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Severe winds, heavy rain, ice dams – all are examples of Maine’s wicked weather. Weather that can unfortunately cause minor to extensive damage to homes AND that pave the way for wood-destroying carpenter ants to move in. While you may see big black ants foraging for food in and around your home, you won’t necessarily see them actively damaging your home. That’s why it’s important for homeowners in Augusta, Portland, and throughout Maine to know what carpenter ant warning signs to look for.
Signs you may have a carpenter ant problem
The presence of large black ants (or possibly red ones)
Carpenter ants do not eat wood. Like other ants, their diets consist of sustenance they acquire. Though they are typically nocturnal wanderers, they may be observed in the kitchen searching out crumbs on the floor or anything that is particularly sweet. They will also forage outside where they’ll feed on honeydew from aphids and other insects, sap, pollen, nectar, and fruits as well as insects (dead or alive, they don’t care).
The appearance of frass
Since carpenter ants chew wood but don’t eat it, they must do something with the coarse sawdust that accumulates in their tunnels. Carpenter ants will push the sawdust, also called frass, out of small kick-out holes they’ve created. You may notice frass gathered on the floor below these holes or even stuck to the walls beneath them.
Carpenter ant swarms
When flying ants appear inside your house or even outside- it is a clear sign that there is an active carpenter ant nest nearby. Flying ants are the reproductive members of the colony and will “swarm” in order to mate and establish more nests.
Sounds of carpenter ants in the walls
If you hear a faint rustling noises coming from your walls, don’t ignore it. There’s a good chance there’s a large infestation of carpenter ants at work behind the surface. Often compared to crinkling cellophane, the noises are more noticeable at night.
When are carpenter ants most active in Maine?
Carpenter ants are most active in Maine during the spring and summer months. During the winter months they are typically dormant- although a nice warm day may wake them up.
Why do I suddenly have carpenter ants?
If you’re suddenly seeing carpenter ants in your home and its late winter or early spring, it’s very likely you have a nest in the house somewhere. If you notice these ants later in the year, it won’t be as obvious if they’ve been there the whole time or if it’s a new problem.
Another reason you may be seeing carpenter ants is because wet conditions (often caused by damage from weather, plumbing issues, condensation, etc.) are prevalent in or around your home.
How long before carpenter ants cause damage?
Generally speaking, carpenter ant damage occurs slowly, often taking years before the problems are noticeable. It’s only when you notice your windows and windows are beginning to stick, it feels like your floors are dipping or feel spongy, your walls are starting to bulge that you might realize there’s a carpenter ant infestation.
How do I get rid of carpenter ants in my home?
In order to get rid of carpenter ants that are infesting your house or on your property, you will need a pest management pro. At Pine State Pest Solutions, we offer a few options when it comes to carpenter ant control.
One-time carpenter ant treatment overview
We’ll start with a thorough inspection to locate all nests on the property and to evaluate the severity of infestation.
We’ll perform an interior carpenter ant control service that kills carpenter ants on contact. The material we use also has a residual effect that eliminates carpenter ants that show up at the nest after they’ve been out foraging.
We’ll also complete an exterior carpenter ant treatment that creates a barrier of protection around the entire perimeter of the foundation.
Follow-up carpenter ant treatment(s) may be necessary depending on the severity of the infestation.
Bi-annual carpenter ant treatment overview
We’ll come out in the spring and perform and exterior carpenter ant treatment that prevents these wood-destroying ants from breaching your home. We’ll return in the fall to apply another exterior treatment that will eliminate carpenter ants and that is also effective in eradicating overwintering insects like stink bugs and box elder bugs.
Pine State’s Home Protection Plan for carpenter ants & other pests