Subtle. This is the word that best describes carpenter ants. As you sit on your deck, you barely notice them. They crawl across the railing. They weave a path across the ground. One may even be so bold as to climb up onto your foot. But a simple kick will send that ant flying. These ants don't grab our attention, the way fire ants do. And they don't appear by the hundreds, the way some other pest ants do. You'll see one or two here and there. You might even see one crawling around in your home and shrug it off. One ant is no big deal, right? Here's another word for you. Destructive. While it is not the word that best describes carpenter ants, it is the best word to describe why you shouldn't let these subtle pests elude your concern. In fact, the perfect description of these pests is a combination of the two: subtly destructive!
How bad can carpenter ants really be?
Well, we're glad you asked. In Port St. Lucie, carpenter ants can be a significant threat to your property. The reason might surprise you.
It isn't that we have more destructive carpenter ant species than other states. That's an obvious reason but, like the ants themselves, the main reason is more subtle. It actually has to do with the weather.
Carpenter ants target softwood. Most of the time, this is wood that has been damaged by water. When a tropical storm or hurricane passes through, it leaves in its wake conditions that inspire carpenter ant infestations: gaps, water damage, and moist soil. Carpenter ants are drawn to yards that are damp. Once on our properties, they target rotting wood on our porches, decks, garages, stairs, and homes. They'll also exploit gaps created by wind damage, and begin feeding on wood inside the walls of a home. If you're seeing carpenter ants in your Port St. Lucie home, it is a sign that you may have water damage.
The climate in Port St. Lucie also allows carpenter ants to remain active all year long. While the Northern United States gets a break from these homewreckers, we don't. In Florida, carpenter ants can be active 365 days a year chewing tunnels and galleries in the wood of our homes.
How fast can carpenter ants damage a home?
While carpenter ants won't destroy your home in a single year, they can do quite a bit of damage over time. Under certain circumstances, they can be as destructive as termites. When you see large ants that are black or reddish-black in color, it is important to get them properly identified. The key characteristic of carpenter ants is their size. Workers vary in size from 5.5 to 11 mm, depending on the species. Winged female alates are the largest caste in a termite colony, reaching as large as 20 mm in length.
What does carpenter ant damage look like?
Carpenter ant damage and termite damage can look quite similar. Here are a couple distinctions:
- The tunnels created by carpenter ants are smooth. Termite tunnels are gritty because termites bring damp soil up into their tunnels.
- You are more likely to see the damage done by carpenter ants. Termite workers do not like the light, so they feed mostly inside the wood. Carpenter ants can chew on the outside. But they will often create their tunnels in moist, shaded locations, which can be out of view.
What should I do if I see carpenter ants in my home?
We often get phone calls from frantic homeowners who have tried everything they can think of to get rid of carpenter ants, but foraging workers keep appearing and winged ants keep gathering on interior windows. Don't let it come to this! When you see carpenter ants or even just think you've seen them, reach out to us at Nozzle Nolen. We'll send an experienced pest control specialist to your home to perform a detailed inspection at no cost to you! After the inspection, your technician will discuss with you what was found and give you options to effectively resolve your issue. There's no guesswork involved. Our licensed and certified pest-control technicians use industry-established pest control protocols to track and eliminate carpenter ant infestations.
For assistance with carpenter ants in Port St. Lucie, start here. Nozzle Nolen is a QuailtyPro and GreenPro Certified company with a long track record of solving pest problems!