It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s an Ant?

Article by Christine Venuti

An ant that can fly? Who ever heard of such a thing? Well, actually, we have.

In the spring, carpenter ants send out large swarms of winged adults for reproduction. If there is a nest already inside your home or business, swarms of winged ants often are seen trying to escape through a window. This is usually the first clue that there is a problem. Other telltale signs are piles of wood particle and large black ants in and around the house. Also, if it’s quiet, you might hear these carpenter ants inside the walls.

Carpenter ants can cause significant damage over a period of years because nests are so long lived. Most infestations are difficult to find, since the point of entry may be quite a distance from the location of the nest.

Carpenter ants are active indoors during many months of the year, usually during the spring and summer. When ants are active in the house during late winter/early spring (February/March), the infestation (nest) is probably within the household. When carpenter ants are first seen in the spring and summer (May/June), then the nest is likely outdoors and the ants are simply coming in for food. Nests are commonly found in porch and deck pillars, roofs, window sills, and wood in contact with soil.

Carpenter ant control can be difficult. The surest way to eliminate a carpenter ant infestation is to locate and treat the nest, or nests. Carpenter ants make their homes in a variety of sites. The nests can sometimes be located by the presence of small piles of sawdust, or frass. This frass consists of wood shavings or other material excavated from the ant’s nests, as well as tiny fragments of dead ants and other insects. The presence of frass is a good sign that a nest is nearby. Carpenter ant frass is usually pushed out of a small hole in the nest chamber. If you can find such a hole, it frequently leads directly into the nest chamber. Most infestations are difficult to find, since the point of entry may be quite a distance from the location of the nest.

The best way to keep carpenter ants out is to make your property unappealing to them. Keep your structure free from water-damaged wood.

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