If you know that carpenter ants tunnel through wood and build their nests in wood, you might think that wood is the biggest attractant for these insects, but wood is actually toward the bottom of the list. What is more interesting to carpenter ants than wood? Let's take a look.
These ants tunnel through rotting wood and damp habitats are the best place to find rotting wood. If you have moisture issues, you're likely to have carpenter ant issues. What causes moisture to become a problem? Here are a few to consider.
- Clogged gutters can cause rainwater to spill over and soak your perimeter. This can create a high level of moisture in the ground and prevent rainwater from quickly soaking in after it rains. This results in moisture problems.
- Overzealous watering of plants can cause your landscaping to be damp. One of the first things that extra landscape moisture will do is attract insects. We recommend giving your plants only the water they need, and water them in the early morning. This gives the sun time to dry the moisture quickly.
- Dense landscaping can trap moisture. If you have grass or weeds in your landscaping, you should pluck them. If you have bushes, hedges, or shrubs that need trimming, it is a good idea to do so.
- Leaky hoses or sprinklers can cause excess water to leak out after you're done watering, which can cause oversaturation and puddles to form, or add to moisture that allows puddles to form.
Carpenter Ant Food
These ants can eat sources of sugar or protein, and they aren't picky about where they get them. One of the first food sources to consider is your trash receptacles. Make sure you bag your trash and keep it in covered containers. For added protection, we recommend keeping your receptacles free of strong odors that can attract carpenter ants. Here are a few more carpenter ant food sources you should consider.
Honeydew. When aphids and other plant-damaging pests feed on the sap in your plants, they excrete a sweet substance called honeydew. This is like ice cream for carpenter ants. They love honeydew so much that they sometimes corral and protect aphids as a farmer might protect cows for milking.
Insects. A popular source of protein for carpenter ants are living and dead insects. If you have lots of pest activity around your home, you're going to invite carpenter ants. Pest maintenance reduces pest activity and protects your property from carpenter ant damage.
Food. If any human or pet food is left outside, carpenter ants are going to be drawn to it.
When considering carpenter ant attractants, you need to also consider the conducive conditions that promote carpenter ant activity. This is where wood fits into the picture.
- Stacked firewood or construction materials are perfect for carpenter ant habitation. They'll explore underneath wood for insects and invertebrates to eat, and tunnel inside the wood.
- Stumps, logs, and dead branches attract carpenter ants because they can find damp conditions underneath wood, and they can tunnel into wood that is buried underground.
- Leaf litter and leaf piles attract carpenter ants in a similar way dead branches do. Leaves can hold moisture underneath, and this attracts insects and invertebrates, which carpenter ants feed on.
- Rotting wood on a deck, fence, shed, or left over materials from construction projects are all attractants for carpenter ants. If given enough incentive, carpenter ants can create extensive galleries inside the wood of your property.
How To Deter Carpenter Ants
Now that you know what attracts carpenter ants to your D.C. property, it makes sense that you can deter those ants by removing these attractants. You can do some of this yourself.
- Clean clogs in your gutter system and make sure your gutters, splash blocks and downspouts are all in good working condition.
- Manage the water you give your landscaping, but also manage your landscaping so that it stays healthy. Decaying plants are a strong attractant for aphids and other insect pests.
- Yard maintenance is one of the best ways to deter pests. Keep on top of leaf and stick removal. Get rid of woodpiles, or elevate the piles so they don't touch the ground. Remove stumps, and refrain from burying wood on your property.
How Miche Pest Control Can Help
When you invest in ongoing residential pest control service from Miche Pest Control, your D.C. yard will have what it needs to resist and control carpenter ants. Not only do our licensed technicians reduce pest activity around your home, they do routine inspections to detect carpenter ants early and directly treat areas where these ants are found. If you'd like to learn more, we'd love the opportunity to discuss your options. Reach out to us today.