If You See This In Your Home You Likely Have A Carpenter Ant Infestation In Your Attic
Have you been seeing piles of sawdust around your home? Do you suspect you have an infestation but are not sure what it is that’s infesting your home? If you see this in your home, you likely have a carpenter ant infestation in your attic and by this, we mean sightings of frass.
What Are Carpenter Ants?
Carpenter ants are some of the largest, structural dwelling ants that live in many parts of the forested world. In the Pacific Northwest, there are several species that range in color from black to a reddish black or a variety of the two. They build their nests by chewing through wood; creating galleries where they dwell. Typically, they are found living in trees, stumps, logs or any other decaying wood source; forming what is known as a parent colony and a satellite colony. Here, the workers travel and communicate via the two colonies, maintaining order and productivity. Parent colonies usually consist of the queen, egg and larvae in their early stages while the satellite colony consists of larvae, pupae and winged reproductives. When the winged males leave each spring, the queens mate and fulfill the next cycle of life.
What Is Frass?
As mentioned above, carpenter ants chew through their wood source, creating galleries where they build nests and dwell. As they chew through the wood they discard the chewed material along with dead insects and waste products that come from the foods they consume. Though they do not eat any of the wood material, the byproduct frass is very similar to sawdust in appearance. This sawdust type material is a clear indicator you have an infestation nearby. With carpenter ants being attracted to wood they are often found in wall voids, crawl spaces, attics and other areas where foam and insulation are present. Because of this, a carpenter ant infestation places any structure at risk due to the damage they can cause and should be taken seriously.
How Do I Know My Infestation Is Not Termites?
Carpenter ants and termites are often confused with one another, being that they are both wood burrowing insects. However, they do have notable differences. As mentioned earlier, carpenter ants leave behind the byproduct frass because of their nature to excavate. Termites themselves actually eat the wood material they burrow through, leaving behind pellet shaped insect waste. Though they both burrow into wood, carpenter ants prefer rotted or damp wood whereas termites chew through healthy wood without any problem. They are also very different in color. Carpenter ants are black to a reddish black and termites resemble a cloudy white or cream color. If you have an infestation, you’ll want to pay attention to piles of droppings near your home and inspect whether they resemble a sawdust type material or pellet shaped material. Piles of wings will also be prevalent if you have termites as their wings easily fall off compared to carpenter ants and if you see any creepy crawlies at all, you’ll want to pay attention to their coloring. Keep in mind that termites often go unseen as they remain inside their dwellings but carpenter ants will roam freely outside.
How Do I Prevent Carpenter Ants From Infesting My Attic?
If you suspect carpenter ants are invading your attic, the best bet is to have a professional pest control company come out and inspect your property. Many homeowners attempt to put out bait on their own but carpenter ants can be picky eaters, so not all bait traps attract them. The ideal eradication method is using a pesticide that will attract some carpenter ants who will then transfer it amongst the rest of the colonies to completely eliminate them. A professional pest control company, who has experience with carpenter ants, will be able to decipher the best treatment for carpenter ant control. In the meantime, it’s always a good idea to store wood pilings away from your home. Cut overhanging branches and check the foundational structure of your home for wood rot or dampness. Sealing cracks around the base of your home is another helpful measure. The objective is to keep your home from attracting carpenter ants. This will help ensure that carpenter ants stay away from your home and your attic.
If you see frass or any other signs of a carpenter ant infestation in your attic or home call your local pest control company. Signs of an infestation typically mean that the situation has already gotten out of control and will require a professional. Carpenter ants can migrate through the walls, chewing through wood support beams and make their way up to attic spaces where they can go unseen. The few carpenter ants that come out to forage are not an indicator of the size of the colonies. A pest control professional will be able to identify the signs and issue the correct treatment as needed.