Carpenter ant

Carpenter ants can damage homes by chewing tunnels into wood weakened by moisture.

When enjoying a nice summer day, you are bound to come into contact with some pests.

One of the most common summer pests is the carpenter ant. These ants are one of the largest ants in the United States and can range in color from black, to a tan/yellow or red color. The most common color is black and these ants are anywhere between a quarter- to half-inch in length.

These spring and summer visitors can have colonies of over 40,000 worker ants and these colonies live on both the inside and outside of structures. Carpenter ants will typically build their nests in damp decaying wood and can occasionally be found in soft building materials such as Styrofoam insulation. They do not feed on wood like termites, but they do excavate tunnels in the wood to build their nests.

One method to prevent these ants from taking up residence is to trim back tree branches and bushes that touch your home or other structures. This keeps the ants from using these materials as a bridge for an access point into the building.

Another best practice to seal entry points such as holes, unsealed pipe/wire, and doors/windows so the ants cannot use these as a way in.

It is also recommended to prevent long-term moisture from entering your home and rotting the wood as this is where ants like to build their nests. Pay special attention to the areas around your windows and kitchen and bathroom drains that tend to have long-term moisture issues.

It is often necessary to call a pest control company to eliminate the infestation once the carpenter ants reach the exterior or interior of the building. The extermination is a simple procedure done to the exterior of the building and is a great way to let your company know they are not welcome!

Chuck Oelig is an associate certified entomologist at 1st Choice Pest Solutions, a member of the Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association. House Calls is submitted by association members. For more information, please call 715-835-2526 or email