Every ant you see represents hundreds - to thousands of larvae, workers, and reproductives, that you don't.
They can have 12 or more nests in each colony, with multiple nests in your home, multiple related nests outside, and the main nest site can be 300 yards from your home - often in a tree or stump.
All nests and foraging sites are connected by ‘scent trails’. Trails that lead more ants from the same colony back to your home.
Carpenter Ant Queens live 30+ years and workers up to 10.
Carpenter Ants don't eat wood - they tear it apart to nest in it.
Left: A carpenter ant worker bringing an insect (food) back to the nest.
Right: It is not uncommon for carpenter ants to walk great distances upside down - especially up under the siding of your home.
Regardless of the species of carpenter ant (there are several) there will be large, small, and medium size ants in every nest - unless the nest has just started. In fact, if all your ants are exactly the same size, you probably don't have carpenter ants. Check out our link to ant identification if you aren't sure if you have carpenter ants.
Note the smoothly convex (rounded top) middle section (thorax) and the single node between the middle and last section (gaster) in the picture shown. This is a carpenter ant - regardless of size or color, all carpenter ants will look similar - and they will all damage wood.
The big ones with wings are reproductive females (future queens). The small one with wings are male reproductive carpenter ants. Most reproductives lose their wings soon after swarming.
If you have big ants - your nest is at least a few years old. Winged ants? At least 10.
Damage often occurs in areas that are not visible to inspection such as inside walls, in the sheathing of flat roofs, or up under insulation. Damage usually consists of very small particles of wood that the ants pull off bit by bit with their plier shaped jaws (mandibles). It is sometimes referred to as 'frass' although true insect frass contains insect droppings.
It is not uncommon for contractors or repairmen to discover carpenter ant damage while doing home repairs, especially when repairing bathrooms, roof systems, and decks - moisture and rot sensitive areas. It is also common for them to not tell you about it. Roofers especially, do not want to stop mid job and wait for the carpenter ant exterminator to show up.
Damage can also occur in materials besides wood. In particular, the solid core insulation on flat roof homes and under faux stucco siding systems - is a preferred nesting material for carpenter ants and damage in these structural elements can be severe.
Carpenter ants were busy damaging both the insulation of this roof and the tongue and grove ceiling.
Common household treatment options often make things worse.
They kill a few visible ants, they make you see fewer ants, but they do nothing to eliminate the thousands upon thousands you don’t see. Ants in non-visible areas that can actively be damaging the structure of your home.
Over the counter pesticide sprays are REPELLENT, but so are lots of household chemicals, Windex, Lysol, alcohol, bleach, ANY essential oil, including citrus and mint oils, even lemon juice can keep you from seeing ants.
So you weren't seeing 99.9% and now you see none.
Unlike other types of ants, baits do not work on Carpenter Ants. When given the chance to access their preferred food sources, aphid secretions and other live insects, Carpenter Ants may remove baits in their way, but will not consume them.
Any Carpenter Ant Control strategy must eliminate all the ants in your home, not just the ones you see, and protect your home from future damage and re-infestation.
Carpenter Ants do not eat wood, they must get outside to get to food. You can spend a lot to get rid of them super fast, or you can spend a little to get rid of them slowly. Carpenter Ant treatments can cost as little as $99.00.
On The Exterior:
We inspect and spray the exterior perimeter base of your home – up to ten feet out if needed, under and around decks, the edges of walkways and driveways, fence lines, and attached vegetation.
We inspect and spray any ant activity we note in your yard.
We use professional grade non-repellent sprays that the ants cannot sense, rated as being 20X LESS toxic than the caffeine in your morning cup of coffee. Sprays that last up to 90 days per application.
Once the ants are out, we switch to even less toxic, repellent sprays—to keep them away.
This limited service, with no additional services or inspections, can cost as little as $99.00 - but it will not get rid of all your ants in one treatment.
Inside Your Walls:
Exterior wall void injection. All exterior wall voids, or more commonly, areas of known and / or suspected activity.
Inside Your Attic and or Sub Area:
Thorough inspection and treatment of attic / roof voids and sub area crawl spaces. Common Carpenter Ant nesting areas.
Inside Your Home:
Inspection and treatment wall voids where indicated: through electrical and plumbing, plates, and collars—in areas of consistent or heavy activity. Inspection and treatment under and behind, baseboards and cabinetry. In some homes, we will treat roof beams and tongue and groove ceilings.
Where possible, we use all natural, fresh water diatomaceous earth in areas where it will not become airborne. In some areas, we may suggest drilling and injecting, or other effective treatment strategies.
The average service inlcudes treatment of the exterior, the attic & sub-areas, treatment of suspect wall voids, and spot treatment of interior activity.
Why We Perform Quarterly Services:
Ants inside your home. House ants can have huge nests, and several of them, spread out in all kinds of areas we don’t have direct access to. Unless you have a tent fumigation, it can take some time to eliminate all the ants inside your home.
Ants outside your home. Your ants are related to ants in other related nests in your neighborhood. All of these ant populations are connected with ‘scent’ trails that can last for many years. These ‘scent’ trails are flashing neon lights advertising your home’s location to other ants.
Why We Treat During The Winter:
It takes Diatomaceous earth about a year to tightly clump and adhere to the surfaces it’s applied to. So about once a year, we try to get inside to inspect and reapply to these areas.
This service typically takes longer than our outside services, is worth more than our outside services, and it works to cut down on other insects pests such as wasps and spiders too!
This service is especially important for Carpenter Ants, as they can and do nest & forage underground, and often come up in sub areas and from cracks in slab floors.
It also allows us to look for signs of moisture in your attic and sub areas - big draws for Carpenter Ants.
At Safeguard, we perform an interior and exterior safety inspection prior to every service, to avoid spraying gardens, herbs, flowers in bloom, pet food dishes, and toys. We take your health and safety seriously. We use the least toxic and most natural materials that still get results. At every service, we also look for other pests which could infest your home and cause you future inconvenience.
Please visit our page: Carpenter Ant Prevention to learn how to make your treatment more effective and possibly less expensive.
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Providing Carpenter ant control services in the Greater Seattle area for 20 years!
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