An ant infestation is not quite as devastating as a termite infestation, but it does require careful attention to avoid structural failures that can result from their tunneling into your home. Unlike termites, ants do not eat wood for its nutritional value. They burrow into the wood to make their nest in order to breed and use the wood shavings to build partitions (walls) inside the tunnels of their nests. Most species start their nests in any moist wood that has begun to decay around the parameter of the house. They commonly nest in wood retaining walls, wet porches/decks and fascia boards, dead portions of standing trees, stumps, and logs. They attack both hardwoods and softwoods, but normally they do not cause extensive structural damage like termites do.
CARPENTER ANT DAMAGE
The first step in carpenter ant control should always include mechanical modifications to the structure and environment. The object is to reduce the avenues available for carpenter ants to enter a home or structure, as well as removing possible food and water sources.
If any tree limbs are in contact with the roof, cut them back. Carpenter ants can easily drop to a structure from tree limbs as high as five feet above the roof.
Move firewood away from the house as you would for Termites.
Seal cracks along foundations, siding, windows and doors with caulk and install fine mesh screens over crawl space and attic vents.
Ants need water in addition to food and eliminating any sources of water will make an area less hospitable to carpenter ants. If necessary, fix plumbing leaks, insulate sweating pipes, reroute air conditioner drains and make sure sprinkler heads are properly adjusted.
Any wood trim (around your home) that continues to remain moist, will attract Carpenter Ants. They thrive on moist wood. Always take precautions on keeping all wood in and around your home dry at all times.
Be sure to keep your house and yard free from any sweets or grease that might distract the ants. If you start to see ant trails, place containerized baits near a suspected ant trail; put liquid bait in cracks and void areas where ants have been seen. The first sign that the bait is working is an increase in the number of ants, in the bait area.
Do not kill any ants, as they must bring the bait back to the colony where it can be effective. The entire population should decrease eventually.
Do not spray any insecticides once you have placed a bait. Doing so could make the bait ineffective or kill the worker ants that must transport the bait back to their breeding area.
THIS IS A CARPENTER ANT COLONY THAT WILL DRAMATICALLY INCREASE IN SIZE
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You did a Pre-Sale inspection of our home in N. Reading on 11/2006 as Sellers. I must say you prepared us well; can't say as much for the Buyers inspector who missed all the areas where we were still vulnerable.
Anyway, we are putting in an offer on a house in Littleton and proposing a 6/18 inspection date. House was built in 1979, about 2300 sqft. Wanted to give you a heads up.