These carpenters just don’t care what you want and they are just going to make themselves at home. They are just one of the three big players in the wood destroying insect world around Salem, Oregon. Or the pest part of a “Pest and Dry rot” Inspection. Overall carpenter ants are relatively easy to control but this control does require some environmental adjustment and future vigilance.
One of the most common conditions that cause ant activity is Bark dust/mulch. Bark dust is used in this area as a mulch to beautify flower beds, limit rain splash and stifle weed growth. Another thing that a thick layer of this stuff does is it provides a very favorable home to carpenter ants. The large bulk piles the suppliers have are usually filed with ant nests and when your neighbor gets a large pile delivered you had better watch out!
The nest that was harmless in the bulk pile is relocated and now these ants start looking for a better home.
Depending on your home’s condition it might provide the perfect areas for the ants to move-in. Another often overlooked area for carpenter ant activity and nest making is wood retaining walls. Yes even the treated wood can be a great place for these critters to call home. The reason poisonous treated wood is a good home for carpenter ants is because they do not actually eat the wood. Unlike termites and anobiid beetles carpenter ants just hollow out the wood to make nests. The ants eat insects and other little woodland creatures but not wood, so the poison does not effect their ability to make a nest.
Plants up against the home are probably the next big issue that contribute to ant activity. The plants seem to keep the home more humid and may damage the siding allowing easier access. Also if you are applying a perimeter treatment the ants can gain elevation on the plants and enter your home without touching the poison.
Any way you look at it plants in contact with your home, wood retaining walls and thick bark dust are all bad news and any of the many types of carpenter ants we have around the Salem, Oregon area would love to make themselves at home in yours.
Jim Allhiser President/Inspector