Yes, there are some types of ants that actually establish a nest inside your home instead of merely entering to forage for food and returning outdoors. |
Ants in this category may be present year round, although they will be more active in the warmer months. Ant species that may live in Nebraska homes include crazy ants, odorous house ants, pavement ants, pharaoh ants, thief ants, and carpenter ants. All of these ants may infest food products. Spraying a residual insecticide to control foraging workers may provide only short-term control. Even when over 99 percent of foraging workers are killed by insecticide sprays, the colony may rebuild to its original numbers. Location and total destruction of the nest is the most direct way to eliminate this ant infestation. Again, workers must eat the bait, take it back to the nest, and feed to the queen and larval ants. This type of control is incompatible with treatments that prevent workers from returning to the nest with the bait.
Unlike other home-inhabiting ants, carpenter ants cause structural damage to wood by tunnelling and nesting inside wood structures. However, they rarely nest in sound wood, but consistently invade wood that has become wet and started to decay. Carpenter ants are large about 3/8 to 1/2" long and black or red.
The best way to control carpenter ants that inhabit a dwelling is to find the nest and destroy it. Insecticide sprays inside the home will kill some of the worker ants, but unless the entire nest is treated, the queen will continue to produce additional members of the colony. Locating a nest can be difficult because nests may be in locations within the walls or roof rafters. At this point, some homeowners may prefer to work with a professional pest control company. The most likely places to find carpenter ant nests are where wood has been wet and weathered, such as rotting timbers about the foundation, window sills, porches, around leaky plumbing, and in rafters under a leaky roof.
Carpenter ants are most active in the evening hours foraging for all kinds of food, both inside the house and outside. By following ants, you may be able to tell where the nest is. Because carpenter ants keep the tunnelled galleries very clean and push the sawdust and dead insect parts out small holes in the wood, a small, fresh pile of sawdust under the nest timber is the usual sign of an active carpenter ant nest. Once a nest is found, treatment is usually easy with either an insecticide dust or spray. Injection of insecticide into wall voids or the nest itself may be necessary to insure complete control.
To prevent further carpenter ant infestations, trim all trees and bushes so branches do not touch the house and correct moisture problems such as leaky roofs and plumbing. Paint and/or seal exposed wood construction before it becomes wet. Replace previously ant-infested wood, rotted, or water-damaged wooden parts of the structure and eliminate wood/soil contacts. Remove dead stumps on the property and store firewood off the ground and away from the structure.
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