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Get Carpenter Ants Out Of Kirkland Homes​

ProGuard Fast Facts: Western Carpenter Ant (CA)

Scientific Name:  Camponotus Modoc

  • A large black ant, with workers ranging in size .28 to ½ inch long!
  • In nature carpenter ants nest in dead wood. They are classified as a “wood destroying organism” (WDO) and a structural risk due to the damage that they can cause to the siding, framing and other wood areas of a home.
  • Recognizable due to large size and uniformly rounded abdomen.
  • Dull black body and reddish legs. Abdomen will have golden hairs covering it.

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     The largest ant found in Kirkland and the Greater Seattle area is the western carpenter ant. This species of ant occurs naturally in the area, pre-dating the construction of all of the homes, buildings, towns and cities in Western Washington. A part of nature’s cycle, carpenter ants help break down dead wood in forests and other woody areas. Around homes, however, these industrious insects can cause quite a bit of damage. Read on to learn more about carpenter ants and options to rid your home of carpenter ants.

     Carpenter ants are found in just about every part of the Pacific Northwest: in homes in Bothell, bathrooms in Woodinville, crawl spaces in Issaquah and even in attics in Kenmore. Carpenter ants don’t eat wood – they excavate quantities to make room for nesting. Carpenter ant colonies in a home or structure is usually a satellite colony. When carpenter ants damage your home, they do so by creating “runs” or “galleries” in wood beams. This weakens the beam, rafter, or other wood and can cause structural damage and unsafe conditions.

      The main nest is typically outside of the home, located in a dead stump, log or other decayed wood. The satellite colony might be as small as a few hundred members but can grow to several thousand strong…and each main nest can have up to 20 satellite colonies. That’s a lot of carpenter ants potentially damaging your home! Call Now 425-445-8020

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     Carpenter ant colonies start with a single queen. This queen lays eggs, which hatch to produce workers. This can take time, of course, so entomologists can estimate that a colony with 200 to 300 workers is 2-4 years old. Satellite colonies, however, can reproduce quickly and cause damage at a faster pace because the population is already established with larvae, pupae and winged reproductive. Colonies of carpenter ants typically have between 10,000 and 50,000 members.

      Like other ants, carpenter ants go through what is known as complex metamorphosis, changing in shape and appearance as they pass through egg, larvae, pupa and adult stages. This normally takes about 60 days from egg to adult. Nests contain workers – sterile females – along with a single functional queen. The population will also include winged females and males which come out in late summer and will overwinter in the nest. During the spring reproductive cycle, winged ants are often mistaken for termites. The impregnated female ant will select a nest site: a log, stump, or in the timbers of a house. Within days she will lay her first batch of eggs, and the colony is under way.

      The first batch of carpenter ant workers are small, so are referred to as “minor workers” or just “minors”. The minors take over the function of nest excavation, brood rearing, and foraging for food. As the queen carpenter ant continues to produce eggs, the minors feed the emerging larvae resulting in larger workers. Some get quite large, in fact, and are referred to as “majors”. Entomologists (scientists that study insects) have determined that a colony will not produce winged reproductive until the population has over 2,000 workers – a process that takes 6 to 10 years. 

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     ProGuard Pest Protection offers proven techniques to provide immediate relief to get rid of carpenter ants in and around your home. Because of the size of the colonies and the reality that effective pest control means finding and eliminating satellite and main colonies, a recurring treatment is necessary to completely exterminate carpenter ants. Usually we can find a trail of ants from the main nest to the satellite, but carpenter ants are most active on their trails at night so their movements during the day isn’t always visible. With their focus on clearing wood to make room for their expansion, carpenter ants are unseen when inside your home as they work behind the wall, under you floor or overhead in your attic. The experts at ProGuard Pest Protection know where to look, what the warning signs are, how to properly identify carpenter ants, and how to treat the various areas to rid your home of carpenter ants. 

Call 425-445-8020 now to schedule a service.

      Liquid baits are most effective at introducing treatment to the colony. Ants drink the sweet bait and store it in their bodies. When they return to the colony, the worker ant regurgitates the bait where the queen and other ants consume the bait as well. While very effective, this process takes time as ants continue to carry the bait back to the colony. This means that homeowners will try various home remedies and internet solutions in an attempt to quicken the ant control:

• Sprinkling cinnamon trails around the house

• “Dusting” window sills and doorways with cayenne pepper

• Spraying ants with hair spray, gasoline, Windex

• Piling diatomaceous earth as a perimeter barrier

     These are just a few remedies offered in a quick internet search, and some sound downright dangerous! Others will have little to no effect on the colony if there is any effect at all on the foraging ants and can result in secondary issues such as attracting bigger pests such as mice and rats, or flies and fungus gnats. Also, while several brands of “ant spray” can be readily obtained at the garden store, applying repellent and non-repellent pesticides can negate each other and cause colony disruption which can lead to a satellite colony being created…making the problem worse rather than better!

     Getting the best pest control with ProGuard Pest Protection ensures that you won’t have issues with carpenter ants, spiders, yellowjackets and other pests. We use proven methods for getting rid of ants. Carpenter ants in Kirkland (including the communities of Juanita, Finn Hill, Totem Lake, Evergreen Hill, Kingsgate, Rose Hill, Highlands, Norkirk, Market, Moss Bay, Everest, Bridle Trails, Central Houghton and Lakeview) have a complex foraging strategy, allocates food depending upon environmental conditions and competes with other insect species in order to survive. We’ve successfully completed ant extermination in neighboring areas as well, including Bothell, Kenmore, Woodinville, Redmond and Bellevue.

     Homeowners can help by caulking cracks and crevices that can be found around foundations. Other sites to seal are small cracks around window frames and door frames as these can provide entry for these large black ants. Carpenter ants (as well as other ant species) will frequently use wires and pipes to come into a home and can be found crawl spaces and attics, leaving mounds of “frass” which resemble sawdust or very small wood chips. While this can be visually alarming, and in rare cases a fire hazard, an indoor treatment from ProGuard Pest Protection can get rid of ants and start the process of protecting your home from further infestation. Further inspection may disclose a colony within the wall void, and our experts have professional pesticide dusts as an option to apply that will eradicate the nest. 

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     Additionally, maintaining a clean and sanitary home will reduce the likelihood of ant and other pest infestation. In kitchens, ensure that food items – especially sugary ones – are sealed and properly stored. Sugar, syrup, honey and other liquids should be checked to cleaned from drips or other residue on outer surfaces. Pet food containers are a common item that can have solid or liquids smeared on the outside of the container that can attract ants. Another common attractant for carpenter ants in and around homes is decaying fruits and other sweet materials that can be found in garbage and recycling bins. Empty soft drink containers and bottles should be rinsed prior to being placed in the recycling to not provide a pool of sweet liquid. Cleaning up grease and other food spills will also go a long way to removing the food sources that carpenter ants, other ants and pests are attracted to.

     It can sometimes be possible to hear the faint scratching sound of carpenter ants at work behind the wall. In other instances, the ants will emerge through heat registers, under baseboards, or from under sinks. Outdoors, plants are used by carpenter ants to support and harvest honeydew from aphids, scale insects, mealybugs or whiteflies. The best practice here is to avoid planting trees and shrubs so close to the house as to make contact. Over time as these landscaping features grow continual pruning is recommended to avoid physical contact with the side of the home to prevent a “highway” of sorts for CAs and other species of ants. Raking back bark and mulch will not only reduce ant infestation along the foundation wall but will also reduce wood-to-soil contact and the associated presence of moisture along siding. Paying attention to leaky exterior faucets and sprinkler heads will cut down on water waste as well as remove a water source for ants and other pest insects.

Return to our ant service options or call ProGuard Pest Protection now at 425-445-8020 to schedule carpenter ant service.