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What to Do When Ants Become a Problem

Warm weather and ants go together like the sun and sunburns. While most ants are harmless, if annoying, sometimes an increasing presence of ants in your home could be a signal of a more severe problem that may require pest control services to resolve.

Irritating but Relatively Harmless

Pavement ants are what you probably think of when you think of ants. They are relatively small in size and tend to nest outdoors, in-between patio stones or around the foundation of your home. They are attracted to sugary and greasy foods, which is a big reason why they often make their way into our homes, and particularly into the kitchen.

Pavement ants can be a nuisance, and getting rid of them isn’t always easy, but they are not dangerous and do not bite. There are several pest control products that are quite effective at solving a pavement ant problem; otherwise, you can contact a pest control service to get rid of them for you.

However, pavement ants are not the only species of ant common on the west coast. If you have ever seen an abnormally large ant scurry across your floor, carpenter ants may have taken up residence on your property – and that’s a problem.

Bigger Ant, Bigger Problem

Carpenter ants are distinguishable from pavement ants by their size, colouring, and the presence of wings (which are eventually shed). The average pavement ant is between 2.5 – 5 mm in length, but a carpenter ant can grow to be 13 mm, and a queen can be as large as an inch. Pavement ants are almost always black, but carpenter ants can be red, black, brown, or dual coloured. During early spring and summer, you may notice carpenter ants with wings. This happens during the reproductive stage, as colonies are established, before being shed later on.

Aside from their larger size, carpenter ants are also a problem for homeowners because they like to nest inside the walls of your home, and a colony of carpenter ants can, long-term, be as destructive as termites.

Unlike termites who like to eat wood, carpenter ants carve out space to build their nest. And once a ‘parent’ nest is established, secondary ‘satellite’ colonies can quickly form throughout your home, eventually causing significant damage to your property.

Because of where carpenter ants like to nest, getting rid of them is significantly more challenging than a common pavement ant, and as their colonies tend to spread out, you need to ensure that you get all of them, or they will be back.

Pest Control Services

In most cases, a carpenter ant infestation should be resolved by a pest control specialist. Carpenter ants most often nest inside the walls and structure of your home, particularly in areas where there is excess moisture. Because you can’t see them, it takes a trained eye to detect where these ants may be nesting and experience to provide the best elimination techniques.

Elimination of carpenter ants usually involves both indoor and outdoor measures. Baiting is commonly used both inside and outside to attract and kill carpenter ants and their colonies. The type of baiting employed by professional pest control companies is not the same as the kind you can buy at your local hardware store, and it should only be used by professionals.

Commonly, a spray or other chemical treatment is also used to eliminate foraging carpenter ants and ensure that any remaining ants do not set up new colonies.

The key to long-term carpenter ant elimination is taking preventative measures to remove the attractants that initially led to the infestation. Carpenter ants like areas where there is moisture-damaged wood, often found around windows, around sinks and dishwashers, or even stacks of wood left too close to your home. Your pest control company will be able to help you identify where the problem originated so you can take steps to avoid a re-infestation.