3 simple steps for keeping carpenter ants out of your house

Abell Pest Control

Carpenter ants can chew through the strongest studs and stringers in a house as they hollow the wooden beams out for nesting. The resulting damage can weaken the home's structural support and require expensive repairs. Professional pest control workers can remove a colony of ants, but the best practice for homeowners is to learn the best ways to keep out an ant colony and prevent the problem before it begins.

  1. The first step is to examine your yard and eliminate the conditions that can attract a colony to your neighborhood in the first place, according to the home improvement site BobVila.com. Haul away any rotting stumps, landscaping timbers and dead trees. Many ants found inside people's homes are actually nesting outside, so clearing out those potential breeding areas can convince the bugs to look elsewhere for a home.

  2. Another smart move is to trim back any trees or bushes that lean against your home. That will stop any ants living in the rotting wood from using the branches as a bridge to reach the tasty timber of the house. Next, take a walk around your home with a caulking gun and seal any cracks where pipes or wires enter the walls. Filling those gaps and other foundation cracks will block off another easy entrance for roaming ants, the site says.

  3. Families with fireplaces can take another step to deny entry to ants if they store any firewood outdoors, but avoid stacking it directly on the ground. Instead, pile those logs of maple, cherry, oak and ash on top of inorganic material such as bricks or cobblestones, experts at BobVila.com say.

Looking for solutions

Homeowners who suspect they might have carpenter ants inside can look for signs such as piles of sawdust, rustling sounds in the walls and trails of ants between the home foundation and piles of decaying wood in the yard, noted experts with the Washington Toxics Coalition. The only way to be sure what type of ant has visited your home is to collect a few specimens in a bag or jar and have a pest control service examine them under a microscope. Identifying the insect will allow a professional to locate the nest and begin a discussion of solutions, such as spraying a pesticide outdoors or sprinkling powder inside the walls. Another option is laying out chemical baits, convincing the ants to emerge from hiding and ingest the poisons themselves. For the safest approach, consult with a pest management service such as Abell Pest Control Inc.

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