Ants are one of the more amazing forms of life. They date back around 92 million years into earth’s past. And they’ve been so successful that there’s now an estimated 22,000 different species of ants scattered over almost every landmass other than Antarctica. In many ways it’s remarkable that form of life that established and successful will so seldom come into conflict with humans. But that will do little to calm the nerves of people who have found themselves at war with an invasive species of ant. And of those species, one of the most difficult to deal with is the carpenter ant.
One of the most insidious things about carpenter ants comes from how harmless most other types of ants are. A carpenter ant infestation usually beings with an odd sighting or two around the house. These are almost always quickly written off by homeowners. It’s just assumed that a couple ants stumbled in from the outdoors. Especially kindly people might try to return the favor and move them outside. More often they’ll simply be on the receiving end of someone’s shoe. But no matter how it’s handled, people will usually assume the matter is over and done with as soon as those few strays are taken care of.
But unbeknownst to the homeowner, the ants are hard at work eating up the walls, floors, and even foundation of a house. Out in the wild this would be a very beneficial activity. The ants can almost be considered environmental recyclers in a certain sense. They help to aid in the removal of dead trees from the environment. In many ways they’re to thank for the fact that forest fires are somewhat rare. Because of these ants there’s a lot less dry, dead, wood around in the forest. But at the same time, this is hardly good news to anyone who owns or lives in a house made of wood. Most houses are quite dependent on dead trees to keep from collapsing.
As one might expect, the possible damage to a home is comparable to what their role in the woods would be. They seek to colonize any and all areas containing wood. And if uncontrolled this process can end in the destruction of a home. That said, the chances of things getting that far are relatively minor. One good thing about carpenter ants is that they’re usually noticed before becoming too much of an issue. However, it is still wise to put measures in places to avoid further infestation. In the case of bees, we advise the use of humane bee traps that would not hurt your household nor the bees.