Virginia's Complete Guide To Carpenter Ant Control

Ants on wood

Out of the many ant species in Virginia, the carpenter ant may be one of the most hazardous to your property. Every year, they cause local homeowners a significant amount of money in repair costs for damaged property. Carpenter ants are relatively easy to identify, thanks to their large size, as they are much larger than other common local species. Typically, carpenter ants are black or dark brown in color, and often, but not always, have two sets of wings.

The easiest way to identify carpenter ants is by their behavior. Unlike other local ant species, the carpenter ant likes to nest in wood. They seek out moist and rotting wood, then begin to build expansive tunnels. 

Why You Don't Want Carpenter Ants

The unattractive appearance of carpenter ants isn't the only reason you don't want them near your property. Because these pests tunnel through wood, they do serious damage to structures. Although they aren't as destructive as termites, carpenter ants can cause you to need costly repairs.

Carpenter ants also contaminate food. These ants are unlike termites in that they don't eat wood, instead seeking out sugar and other insects. As they look for something to eat, carpenter ants contaminate any open food, forcing you to replace your pantry as a result of your ant infestation.

Tips For Carpenter Ant Prevention

If you don't want to have carpenter ants in or near your home, the following tips can help prevent an ant infestation:

  • Caulk cracks — If you have any cracks around your property, carpenter ants may be able to get inside. To keep ants away, caulk any visible cracks, and do the same around electrical and water lines. Even though carpenter ants are larger than some ant species, they can still enter through small cracks.
  • Trim branches — Are tree or shrub branches touching your home? If so, they're acting as a pathway for carpenter ants. Trim your branches back, and you may be able to keep these pests away. 
  • Install a gravel strip — Grass and other vegetation invite carpenter ants. To keep them from entering your home, install a gravel strip around your structure. You can also use stone as a barrier.
  • Keep firewood away from your home — Typically, carpenter ants are attracted to firewood. Storing your wood close to your home attracts ants, so you're better off keeping your wood far from any structures.  You should also keep your wood off the ground and covered, if possible. Before you bring wood into your home, check it for ants. 
  • Store food with care — As with almost all ants, carpenter ants seek out crumbs and leftover food. Make food inaccessible by storing it in airtight containers. After a meal, immediately put away your leftovers and clean your kitchen.
  • Prevent water damage — When your gutters are clogged, water damage happens. Wet wood and other materials attract carpenter ants, so do your best to keep your wood dry. Another way to accomplish this is to ventilate your crawl spaces and attic. If there's no ventilation, moisture builds up. You can also prevent water damage by repairing leaks. The longer you let leaks persist, the more damage occurs. If you don't want wet wood, repair your fixtures and leaky pipes.

Hire A Professional

While the above tips can help make your property less appealing to carpenter ants, DIY solutions aren't enough to combat an infestation. For the best results, hire a professional. It's difficult to deter and eliminate carpenter ants on your own, so contact the pest professionals at the first sign of a problem. Here at Albemarle Termite & Pest Control, we're ready to help you with a free inspection and an affordable home pest control plan. Give us a call today so we can get started.