Finding Carpenter Ant Nests
Most homeowners get nervous when they think that carpenter ants have invaded their home. Carpenter ants cause damage to homes when they make their nests inside of wood. Outdoors the nest is usually in trees, stumps, or woodpiles. When they invade homes, carpenter ants can choose a variety of wood to make their nest.
Carpenter ants usually come indoors to find food or water. If they find a food supply or a water source, the ants often make a nest nearby. These nests are often inside void spaces, like walls or cabinet bases. Homeowners report hearing the rustling sounds of the ant moving around inside the voids.
If carpenter ants find wood that is damp or decaying, they hollow out galleries in it to make nests. They excavate the inside of the wood and create piles of debris. The debris usually looks like wood shavings. There are often body parts of dead insects in the debris. These are the remains of insects that the ants used as food.
The ants push the debris out of the gallery openings. Homeowners find piles of debris on floors and windowsills. Many times the nest openings are directly above the piles of debris.
Carpenter ants also nest in the foam sheathing that homebuilders use during construction. The ants excavate galleries in the foam. Homeowners find small pieces of foam on the ground outside beside the foundation.
Carpenter ant workers are active at night and on cloudy days. When the workers go out, they usually march in lines along established trails. It is usually easier to find carpenter ant nests by inspecting at night. It is often possible find a nest by following a line of workers.
Mature carpenter ant colonies make satellite nests near food or water sources and in comfortable nesting sites. It is common to find colonies with more than twenty satellite nests. The workers will travel between the satellite nests, the food sources, and the main nest.
By listening for ant activity, watching for trailing workers, locating areas with moisture problems, and recognizing debris from nests, homeowners can find carpenter ant nests. Many pest control professionals make a diagram of the home when they are solving a carpenter ant infestation. They mark the places where ants have been active and locations of the carpenter ant nests on the diagram. In this way, it is easier to plan an effective treatment program. It helps ensure that all of the ants are treated.