days after mating. The queen then establishes her nest in a wood cavity. After producing the first group of eggs, the queen is cleaned, fed, and cared for by the workers so that she is free to produce more eggs. She can live up to 30 years. The workers also collect food, excavate galleries to enlarge the nest, battle intruders, and tend to the eggs and young. Once a colony has been established, reproductives will then swarm and find new areas to build satellite nests in various areas throughout the home. These areas include:
- Structural wood (i.e. studs, joists, etc.)
- Wall voids
- Hollow doors
- Window and door casings
- Voids beneath kitchen and bathroom cabinets
They are also found in wood that has been dampened by water leaks such as sinks, bathtubs, roofs, and poorly flashed chimneys. Outdoor nesting sites include tree stumps, logs, standing dead trees, and planter boxes. They will also use old abandoned nests that have been hollowed out by termites. They can be imported onto a property by delivery of landscape bark material from an infested site elsewhere, or they may come from firewood and new lumber. Workers are most active at night, traveling 100 yards or more from their nest in search of food. They may access homes via natural openings or chew their way through wood. They will also travel along tree limbs or shrubs that touch the siding and roof to gain entry into attics. Telephone, electric, and cable TV lines also provide easy entry. Workers carry food back to the nest via these trails either intact or ingested, and later feed it to non-foraging members in the nest. Carpenter Ants primarily feed on honeydew and sugary secretions of certain plant-feeding insects, such as aphids and scales. The ants also feed on plant secretions, fruit juices, and insect remains, including dead members of their own colony.
Customer Preparation for Carpenter Ant Control Service
- Correct roof and plumbing leaks and other moisture-prone areas.
- Seal cracks and openings in the foundation, especially where utility pipes and wires enter from the outside.
- Stack firewood away from your home's foundation and elevate it off the ground. Never store firewood in the garage or other areas of the home, as firewood is a prime nesting area for carpenter ants.
- Cut back tree limbs and vegetation touching the roof or siding of the house. Limbs and branches serve as bridges between carpenter ants nesting in dead tree limbs and the structure.
Customer Expectations from Ant Control Treatment
In response to treatment, carpenter ants will act abnormally prior to death. Either an occasional ant or army of ants will come out of hiding for the next 60 days. After the initial flushing, random new ants may appear, but this is not a sign of re-infestation. Left alone, the new ants will either cross the residue and die or return outside. PestLock products kill carpenter ants on contact and act as a repellent by leaving a long-term residue that outlasts the lifecycle of the insects. Unfortunately, no person or chemical can keep ants from being active outside. It is their natural environment. As such, ants may be seen on the deck or porch and may come in the front door. However, the protection is still in place around your home, and it will prevent ants from starting a new nest.