Carpenter Ants are the #1 wood-destroying insect in the Pacific Northwest. While they play a critical role in our ecosystem, they can cause significant damage to our wooden structures if not properly identified and eliminated.
Carpenter Ant Prevention
- Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed back from the structure
- Keep the soil level down and away from your siding
- No fire wood stacked on the side of your home or in the garage
- Inspect the exterior your home several times a year, if you find ants, call and have them identified by a professional pest control company
Carpenter Ant Behavior
Carpenter Ants attack dry seasoned wood in homes, buildings, and wood structures. Unlike termites, Carpenter Ants do not eat wood (they primarily eat other insects) but instead remove the soft sections of wood and nest in the tunnels they create. The nests they create can cause severe structural damage, which is why it is so important that they be detected and removed early.
While their behaviors are destructive to our homes and properties, Carpenter Ants are extremely valuable to the balance of nature in our ecosystem. They are amazing recyclers. They attack trees and wood structures that are dead, dying, or diseased and return the wood back to the soil where it can help nurture new growth and healthy forests. At Summit Pest Management, our job is to keep Carpenter Ants out of the places where they cause damage and contain them to the natural environment where they are most needed.
At Summit Pest Management our goal is to keep this insect from causing damage to our homes and businesses.
More Information About Carpenter Ants
There are three species of Carpenter Ants commonly found in the Pacific Northwest:
- Modoc, this is the largest of the species and can grow to ¾” during mating season. This insect gains size with age, can start small ¼” then over time will grow to ½” to ¾”
- Using its huge mandibles or jaws, Modoc can carry extremely large chunks of wood at a time.
- This species goes dormant during winter months. If not for dormancy, Modocs would cause more damage then termites that work 24-7, 365 days a year.
- Modoc will usually enter your structure at ground level; you will usually find them low on the exterior of the structure. Remember, I used the word usually, we have also found them coming across on power, cable wires, and trees at very high locations on the structure.
- Modoc will usually nest low in the walls and the subfloor of the home.
- If you find this ant inside your home in late winter or early spring, it’s a certainty that you have a carpenter ant nest some where in your structure. This ant will come out of their dormancy and start to look for water; you may find a few ants in and around water sources like your kitchen sink and bathroom sinks.
- This ant does most of its work at night, if you want to inspect your home for carpenter ants, it is best done when the sun is setting and the temperature is above 55 degrees.
- If you find wood piles, it could be from carpenter ants. Carpenter ant wood piles always have little black pieces of debris in them. These pieces are body parts from ants that died in the nest.
- Vicinus is almost as big as Modoc; the defining difference that you can see is the color of the mid section of the ant. Vicinus is reddish brown in the mid section of its body.
- This ant has all the same characteristics as Modoc from food to nesting sites etc.
- Essigi is the smallest of the carpenter ant species that we deal with in the Pacific NW, measuring about ¼” in size and all the same dark color.
- This ant does not gain size with age; the workers are all pretty much the same size.
- The main difference with this carpenter ant versus the first two on our list is how it will enter the structure. This ant will usually enter the structure and nest at a high level. We find this ant on power/cable/telephone lines high on the building. It can be seen low on siding but will usually be trailing on the siding going up, the nests can be found high in the building like in the attic.
- This ant is big surprise for our customers; they usually don’t think it’s a carpenter ant because of the small size, keep in mind that all ants don’t have to be big to be carpenter ants!