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Why Do I Have A Carpenter Ant Infestation In My Houston Home?

December 15, 2021 - Ants

Here in Houston, we have the perfect weather for carpenter ants to thrive. Warm summers, mild winters, and year-round humidity and rainfall all combine to do lots and lots of water damage to our wooden buildings. When water damages wood, it weakens its structure, allowing carpenter ants to gain easier access.

Milder winters mean they can remain active in the wild longer and don’t have as many natural barriers to reproduction as they might have in colder or dryer climates. All this means carpenter ants can be a real problem for Houston home and business owners.

Carpenter Ants In Your Pants?

Everyone knows termites can destroy your home, but many people don’t know that they’re just one of many different pests that can wreck wooden structures, including carpenter ants and wood-boring bees and beetles.

Carpenter ants come in behind termites but above bees and beetles in terms of damage. If left untreated, carpenter ants can and will eventually render your home uninhabitable. This is because they chew through the wood just like termites do. Unlike termites, though, carpenter ants don’t eat wood. They live in it. This is good for us humans because it makes it easier to catch a carpenter ant infestation earlier than a termite infestation since carpenter ants have to forage for food.

Carpenter ants like to eat proteins and sugars, though they’ll go for fats, starches, and anything convenient in a pinch. If you see a large black ant in your home, it’s no reason to panic. Carpenter ants can forage for some distance to find food, so the fact that there is a solitary one in your home doesn’t automatically mean you have an infestation. Maybe you just forgot to put the lid back on the cookie jar. However, if you start seeing more than one big black ant crawling around inside your house, it’s time to be concerned.

Carpenter Ant Signs

Besides actual ants, other signs of infestation have to do with the damage they can wreak on buildings. Some of these signs can resemble signs of termite infestation, so it’s easy for homeowners to get confused.

If you never see an actual insect, you may need a professional to tell you whether you have termites or carpenter ants if you’re noticing things like:

  • Shed wings from swarms
  • Piles of frass (sawdust from wood-boring insects)
  • Windows and doors that don’t fit in their frames
  • Warped walls, floors, or ceilings
  • Visible holes or tunnels in wooden components 
  • Rustling noises inside walls

What To Do About Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants can be tough to evict. Their nests are large and complex, and mature colonies can send out multiple satellite nests, planting new colonies all around the original and effectively making it impossible to eradicate the infestation. That means you’ll need to take preventative measures as a first step.

Do things like:

  • Fix moisture issues to prevent water damage around your home.
  • Store firewood away from your home’s exterior and off the ground.
  • Trim trees and bushes back away from your house.
  • Seal off cracks and holes in your foundation and siding.
  • Keep all foods in the fridge or airtight containers.
  • Cover all indoor and outdoor trash with tight lids.

If you wind up with an infestation, it’s best to avoid trying to eradicate it yourself. Most do-it-yourself (DIY) carpenter ant treatment methods won’t do much more than temporarily reduce the ant population – they will not get rid of the whole infestation.

Fortunately, there’s a better way. Here at Caraway Pest Control, we’ve got the tools and the expertise to determine what type of insect is infesting your walls and exterminate the entire infestation for good. So give us a call or use our contact page to schedule your pest control service today!

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