The first step in dealing with a carpenter ant infestation is actually noticing them. This process usually begins by mistakenly thinking of them as a less destructive type of ant. There’s two big warning signs that this isn’t the case. The first is that they’ll appear in unexpected places. Ants usually enter from the outside through doorframes, windows and pipes. Carpenter ants will have a nest within the house and appear from there. The next thing to look out for is size. Carpenter ants are generally quite a bit larger than normal ants. This is one of the best ways to know if a house is under attack from carpenter ants.
Thankfully, unlike termites the ants won’t actually eat the wood. They’re only seeking to live within it. This means that they have to go out to look for food. And in the process they can be identified as a threat. Once they’ve been located it’s time to eradicate them. People tend to envision a small army of ants within the walls. But thankfully colonies of carpenter ants tend to begin and stay fairly small for quite some time. In general they’ll only be two or three hundred ants.
The next step will be to find the main colony. This is often a process of experimentation. One can often simply follow ants right back to the source. Other times the family pet might be alert to the rustling in the walls and keep staring at a particular section. But one of the biggest clues is moisture. The ants tend to set themselves up in an area where the wood is moist. Beams in a basement, or areas of wood that are both inside and outside are the most likely targets.
Treatment might be as easy as stopping the source of moisture and replacing the infested wood. Though one must also ensure that there’s no other damp wood nearby. If there is, the ants will probably set themselves up in the next available area rather than dying off. Finally, if these steps don’t work than it might be necessary to call in an exterminator to work on the area. There’s quite a few nontoxic solutions which they might be able to use. Boric acid is one of the most popular. While it’s toxic if eaten, it won’t seep back into the environment and will essentially stay sealed off from anything but the ants.