Secret tunnels in wood, given away only by what could be mistaken for sawdust or pencil shavings. The thought that comes to most people’s minds is termites. But these white, ant-like insects aren’t the only creatures that could be making a city within your home. Contrary to their names, carpenter ants don’t work with wood. They destroy it, and in the Northeast, they’re just as likely as termites to be the ones vandalizing your home.
Like termites, carpenter ants can go undetected for years. By the time you figure it out, the damage they’ve caused can already be costly. Here’s what you should know about these tunneling insects that are less infamous than termites, but can cause just as much damage.
Similar to termites, carpenter ants live in colonies. Unlike termites, they don’t actually eat wood. Instead, they chew and tunnel, creating “galleries” to use for nesting. Carpenter ants are also organized, with a caste system or hierarchy comprised of a queen, male reproductives, and three classes of worker: major, medium, and minor. They work fast, and once they find their way into your home, they can cause damage quickly. They prefer moist wood, meaning that—as if water damage weren’t bad enough—it can subsequently attract ants. Carpenter ants are also explorers, sending scouts 200-300 feet from the nest in search of food like sweets, meats, grease, and fat, and then building satellite colonies where food is found.
To defend your home from these invaders, Masters Pest Control uses materials that create a protective barrier. However, these substances break down after about three months, so it is recommended that they be reapplied seasonally, three times a year (carpenter ants are dormant during the winter). Our Tier 1 program applies this barrier during spring, summer, and fall—the seasons during which carpenter ants are most active.