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Carpenter Ant Extermination and Control


Two Big, Black Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are big, black ants of the genus Campontus, usually ranging from half an inch to an inch in length. They’re common pests in the Dallas – Fort Worth area and throughout Texas.

Carpenter ants are usually described by customers as “big, black ants,” but a few species are black and red or black and yellow. They are highly social insects whose colonies can become quite large and have a well-organized division of labor.

In nature, carpenter ants usually make their nests in dead trees, rotten stumps, and similar natural voids. But unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t actually eat the wood. They just use their well-developed mandibles (jaws) to excavate galleries in the wood, to build a nest in which lay their eggs and raise their young.

On occasion, carpenter ants will also establish nests in voids that are not made of wood, such as hollow fence posts, PVC furniture, swing sets, electrical boxes and conduits, and other convenient, ready-made voids.


Carpenter Ants as Structural Pests

Carpenter ant damage to a piece of wood

Although not as destructive as termites, over time, carpenter ants can cause significant damage to homes and other buildings.

When they infest buildings, carpenter ants usually nest in void areas such as crawl spaces, roof soffits, and in the spaces between window and door trim and the underlying framing. They usually prefer wood that is damp or which has an existing or previous moisture problem, such as kitchen and bathroom pipe chases enclosing leaking or sweating pipes.

Sometimes, however, carpenter ants will infest dry areas, or even non-wooden voids such as electrical conduits, curtain rods, and inside the tubes of window shades.

Carpenter ant damage to wood can be easily distinguished from termite damage. Termite galleries are rough and usually contain mud and dirt. Carpenter ant galleries, on the other hand, are sanded smooth and have “windows” through which the ants eject frass (sawdust and bodily wastes).


Carpenter Ant Control

Carpenter ants can be a challenge to control because they nest in concealed, hard-to-treat areas. Do-it-yourself carpenter ant control efforts usually fail.

Whenever possible, the best and fastest way to eliminate carpenter ants is to find their nest and treat it directly using specialized pest control tools that can inject the insecticide directly into the carpenter ant galleries. This method will result in immediately eradicating the carpenter ant infestation.

Sometimes, though, it’s impractical to treat the nest directly. When this is the case, we have a variety of baits, dusts, and non-repellent sprays that can be used to achieve effective control of carpenter ants, but it may take a little longer for these treatments to work.

In all cases, to achieve permanent carpenter ant control, conditions conducive to carpenter ant infestation have to be corrected. For example, leaky downspouts and other moisture problems must be fixed, tree branches that touch or overhang the house should be trimmed back, and firewood shouldn’t be stacked against the building.

Where carpenter ants have already done serious damage, it may also be necessary to replace damaged wood.