How to Prepare Your Ontario, CA Home Against Carpenter Ants in Spring

February 14, 2022

Something not-so-magical happens every spring here in Ontario: Carpenter ants release flying ants from their nests in response to the warm weather. Flying carpenter ants are male and female reproductives that gather into swarms that last less than 30 minutes and then break away to find locations suitable for establishing nests. If you're reading this in early spring, this may not have happened yet, so there is still time for you to make some changes in your yard that can help to prevent carpenter ants from choosing your home in which to build their homes. If you're reading this in late spring, the following tips can give you some insight into where to look to see if you have a carpenter ant infestation. May is typically the beginning of carpenter ant season for Ontario residents. Here's what you need to know.

a carpenter ant on the ground

What Makes A Property Suitable For Carpenter Ants?

Those wood-damaging insects don't just get into any home they find. They have conditions they look for. If these conditions are present on your property, you could lure carpenter ants in.

  • Wood piles: There is nothing a carpenter ant loves more than a woodpile. If you keep firewood in your yard, it is a good idea to store it at least 20 feet from your home and build a structure to keep the wood from sitting on the ground where these ants can gain easy access to it.
    Stumps, logs, and decaying trees: In nature, this is where carpenter ants can usually be found. If you have any of these in your yard, they could help carpenter ants establish themselves in your yard and eventually get into your home. Remove dead or dying trees from your property to resist carpenter ants.
  • Trees close to your home: Carpenter ants can get into trees that appear perfectly healthy. Inside these trees, they will target dead tissue and not disrupt the flow of nutrients and water that sustain the tree. Do an inspection of trees on your property and see if you have any big black ants crawling around on them. If you do, reach out to a professional for treatment.
  • Food: Carpenter ants have a wide and diverse diet. One staple of their diet is honeydew. This is created by aphids and scales. These ants love it so much that they will sometimes corral aphids like a farmer corrals cows for their milk. If you have aphids, scales, and other plant-eating insects on your property, then you have a desirable food source for carpenter ants. We'll talk later about how you can reduce plant-eating pests.
  • Water: There are many ways water in your yard can invite carpenter ants in since it provides nourishment for those ants. Address any conditions in your yard that allow rainwater to create puddles in your yard.

The Role Moisture Plays In Attracting Carpenter Ants

When moisture gets into wood it can create the conditions for wood to decay. This decay is highly attractive to carpenter ants and will lure them to your property. If you reduce moisture in your yard, you can create less opportunity for fungi to grow and for wood decay to begin. This will ultimately work to resist carpenter ants. Here are some ways to reduce moisture:

  • Your gutter system is important for the health of your home. It channels rainwater down and away from the wood of your home to prevent saturation. If your gutter system is broken or obstructed, it can lead to fungal growth, wood decay, and pest infestation—including infestations of carpenter ants. Make sure your gutters are free of debris and able to channel the water away.
  • The shade is nice. It gives you a cool place to sit on a hot sunny day. But too much shade can become a problem because it prevents the sunlight from drying the soil around your home. If you have an area near your home where the ground stays damp for a while after it rains, consider trimming branches and other vegetation to let the sunlight in. Also, consider creating spaces between the plants in your landscaping to allow good airflow. This, too, can help to dry things out.
  • When organic debris such as leaves and sticks lying on the ground, they can help dampness occur. It is a good idea to keep leaves and sticks raked up. This will help reduce carpenter ants and a wide range of other potential pests.
  • If you have a leaking spigot, your water bills are going to be higher. That is enough reason to fix that leak fast. But keep in mind that fixing leaks will also reduce dampness.

Carpenter Ant Food Sources

We touched on honeydew earlier. This is one of many food sources that can bring carpenter ants into your yard. Let's take a look at some of these food sources.

  • The plants in your yard can invite many pests in. They can be a location for spiders to set up webs. They can be an incentive for wasps to build a nest in your home. They can provide a hiding place for mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, cockroaches and other pests. And, of course, they give carpenter ants a food source. Carpenter ants feed on living and dead insects and are particularly fond of honeydew. What can you do about this? The best solution is routine treatments from a licensed professional. There is no way to control such a wide variety of creatures without the application of pest control products. And pest control products should always be administered by an educated and certified pest professional.
  • Your exterior trash has lots of food options. Make sure all of your trash bags are put in sealed receptacles. This keeps the smell of your trash in and pests out. Keep in mind that carpenter ants can squeeze past the seal on many trash receptacles. If you have a loose seal, that's okay. Just make sure the outside of your receptacles are cleaned periodically and keep an eye out for ant activity.
  • If you have pets and you put pet food outside, be aware that carpenter ants may decide to dine on your pet's food. It is better to feed your pet inside. But, if that isn't a good option for you, consider putting food down only during mealtimes and never leave it overnight. Carpenter ants are mostly nocturnal in nature.
  • Do you like to cook outside? If you have a grill, this can become a dining hall for carpenter ants. Be sure to keep things as clean as possible after you're done with your cooking. And, if carpenter ants show up while you're having a cookout, take it as a warning sign that they might be inside your deck, patio, or porch.

Can Carpenter Ants Get Into A Home That Has No Rotting Wood?

Okay. This is one of the most important questions we get. Many customers want to know if carpenter ants will attack a home that doesn't have any rotting wood because carpenter ants don't tunnel in sound wood. The answer is yes; carpenter ants can get into a home that has no rotting wood. They will get in the same way other pests do. Here are some examples:

  • Under door sweeps: If you have a gap in the door sweep of an exterior door, it can give carpenter ants a way inside. Once inside, they will gravitate to areas of high humidity. If they find rotting wood inside your home, they can establish themselves.
  • The weatherstripping around doors: This is another point of vulnerability for many homes. When gaps form in the rubber weather stripping around a door, it can let a variety of pests in.
  • The frame around doors: Frames are typically high-moisture areas on a home. This can cause frames to soften. If a rodent begins to chew on a door frame, it can create a hole for carpenter ants to get in. If a door frame is softened enough, carpenter ants may chew their own hole to get in. Examine your door frames and use a caulking gun to fill in any holes that you're not able to repair immediately.
  • Window frames: When a window is installed in a home, the hole the window is put into is larger than the window. The frame around the window helps to create a seal to cover any gaps, but it isn't usually enough. Caulk is often needed to make the window weatherproof. If this caulk seal is damaged, it can allow carpenter ants to get in. Do an inspection of all your basement and ground floor windows to see if you have any holes or gaps. Seal any you find.

Control The Ants On Your Property With Earlybird Exterminating

When carpenter ants, other ant pests, or pests, in general, come into your yard, the next step is for those pests to get into your home. The best way to keep them out is with routine visits from a trusted pest control provider. Our team at Earlybird Exterminating has the tools and experience to deal with any pest problem on your Ontario property. To learn more about our ant control options and year-round pest plans, reach out to us today.  

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