Tag Archives: carpenter ants

How to Keep Ants Out of Your Hamilton, ON Home

carpenter ant

 

Often seen marching around front porches, driveways and kitchen counter tops, ants are considered to be one of the most common and pervasive insects Hamilton, ON residents encounter on a daily basis.

From regular, household ants mostly regarded as a simple nuisance, to more harmful types such as Carpenter Ants or Fire Ants that can damage property or even cause allergic reactions, these insects are always seem to be present in our immediate environment. Controlling the presence of ants can be an arduous task. After all, these tiny insects seem to appear out of nowhere and can be found in any area of both the interior and exterior of your home or business.

Despite their size, ants’ strength and abilities should not be underestimated and with over 20,000 species in the world, the amount of unique abilities ants possess is seemingly limitless. While ants play a very important role in their natural habitat, they are unwelcome in our residential and commercial environments.

Ants are indeed remarkable insects, but they have no beneficial or symbiotic relationship with people. Keeping an observant eye out for signs of an infestation, can help to catch any issues before they have time to escalate.

Homeowners should be aware if they see a trail of ants entering the home through a door, a window, or vent opening, as this indicates that ants are in search of food. If you notice ant activity around electrical outlets or inside cabinets, then the chances that ants are already forming nests somewhere in the home are pretty high.

How to Prevent Ants in your Hamilton home

The sighting of one or even two ants may indicate that there is an infestation brewing and should be attended to right away to avoid the problem getting out of hand. To help reduce the possibility of ants entering and staying in your home, there are a few preventative measures you can take:

  1. Any noticeable cracks or spaces should be sealed.
  2. Keep your house clean, especially the kitchen, as ants get attracted by food sources. Cover attracting substance tightly and clean the furniture surface.
  3. Sweep eating areas after all meals
  4. Minimize the opportunity for nesting by removing bags, boxes and papers that may be lying around your home.
  5. Take the trash out every day.
  6. Secure outside trash receptacles and clean area around trashcans.
  7. Clean up all vegetation and old woodpiles near your home.
  8. Always cover the foods you don’t hide in fridge. Never leave dirty dishes in the sink. Wash them up after each meal.
  9. Don’t allow moisture to accommodate on counters and other surfaces, as ants keep looking for water out wherever they can find it and stay near its sources.

 

Most importantly, contact Truly Nolen Hamilton to initiate an ant prevention program or to eradicate an existing ant infestation. Call us today to schedule a free inspection at 905 548-7679.

Carpenter Ants are Chewing Up Hamilton Homes

carpenter ant

As the weather begins to warm up in Hamilton, it is important to prepare for the pests that will inevitably be trying to find refuge in your home. Carpenter ants are one of the pests that Hamilton residents  should be on the lookout for.

Carpenter ants are considered destructive pests in Canada. They are typically brownish black in colour and can range in length of ¼” to ½” in size. Their bodies are divided into three segments with their abdomen area bulbous in shape. Most carpenter ants do not have wings, but during late spring, “reproductives” or winged carpenter ants can be seen.

Though they seldom bite humans, carpenter ants have powerful jaws that are used to chew and tunnel their way through wood. Unlike termites who actually consume the wood, carpenter ants remove the wood that is blocking their way and leave it behind as they move through. It is this characteristic that will give homeowners clues as trails of sawdust can often be spotted in areas that the carpenter ants are present.

Carpenter ants also live in any wooden structure that connects to the ground, such as telephone poles.

How to tell if you have carpenter ants:

A possible sign of a carpenter ant infestation is sawdust on the ground nearby burrow openings in the wood.

Carpenter ants establish their nest in decaying wood, but once established the ants extend their tunneling into sound wood, causing considerable damage to the structure. When colonies grow larger and need room to expand, satellite colonies are established. These satellite colonies are often found in nearby structures that offer warm protection.

From a pest control perspective, moisture areas in walls, ceilings, attics and crawlspaces are magnets for a variety of structure infesting pests. A bug’s small body size makes it especially vulnerable to dehydration. They combat this continual threat by gravitating toward moisture areas within the home.

Leaking pipes, damp rags and sponges under sinks, condensation on windows, damp soil in houseplant pots, and of course open drains of all kinds provide enough moisture for a bugs needs.

Sometimes the signs of a carpenter ant nest are subtle.

This small pile of debris (called frass) beside a garden tie is all that was discovered during a property assessment in Hamilton. Not a single ant in sight.

carpenter ant blog 1

Carpenter ants are nocturnal, and are rarely seen outdoors during the day. A detailed inspection, combined with intimate knowledge of pest biology is something Truly Nolen utilizes to solve Hamilton residents ant problems!

How to protect your home from carpenter ants:

  1. Correct moisture problems, roof leaks, and plumbing leaks.
  2. Cut back tree limbs or branches that could serve as a bridge to your structure
  3. Seal cracks and openings around the foundation, especially where utility pipes and wires enter from the outside.
  4. Store firewood away from your home on an elevated platform not touching the ground
  5. Limit the the of mulch around the home
  6. Call A Truly Nolen pest control professional to find the satellite nest in the home and to try and locate the ‘mother nest and queens. Have the nests removed.
  7. Have the satellite nests treated
Carpenters on a honeysuckle in Hamilton.  This customer has had two carpenter ant nests in her home.
Carpenters on a honeysuckle in Hamilton. This customer has had two carpenter ant nests in her home.

How Truly Nolen treats a carpenter ant problem:

Truly Nolen tackles carpenter ant problems by placing an “Antopia” station .

Ants navigate by following geometric patterns within their field of view. They will go out of their way, often times tripling the walking distance between two locations, just so they can follow straight lines, and 90 degree corners. Using this knowledge to our advantage, we can more accurately place our bait stations. The intersection of this garden tie with the deck is such a location.

The opening has been lined up with the corner edge of the tie itself, another geometric form.

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Our pest control specialist will also find the location of the ants nest. Once the location of the nest is discovered, the pest problem can be removed with a dust insecticide treatment sprayed into the wall voids with a hand duster and tubes. After eliminating the colony, be sure to replace any damaged wood.

If treated early, carpenter ants can be stopped from causing serious structural damage to houses and buildings. These ants could cause extreme damage if they continue undiscovered for an extended period. Therefore, it is important to contact a pest control professional in the event of an infestation. It is recommended to seek professional help in containing carpenter ant infestations, as incorrect procedures may allow the colony to rebound when surviving members resume their burrowing and foraging.

Carpenter ant nest removal from a Hamilton home
Carpenter ant nest removal from a Hamilton home

If you think you have a carpenter ant problem in your Hamilton home, call 905-548-7679, for your free inspection!

The Top Five Reasons for Household Ant Problems

carpenter ant

When it comes to pest control, not all people know how to get rid of ants in the house. It seems that these insects know numerous ways to get in your house: holes in walls, floor and foundation, crevices in the ceiling, basement and attic. Knowing what attracts ants to your home can be step one in preventing an infestation.

Here are the top 5 reasons you have ants in your home:

1: Your home is offering them food:

Ants have specific conditions and situations that they find particularly inviting. Moisture levels, food accessibility, and adequate shelter are each concerns for nearly all of the ants you’ll find in Dundas, Ancaster, Oakville, Hamilton and Burlington. If ants in are your home it could be because the environment is too perfect for them.

Many foods (sugary foods in particular) will attract ants, so keeping your food in places that are difficult for ants to access is a great way to keep ants from being attracted to your home. Refrigerators with a good seal, high cabinets, and sealable plastic containers are each excellent storage spaces. It is also a good idea to remove garbage from the house frequently during the spring and summer when ants are most motivated to prowl for food.

2: The outside of your home is acting as a bridge into your home

Any variety of vegetation that is situated too close to the base of your home or one of its many ant-sized entry ways can be a significant factor in the likelihood of ant infestation. Ants use vegetation for shelter and food and because plant life holds onto moisture, these little bugs feel right at home among its leaves and branches. Any plant, grass, shrub, or even tree that is growing close enough to your home to have physical contact is, therefore, a bridge between the ant’s natural habitat and yours. Trim plants away from the home and remove any that actually come into contact with the structure; this will reduce the chances of an ant (and soon enough, a few thousand of its friends) being lured into your house.

3: Your DIY approach didn’t work

Here at Truly Nolen we been called in more times than we can say to help Oakville-area homeowners who have tried anti-poison pods and DIY sprays only to realize they have made the problem worse. Sometimes they end up even attracting more ants, and of a different kind.

Another common DIY error seen by our pest control experts in areas such as Ancaster is the use of old wives’ remedies. Many seemingly natural “organic” products, such as Boric acid and orange oil, are actually more toxic than the commercial pest control preparations we use.

4: You’re not sure what you’re dealing with

Identifying the kind of insect you’re dealing with will help you decide if you should call in a pest control service to assist with ant control. With carpenter ants, for example, simply spraying scout ants can lead the colony to scatter and set up satellite nests in order to survive. If this happens, you’ve just quadrupled your problem.

Here’s an overview of the kinds of ants seen by our pest control experts in Hamilton and the surrounding areas:

  •        Black carpenter ants are the most common in Ontario. Black and dark red or entirely brownish-black, both kinds have elbowed antennae and measure from 6 to 25 mm long. They may have wings at mating time. Carpenter ants like to build their nests in decaying wood in moist places in the home. If you have a carpenter ant infestation, professional pest control is recommended. One of our Burlington-area ant control teams can assess your situation and suggest an extermination plan.

 

  •        Pavement ants set up colonies outdoors under landscaping bricks, pavement, cracks in driveways, etc. They may enter buildings to forage for food. Light brown to reddish, and about 2.5 to 3 mm in length, they don’t bite but can sting. Their calling card is a little pile of dirt next to an excavated hole or tunnel.

 

  •        Pharaoh ants are pale yellow to reddish and small, about 1 to 2 mm in length. They don’t bite or sting but commonly set up in homes, factories and hospitals and are hard to get rid of without the help of a pest control professional.

 

5: It’s That Time of Year

Cool weather can drive newly awakened outdoor colonies inside to look for moist wood for nesting or to forage for sweet or greasy food. If you see carpenter ants inside your home in the spring, it could be a sign that their nest is inside the building

If you suspect a pest infestation in your home, contact a licensed Truly Nolen Canada Pest Control Professional at 888-832-4705 to book your free inspection to identify and treat the problem.

 

Pests in Hamilton

Hamilton residents are confronted by a variety of pests. Rainy weather can bring millipedes, earwigs, and pillbugs indoors. Rodents such as mice are also moving indoors this season looking for a dry and safe place. Here are some common pests that are currently affecting the Hamilton area.

Brown Recluse Spider

brown recluse spider
Brown recluse spiders are usually between 6-20 mm and are typically a light to medium brown color. Each female will produce several egg sacs over a period of two to three months, usually in the spring. Each sac contains roughly fifty eggs and will hatch within a month. Brown recluse spiders are resilient and can tolerate up to six months of extreme drought or absence of food.

Brown recluse spiders build asymmetrical webs frequently found in basements, garages, closets, woodpiles, sheds, and other dry places.

Mayfly

Mayfly, or shadfly, is a fragile, soft-bodied insect found in Canada. Eggs are often deposited in clean, flowing water with a larval phase lasting from a few months to two years, depending on the species. The adult phase is short-lived, lasting from a few minutes to a few days, depending on the species. Most species feed on algae or diatoms. They are common in the Hamilton area.

Carpenter Ants

carpenter ant
Carpenter ants are considered destructive pests in Canada. Two common species of carpenter ants found in Canada are Modoc and Vicinus. Modoc’s are all black with rusty red legs. Vicinus have a black head, rusty red thorax and black abdomen. Carpenter ants vary in size and can be as small as a quarter inch or as large as three quarters of an inch.

Carpenter ants establish their nest in decaying wood, but once established the ants extend their tunneling into sound wood, causing considerable damage to the structure. When colonies grow larger and need room to expand, satellite colonies are established. These satellite colonies are often found in nearby structures that offer warm protection.

As the weather begins to warm up in Hamilton, it is important to prepare for the pests that will inevitably be trying to find refuge in your home. Contact your local Truly Nolen pest professional for a consultation and to discuss your home’s unique needs.

Carpenter Ants: “What to Do” from identification, treatment and remediation of damage

Carpenter

With thousands of different types of ants in the world, carpenter ants are among the largest of the group. As the name implies, carpenter ants are associated with their burrowing and excavating habits in and around all types of wooden structures such as trees, homes, roofs, porches or decks. Similar to the wood loving habits of termites, carpenter ants differ as they do not eat the wood that they forage in. Instead, carpenter ants will give into their sweet tooth by enjoying a diet primarily consisting of sugar based foods and foods that are high in sugar such as fruits, plant nectars and juices. Out and about in their exterior habitats, carpenter ants are also predators and will feed on other insects. Although termites are known for their destructive habits of eating away at wood, carpenter ants boast a similar reputation and can cause equal damage by chewing and removing wood as they work to create tunnels to support their colonies.

In Canada in particular, the onset of the winter months does not provide much of a deterrent as ant colonies survive well in the cold and snow, making them difficult to get rid of. One or two carpenter ants in your home could be a sign of a more serious infestation, and it is important to address, treat and employ methods to prevent further damage. The carpenter ant’s superior excavation skills make them extremely difficult to access once they have tunneled their way inside of wooden structures. A professional ant extermination is always recommended as efforts may involve multiple treatments or services.

How to Identify Carpenter Ants

The most common carpenter ant found in Canada is the black carpenter, usually dark brown/black in color and ranging in length of ¼” to ½” in size. Divided into three segments, the head of the carpenter ant contains a pair of antennae that are bent while the abdomen tends to be bulbous in shape with long, yellow hairs. Chances are if you’ve spotted a large, black ant in your home, it is most likely a carpenter ant. While carpenter ants have powerful jaws, they seldom bite humans, instead using their strength to chew through wood.

Where to spot Carpenter Ants

Active all year round, carpenter ants can almost always be found near wooden structures with older homes being more prone to damage. Some places where you may spot these ants are:

  • Openings in woodwork such as door or window frames. Carpenter ants chew through wood without eating it, and will always leave a trail of sawdust behind as evidence that they’ve been busy.
  • Attracted to damp wood, if there are areas in your home prone to moisture, carpenter ants will make their way as the wood is easier to navigate. Around old door frames, bath tubs, sinks and roofs that have been affected by a leak, are all areas that you may spot these ants.
  • Wood piles, decaying tree stumps or logs are also ideal spots for carpenter ants to take up residence and lay their eggs.
  • Remember that sweet tooth? Your kitchen is the perfect spot for carpenter ants to enjoy spilt juice or open jars of honey or jam, as well as other food debris left lying around.
  • Carpenter ants also need water to survive and will often find themselves near to areas that are moist.

Treatment approach used by Truly Nolen Canada

Aside from carpenter ants taking up room and board in your exterior living environment, they will also find their way indoors where food and water are more accessible. If you notice small piles of sawdust near wooden structures in your home, or if you’ve spotted several ants in one area of the house, it is a good idea to have your Truly Nolen professional on site to assess the situation. Upon a thorough inspection, your pest professional will be able to:

  • Identify any nests inside or outside your home
  • Assess and advise on the cause of any possible infestation (e.g.: Holes in foundations, heating ducts, windows or any wooden structure that is attached to the home)
  • Incorporate bait products and treatments specifically designed to spread quickly throughout a colony of ants, thus allowing for control of the entire population.

Damage Control and Prevention

Although the treatment of a carpenter ant infestation can be a tricky process, there are steps that homeowners can take to help control and prevent carpenter ants from invading your home:

Exterior prevention:

  • Store wooden elements (such as firewood) away from your home, making sure that they are not touching the exterior walls or garage.
  • Seal any cracks or openings on the exterior of the home that could provide easy entry.
  • Discard any moisture riddled debris and repair any moisture damaged wood.
  • Remove any decaying tree stumps from your yard.
  • Trim any overhanging trees and prune branches that may be touching your roof.

Interior prevention:

  • Keep counter tops free of food debris.
  • Seal cracked or leaking faucets, pipes or bathtubs.
  • Store leftover food and packaged items in tightly sealed containers, including pet food.
  • Avoid leaving grease or liquid spills in exposed areas.

As always, your Truly Nolen Canada professional can provide the best and most effective methods for getting rid of your ant problem, incorporating advanced Carpenter ant control techniques and providing outstanding service all year round.