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Carpenter ants can be found all over the world, and they are known for attacking rotten or decayed wood. Unlike termites, they will not actually eat the wood, they will just use it to build their colonies. Their diet mainly consists of protein and sugar, which they will likely be able to find in the kitchen, or in the garbage disposal. In the home, they can cause significant damage if they are left unattended, but they are also a threat to any trees that you may have in your garden.
How to detect carpenter ant infestations in trees
There are several signs that will indicate the presence of a carpenter ant colony in a tree. To start, you will notice that the affected trees deteriorate very fast. In fact, this may be the first indicator that tips you off. You may also notice piles of sawdust at the base of the tree. This “sawdust” is what is known as frass. As carpenter ants dig their galleries inside the wood, they generate a lot of waste that needs to be thrown out of the colony. When mixed with dead insect parts and excrement, the wooden leftovers become frass and they are pushed out of the galleries through tiny exit holes in the surface of the wood.
Do the ants harm the trees?
The ants initially target wood that is decayed, so they will not harm the trees at first. However, as the colony expands, the ants start digging through healthy wood, which can then start damaging the tree. So it’s important to note that while they do not attack completely healthy trees, they may destroy trees that are healthy but have some decayed wood attached to them.
How to get rid of carpenter ant infestations
The good news is that it’s easier to remove carpenter ants once they’ve set up in trees, while it’s harder when they are indoors. This is because the colony is inside wood that is exposed and out in the open. This type of wood can be treated with direct applications of insecticides, as opposed to wood that is out of the way, or inaccessible, which needs to be treated using baits. Direct applications of insecticide are fast and effective, but they need to be handled by a pro. If you have carpenter ant infestations in your garden, contact us today and we can remove them for you.