Carpenter ants, vary in size and color but are usually large (1/4-1/2 inch) and blackish. Occasionally, swarms of winged carpenter ant reproductives will emerge inside a home. Carpenter ant swarms usually occur in the spring and are a sure sign that a colony is nesting somewhere inside the structure.
Winged carpenter ants can be distinguished from termites by their larger size and shape of their antennae, waist and wings.
Besides being objectionable by their presence, carpenter ants damage wood by hollowing it out for nesting. They excavate galleries in wood which have a smooth, sandpapered appearance. Wood which has been damaged by carpenter ants contains no mud-like material, as is the case with termites. Shredded fragments of wood, similar in appearance to coarse sawdust, are ejected from the galleries through preexisting cracks or slits made by the ants. When such accumulations are found (typically containing dead ants and bits of insects which the carpenter ants have eaten), it’s a good indication that a carpenter ant nest is nearby. Oftentimes, however, the excavated sawdust remains hidden behind a wall or in some other concealed area.
Carpenter ants nest in both moist and dry wood, but prefer wood which is moist. Consequently, the nests are more likely to be found in wood dampened by water leaks, such as around sinks, bathtubs, poorly sealed windows/ door frames, roof leaks and poorly flashed chimneys. Nests are especially common in moist, hollow spaces such as the wall void behind a dishwasher, or in a hollow porch column.
Carpenter ants may establish nests in a number of different locations. It is important to realize that these locations can be either inside or outside the structure. Carpenter ants actually construct two different kinds of nests: parent colonies which, when mature, contain an egg-laying queen, brood and 2000 or more worker ants, and satellite colonies which may have large numbers of worker ants but no queen, eggs or young larvae. The carpenter ants inside a home may have originated from the parent colony or from one or more satellite nests. For example, the ants may be coming from the parent nest located outdoors in a tree stump, landscape timber or woodpile, or from one or more satellite nests hidden behind a wall in the kitchen or bathroom, or perhaps from wood dampened by a roof leak in the attic.
The extent and potential damage to a home depends on how many nests are actually present within the structure, and how long the infestation has been active. Although large carpenter ant colonies are capable of causing structural damage, the damage is not normally as serious as that from termites. In some cases, the damage may be relatively insignificant, but this can only be determined by locating and exposing the nest area.
The best way to control carpenter ants is to find and destroy the nests. This is often easier said than done. Recent studies have shown that carpenter ants follow distinct scent trails between the satellite colonies and the parent nest. Carpenter ants also rely on scent trails to recruit their nest mates to food.
Carpenter Ant Prevention
A number of steps can be taken by homeowners to reduce the potential for future carpenter ant problems.
- Correct roof leaks, plumbing leaks and other moisture problems which will attract carpenter ants.
- Eliminate wood-to-ground contact such as where landscaping has moved soil or mulch up against the wood siding of a home.
- Clip back tree limbs and vegetation touching the roof or siding of the house. Limbs and branches serve as “bridges” between carpenter ants nesting in a dead tree limb and the structure.
- Seal cracks and openings in the foundation, especially where utility pipes and wires enter from the outside.
- Stack firewood away from the foundation and elevate it off the ground. Never store firewood in the garage or other areas of the home, as firewood is a prime nesting area for carpenter ants.
If you suspect you have Carpenter Ants, give us a call at 1-800-728-BUGS
For a Pest Free home, take ACTION
One out of five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel according to a new survey released by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
“Most Americans recognize that bed bugs are back in a big way. Our survey shows that people are taking the bed bug resurgence seriously and are modifying their daily routines to avoid infestations,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Although it appears bed bugs are here to stay, it is important that the government and pest management industry work together to provide accurate information to educate the public. The public, in turn, needs to practice vigilance to help in minimizing infestations and act immediately if they themselves have an infestation.”
The “Bed Bugs in America” survey offers a look at how the bed bug resurgence is impacting the lives of Americans. Here are key survey highlights:
1. Americans who have encountered bed bugs tend to be younger, live in urban areas and rent their homes. The incidence of bed bugs is three times higher in urban areas than in rural areas due to factors such as larger population size, apartment living and increased mobility, which are conducive to the rapid spread and breeding of bed bugs.
2. Bed bugs are found in all 50 states. Specifically, the pests were encountered by 17 percent of respondents in the Northeast; 20 percent in the Midwest; 20 percent in the South; and 19 percent in the West.
3. Most Americans are concerned about bed bugs and believe that infestations in the United States are increasing. Nearly 80 percent are mostly concerned about encountering bed bugs at hotels; 52 percent on public transportation; 49 percent in movie theaters; 44 percent in retail stores; 40 percent in medical facilities; 36 percent in their own homes; and 32 percent equally pointed to places of employment and friends’ homes. The fear of getting bitten topped the list of concerns.
4. As the public’s awareness of the bed bug resurgence grows, many Americans are modifying their behaviors to minimize their risk of an infestation: 27 percent have inspected or washed clothing upon returning from a trip; 25 percent have checked a hotel room for bed bugs; 17 percent have inspected or vacuumed a suitcase upon returning from a trip and 12 percent have altered or canceled travel plans because of concern about bed bugs.
- 16 percent inspected second-hand furniture they have brought into their homes; 15 percent have checked dressing rooms when trying on clothing and 29 percent have washed new clothing immediately upon bringing it home from a store.
- Of the 13 percent of respondents who said they knew someone who had a bed bug infestation in their home, 40 percent said they avoided entering the infested home and 33 percent discouraged those who had the infestation from entering their own home.
5. Despite the availability of information, most Americans still have misconceptions about bed bugs. Nearly half of respondents incorrectly believe that bed bugs transmit disease. However, research conducted to date has shown that bed bugs do not transmit disease to their human victims, although some people may experience itchy, red welts; 29 percent inaccurately believe bed bugs are more common among lower income households, and 37 percent believe bed bugs are attracted to dirty homes. Bed bugs do not discriminate in regard to household income and are found in both sanitary and unsanitary conditions.
For more information about bed bugs, call Action today at 1-800-728-2847
Information provided by NPMA
Now is the time of year you might be noticing an increase in rodent activity. With the changes in the weather, increased rain and cooler temperatures the rodents will be trying to get out of the cold and into the warmth and comfort of your home. Here are some tips to help you and your loved ones from being invaded!
Seal up holes inside and outside the home to prevent entry by rodents.
Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime, and rats can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter! Prevent rodents from entering the home by checking inside and outside the house for gaps or holes.
Where to look for gaps or holes inside your home:
• Inside, under, and behind kitchen cabinets, refrigerators and stoves.
• Inside closets near the floor corners.
• Around the fireplace.
• Around doors.
• Around the pipes under sinks and washing machines.
• Around the pipes going to hot water heaters and furnaces.
• Around floor vents and dryer vents.
• Inside the attic.
• In the basement or crawl space.
• In the basement and laundry room floor drains.
• Between the floor and wall juncture.
Where to look for gaps or holes outside your home:
• In the roof among the rafters, gables, and eaves.
• Around windows.
• Around doors.
• Around the foundation
• Attic vents and crawl space vents.
• Under doors.
• Around holes for electrical, plumbing, cable, and gas lines.
Fill small holes with steel wool. Put caulk around the steel wool to keep it in place. Use lath screen or lath metal, cement, hardware cloth, or metal sheeting to fix large holes. These materials can be found at your local hardware store. Fix gaps in trailer skirting and use flashing around the base of the house. If you do not remember to seal up entry holes in your home, rodents will continue to get inside. Outbuildings and garages should also be sealed to prevent the entrance of rodents.
Trap rodents around the home to help reduce the rodent population.
Traps should be set in areas of interior activity. For outside rodent populations, your technician may install locked rodent bait stations, which are secured to the ground.
Clean up rodent food sources and nesting sites
Prevent contact with rodents by cleaning up your home, workplace, or campsite.
Eliminate possible rodent food sources:
• Keep food in thick plastic or metal containers with tight lids.
• Clean up spilled food right away and wash dishes and cooking utensils soon after use.
• Keep outside cooking areas and grills clean.
• Always put pet food away after use and do not leave pet-food or water bowls out overnight.
• Keep bird feeders away from the house and utilize squirrel guards to limit access to the feeder by squirrels and other rodents.
• Use a thick plastic or metal garbage can with a tight lid.
• Keep compost bins as far away from the house as possible (100 feet or more is best).
• Keep grains and animal feed in thick plastic or metal containers with tight lids. In the evening, uneaten animal feed should be returned to containers with lids.
If storing trash and food waste inside the home, do so in rodent-proof containers, and frequently clean the containers with soap and water. Dispose of trash and garbage on a frequent and regular basis, and pick up or eliminate clutter.
Eliminate possible nesting sites outside the home. Elevate hay, woodpiles, and garbage cans at least 1 foot off the ground. Move woodpiles far away from the house (100 feet or more is best). Get rid of old trucks, cars, and old tires that mice and rats could use as homes. Keep grass cut short and shrubbery within 100 feet of the home well trimmed.
Information provided by CDC
What are you looking for in a pest control company? We want your input. Action Pest Control constantly strives to improve our customer service through education, environmental awareness and customer feedback. So tell us what you want. We will post the top five responses on our website in June. Actionpest@earthlink.net Thank you.
PS let us know if we can use your name.
Natural or Green Pest Management
We’ll move now to the topic of “natural” pest control. This is not yet so tightly regulated as is organic pest management, but it still is regulated and is an extremely important area. Nearly every state in the U.S. has statutes that address pest management and pesticide use on school properties, including day care centers, and the use of natural or green products is strongly encouraged. Once again, as with organic pest management, natural or green pest management does not speak only to pesticides, but also strongly encourages non-chemical controls such as traps, exclusion, habitat modification, good building design, and sanitation to discourage pests.
Natural pest control is a topic subject to influence from many directions. Groups which oppose the use of any kind of pesticide will argue that Green pest management means no pesticides, or that all Natural pesticides are “safe” for humans and animals. This is inaccurate, and we can think of the great many natural substances that are produced by the Earth or by plants that are highly toxic, and to sell the idea that they are safe just because they are natural is counter productive to human health and safety. An article issued by a University, speaking on the topic of toxicology, states that “Organisms cannot differentiate between natural and synthetic chemicals. It is the mode of action, not the source, that is the concern”. In fact, the most toxic substances known to chemists are those that are produced by living plants and animals. For example, the venom in cone shells found in South Pacific oceans is about 1 million times more toxic than the insecticide permethrin. It is natural, but it is deadly.
There also may be a tendency for groups that promote the use of natural and green products to oversell their safety. As trained and licensed professionals we recognize basic safety procedures to take when using pesticides. One of these is to ensure that no pets or children have access to any pesticide, regardless of its chemical nature. I once read a “recipe” for making cockroach bait with boric acid, in which the instructions were to make small balls of the flour-based bait and place them here and there around the house. We also know that we never use any kind of containers or devices for pesticides that are designed for household food materials, and yet one website instructs people on how to make their own natural pesticides from plants, by mixing the plant and water in their kitchen blender. Clearly the insinuation is that since these concoctions are natural, and just made from plants, the blender could not possibly be contaminated with anything toxic. No warnings were given in this article regarding washing the blender after creating the toxic soup.
Action Pest Control serves the greater Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater area and all of Thurston County. Our lead Thurston County exterminators, Chris and Mike, provide excellent customer service. As pest control experts, they are able to rid your home or business of any rodent, spider, ant or any other unwanted creature and provide solutins to keep them away for good. Give us a call at 360-943-2270 for your free local pest control estimate today.
The office received a frantic call last Friday from a client about a rodent chewing through a closet door. When the tech arrived a nervous customer pointed to the hall closet. The tech slowly opened the closet door, to find the biggest hamster he had ever seen. Luckily for the hamster Rays a nice guy. The hamster was returned to the neighbor without a scratch on him.
Clients have reported seeing winged carpenter ants flying in, and around their houses in the Olympia area . Although this is a sign of spring, it’s seems Mr. Winter will keep his grip on us through the weekend. Hopefully, we can get back to normal temps next week.
Protecting your home from carpenter ant invasion is of paramount importance to us. At Action Pest Control, we perform a whole-house drill and treat from the outside using a variety of approaches as determined by scientific researchers in our area.
For colonies within a house, we may apply a direct application of a registered pesticide dust into voids to reach carpenter ants. We have selectively chosen the dust formulation that we use because it is:
2. Easily accessible to the insect
3. Less odorous than conventional insecticides
4. Fine particles that stick to the hairy surfaces of ants’ bodies. As they clean themselves and feed other ants and larvae, the insecticide is spread throughout the colony.
Because ants follow wiring and plumbing routes through the structure, we may need to access nests in wall voids through plumbing or electrical wiring .
We will also perform a quarterly perimeter spray of your home throughout the year to disrupt foraging trails and to help prevent reentry from parent colonies nesting outside the structure. The exterior perimeter spray will include an application against the foundation, under the edges of siding, around window and door frames, and on carpenter ant trails.