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Seattle Pest Control and Home Services: How Much Damage Can Carpenter Ants Do To My Home?

Monday, March 18, 2013

How Much Damage Can Carpenter Ants Do To My Home?

$88 ant treatment coupon"I knew that I had little black ants, but I never knew these were carpenter ants".  That is what Lois was saying to me as we stood in her bathroom looking at the hole in the floor.  Her handyman son in law found the damage while replacing the linoleum and went under the house to find more and more damage.  She was a nice elderly lady that reminded me a lot of my grandma, so it brought me no pleasure to tell her that much of her subfloor had been damaged by carpenter ants and that it could potentially weaken the structural stability of the floor she walked on every morning.

For years she would see these black ants.  Some of them  were small and some big, but never did she know that what she was seeing every day was the Pacific Northwest's most common wood destroying pest.  It is a pest that can wreak havoc on a persons home and unfortunately, that is exactly what happened to poor Lois.  Have you seen them around your house?

First, if you see a large ant, the chances are that it is a carpenter ant.  Of course, there are a few exceptions, but I cannot tell you how many times we have encountered them and have home owners say that they had no idea that it was a wood destroying pest.  Here are a few distinguishing marks:

-Usually large and black.  If it is an established colony, you may see some with wings.

-They are polymorphic, meaning that they can come in all shapes and sizes.  Most types of ants are one size and do not have variations in the entire colony, but carpenter ants can be big, medium and small.

Carpenter ants are typically going to be looking for soft, water damaged wood, but not always.  If you have wood piles around the house that are starting to rot, you might be inviting them to come on over.  It is always important to remove any conducive conditions away from the house like wood piles or railroad ties.  People also ask us all the time if it is a bad idea to have bark dust around the house, but this is not what they are looking for, so don't worry about that.  Carpenter ants do not actually eat the wood that they are infesting like a termite does.  Instead, they simply burrow their way into it, making long, cylinder shaped nests.

A good clue that they are doing damage to your home is if you see their frass (basically the wood shaving that they leave behind when mining into your structure).  It has been estimated that an established colony can do up to $17 worth of damage each day!  At least, that is what I have been told ever since I have been the industry.

A typical carpenter ant treatment from a pest control company is generally going to run you anywhere from $100 to about $400 depending on the size of your home, so it is well worth it to have these destructive insects treated long before they give you a hole in your bathroom like I found at Lois' house.  If you would like more information on carpenter ant treatments, I would be happy to help you.  Also, for my blogger guests, I have included a $88 ant treatment coupon for you.  Go ahead and write down the coupon code ANT101 (no need to print it) and give me a call at Healthy Homes Pest Control and I would be happy to help you! 

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