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
Crawl space maintenance is like going to the dentist. With a few simple and relatively easy maintenance steps you can keep the underside of your home from needing a root canal.
One very poplar issue I find is wood debris. When a home is built some of the wood framing or sheathing members will need some adjustment. Holes are bored, notches are cut and ends are scrapped to allow wires, pipes and pieces to fit. All of this adjustment adds up to a lot of wood scraps. If a contractor, make that human, can pass the clean-up buck they will. Eventually the wood that should-have-been cleaned up will get covered up, never to be seen again…..
Enter wood destroying organisms. (Termites, beetles, carpenter ants and fungal rot) These critters are opportunists. Most of the time wood destroying organisms will need relatively moist wood. If they can’t find an easy meal they go elsewhere.
All of those wood scraps that are in contact or close to the moist ground are a perfect snack. Once all of that wood is consumed the hungry critters will start to look for their next meal. Mm mm wood.
I know the termites will be disappointed that I suggested the removal of their boxed lunch. The contractor was very kind to think of the wood eating critter’s busy schedule. The box of cellulose is the perfect thing for the modern WDO’s hectic lifestyle.