Tag Archives: Food

7 Things You Did Not Know About Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ant

Although you might not care about much else aside from how to get rid of them as soon as possible, carpenter ants are actually very interesting animals we could all learn more about. So while we will cover some ways to rid your home of these pesky insects, take a moment to read this and better appreciate them as well.

1. Their Name

As you may have guessed (or found out the hard way) carpenter ants get their unique name because of their preference for creating nests out of wood. While these nests suit them perfectly fine, this obviously becomes a problem for those of us trying to live in homes made out of wood.

2. Different Types

There are over 12,000 different types of ants on this planet that we currently know about. So it probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that nine of those are considered different types of carpenter ants.

Of course, they all have different jobs within their colony. So you have a worker carpenter ant that is only about as wide as pencil’s diameter and then you have a queen ant which can be as long across as a quarter.

3. The Colony

Speaking of which, the colony is the central part of every carpenter ant’s life. This is the case with all types of ants of course. Carpenter ants build a colony around their one fertilized queen. She starts it off by finding a cavity amongst wood. From there she begins her nest.

When the first brood hatches, the queen now has a small army of workers. The queen is actually a very good mother, feeding her brood saliva and refusing to leave the nest or even feed herself.

Once they’re ready, however, the workers set off into the world with one mission and one mission only: gather food. In an impressive display of cooperation, ants will bring the food they find back to the nest to feed the queen and prepare for the next generation of worker ants. This cycle will continue as the queen continues to produce more worker ants. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a colony of carpenter ants to reach 2,000 or more!

4. Diet

Despite what many people think, carpenter ants don’t actually eat the wood they harvest. Instead, they leave tiny chunks of it outside the entrance of their colony. These form into small piles.

Carpenter ants actually eat a diverse diet of things that are alive and dead. This includes other insects and scraps of food it find like meat and fats. The ants also have a sweet tooth, so any sugary substance is sure to attract them. The nectar of plants and honeydew are well documented favorites.

5. Habitat

As we covered, carpenter ants love to make their homes out of wood (just like you!). But they have a preference. Not any wood will do. Instead, their preference is the damp variety. For this reason, carpenter ants are particularly fond of tree stumps, plants you may have growing around you home and firewood.

Unfortunately, this is often how they find their way into your home. If carpenter ants find wet or damaged wood on the outside of your home, they’ll be sure to take that as a welcome sign.

Worse still, carpenter ants are quite adaptive. Was that wet wood on the side of your house a fluke? Doesn’t matter. They’ll happily adapt to drier climates in order to make use of your house.

6. Impact

Fortunately, carpenter ants aren’t the type of pests that carry disease with them. But, of course, that doesn’t mean they don’t do a lot of damage. When they burrow through the wood in your home, they leave smooth tubular paths. These tunnels can easily weaken your home’s infrastructure. In some cases, they can even weaken the foundation. In either scenario, the remedy is expensive.

7. Prevention

Alright, here’s the part you’ve been waiting for. This is how you can prevent getting carpenter ants in the first place and get rid of them if you end up having them in your home.

  • Always get rid of standing water.
  • Keep all vegetation away from the home.
  • Check the bottom perimeter of your home for cracks they could enter.
  • Keep firewood and building materials far away from your house.

Once carpenter ants are in your home, your best bet will be traps or calling an exterminator asap.

Pete Kontakos is a husband and father that enjoys writing about various topics like animals, sports and health. He is certified as a wrestling coach and has Management experience in the food and retail industries.

Pest Control Begins With Prevention

A homeowner’s first step in pest control is always prevention. Pests find certain environments more inviting than others, and you want to ensure that your living space isn’t one of them. Though insects and rodents don’t solely target unkempt households, the more meticulous you are with maintenance indoors and around the perimeter of your home, the less you should have to worry about pest infestations causing chaos and property damage and negatively affecting your health. Eliminating appealing elements and sources needed for survival (food, water, and shelter), along with having periodic inspections from a pest control professional, will help you avoid the nuisance of uninvited critters.

Food Sources

Roach On Cracker

It’s no secret that a bite to eat is what a majority of pests are looking for when they enter a home, so properly storing food and cleaning up any remnants of crumbs can help to send them in another direction. Wipe down kitchen counters, don’t leave dishes in the sink, clear up spills quickly and sweep and vacuum the floors regularly. Limit meals, snacks and beverages to the kitchen and dining areas to cut down on the number of places food residue can potentially be found. Keep pantry and leftover food in tightly sealed containers that aren’t vulnerable to gnawing teeth and holes that allow creepy crawlers to enter. Frequently wash out garbage bins (those that are kept inside as well as outside), make sure they are always covered with lids, rinse out all recyclables before tossing them out and take out your kitchen trash daily.

Water Sources

Ant Drinking Water

There are several different kinds of water sources around a property that will attract pests if homeowners aren’t careful. Don’t leave pet bowls out all day and night, thoroughly wring out wet mops, clear out slow or clogged drains and take extra notice of any leaky plumbing indoors. Outside, be sure to clean out all gutters and drainage pipes consistently, fill in any holes that could allow for standing water and keep an eye on decorative landscaping accessories like birdbaths and fountains that can easily become a breeding ground for pests. Humidity may also capture the attention of insects and rodents, making it important to keep your home well-ventilated and to routinely check attics, basements and crawl spaces for signs of dampness.

Shelter Sources

House Mouse Concrete

Sometimes vermin just need to take shelter in a cozy place, but you don’t necessarily want that to be your place. Keep your preventive pest control efforts up by blocking entry points that would give them access indoors. Secure mortar around the foundation of your home, reinforce stripping around doors and windows, install screens, caulk all holes and cracks, repair damaged roofing materials and keep vents closed off or appropriately covered. It’s also a good idea to keep all vegetation well-trimmed and away from the home and to store wood further away on the property, as these things can provide the perfect hiding spots for pests.

Practicing these methods of prevention will assist you in keeping the insects and rodents at bay. But at the first indication of a problem, it’s to your advantage to call in the help of a pest control professional before matters get any worse.

About the Author

Tiffany Olson lives in beautiful Northern California and blogs regularly on pest control and home related topics. When she is not researching or blogging you will usually find her on a weekend road trip or hanging out with good friends.

Realizing the Value in Pest Control

Exterminator SprayingThe significance of pest control goes a lot deeper than many people realize. It’s safe to say that most of us dread the thought of ever having to use this type of service, but there are others that really never give it much thought until they absolutely have reason to. Pest control is much more than just making sure your residence is cleared of the bugs that commonly pop up here and there. Even if finding the telltale signs of insects or rodents in your home don’t necessarily concern you, there are several reasons that pest control services are necessary for a better quality of life.

Health Concerns

As a result of all the germs they carry around with them, pests have notoriously been the cause of sickness and disease in decades past. Better pest control over the years has led to a decrease in related health concerns, but we must continue to implement insect and rodent management strategies, especially in our homes, if we want to continue to prevent contamination. Many allergic reactions and asthma attacks are caused by pests that have infiltrated a home and gone undetected.

Agricultural Production

Pest control in agricultural production has always been crucial to maintaining much of our food source. Without it, there is a very real possibility that all of the plant-eating pests out there could wipe out many of the crops we rely on. A plant’s health and productivity depends heavily on the effective management of insects and the methods used to enforce it. In an effort to respect the environmental movement and the worries that many people have about the use of chemicals in agriculture, great strides have been taken to use sustainable pest control tactics.

Impact on Public Businesses

No one wants to eat in a restaurant or employ the services of a business where pests are obviously running rampant. This, again, suggests there should be cause for health concerns, especially when the contamination of food is in question. An effective pest control method must be executed immediately in a food service business. Any other type of industry or company can expect to see a decrease in client relations as well when they can’t keep up clean appearances which in turn will eventually begin to affect our economy’s growth.

Termite DamageStructural Damage

If you’re a homeowner, you should already be aware of the destruction caused every year by pests like termites, carpenter ants and rodents that will eat through a structure or chew on electrical wires and wreak all kinds of havoc. The cost of repairs can be quite hefty, and the stresses that come along with having to deal with an especially damaging situation can be prevented with regular termite and pest inspections and subsequent management procedures.

The key to living a lifestyle that doesn’t include pests is to be aware of your surroundings and take action before the threat of infestation becomes too much to handle. Whichever method you choose to use, the importance of pest control becomes evident once you become informed of just how much the lack of it would negatively impact our environment.

About the Author

Tiffany Olson is a full-time blogger from Northern California who writes regularly about home issues including pest control.  A great resource for information is Killroy Pest Control who specializes in pest control in Hayward.