Carpenter Ant Treatment
Carpenter ants are one of the most common indoor insect pests. According to The University of Florida IFAS/Extension, carpenter ants will nest in wood structures and can be found nesting throughout a homeowner’s home in wooden support pillars, window frames, and in attics.
Homeowners often see these ants foraging inside their home at night. An experienced pest management professional, or a determined homeowner, can usually follow a trail of ants back to the ants’ nesting site and treat it. Carpenter ant complaints are numerous during the spring swarm season, usually between April and June, when winged reproductives are often found in homes, mainly along window ledges and near sliding glass doors.
Florida carpenter ants tend to forage at night. The peak foraging hours are just before sunset until two hours after sunset, then again around dawn.
During the flight season, carpenter ants can be found in alarming numbers. They have medium to large colonies and are very opportunistic in their nesting habits. Colonies of carpenter ants can be found in soil beneath objects, in dead branches of trees, and in rotting logs and stumps. They are active year-round and are serious house-infesting ants.
Florida carpenter ants seek either existing voids in which to nest or excavate only soft materials such as rotten or pithy wood and Styrofoam. The main nests for the black carpenter ant are usually found outside, with satellite nests found indoors within voids or under insulation. Carpenter ants are primarily nocturnal in their foraging behavior. Carpenter ants do not sting but they do bite and can spray formic acid into the fresh wound if the ant is not removed quickly.
The ants form very loosely defined trails, or individual ants wander alone. These ants have a fondness for sweets and can be found in campgrounds near soda machines and other areas where sweets are readily accessible. Similarly, they are fond of sweet floral nectars and honeydews produced by sucking insects, especially aphids, scales and mealybugs.
Carpenter ants foraging in homes can be in search of sweets, moisture, or even new nesting sites, especially in kitchens, bathrooms or other rooms that have water leaks from plumbing or around doors and windows. Other potential nesting sites for carpenter ants are poorly ventilated attics and crawlspaces that have a humid environment that is attractive to the ants.
Carpenter ants are among the top five pest ants in the United States. Direct treatment or removal of nesting sites is recommended because these sites harbor the brood, queen, and the bulk of the workers and winged reproductives.
Nontoxic baits such as sugar milk, sugar water, honey, or dead insects placed along a foraging trail can cause other nestmates to be recruited to the area. Try to follow the foragers back to the nest and then treat the nest or call a professional pest control company for help.