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Carpenter Ants in January?

Recently many people in the Pacific Northwest and here in British Columbia have seen a resurgence of what is commonly thought of as a summer pest, Carpenter Ants.

Pest control companies have been noticing increased calls and bookings for the insects and due to the rarity of ants in winter, most are confused when it comes to properly identifying the infestation.

There could be many reasons for this surge – colder outdoor temperatures, the recent economic downturn (which makes for many ineffective or incomplete DIY infestation applications), and warm indoor temps penetrating through sheet rock, which then alerts colonies that a warmer space is near. It also signifies that a large, mature colony is established nearby and is looking for food.

It is common to see activity during warm spells (January thaw) as this wakes the worker ants up from there dormant sleep and immediately kicks them into foraging mode, a sort of Blitz when all ants go for roughly ten days collecting as much food as possible for the colony to make it through the remainder of Winter. However, it seems that these ants are not going back to sleep and instead believe it is spring and therefore the colony starts to expand. Combine this with returning colder temperatures and the only place for them to expand is inside your home.

Carpenter Ants don’t pose any health risks but they, along with Fire Ants can give a nasty bite. They can also damage your homes structure, once a colony reaches maturity it begins to destroy wood beams and anything made of natural fibers. Once that happens the price can increase dramatically as home repairs will have to be done in addition to pest control services.

Example of Carpenter Ant Damage

Any infestation if left alone will continue to grow, until all resources are exhausted. Factor in the size in which an ant colony can multiply every year and you could have hundreds of thousand ants if left untreated.

So what should you do?

First be on the lookout, especially during cold snaps, as this forces all animals and insects to seek warmth, food and water – all of which can be found inside your home. Next is to act as soon as you notice a problem, waiting will only allow them to spread and increase numbers. The key is to try and identify where they are nesting, this is very helpful information should you decide to contact a local pest control company.

As always, Know Your Foe! It may be disturbing to some but collecting a sample (dead or alive) can help you properly ID your pest and that can save you lots of time and money down the road. Local Pest Control here in Vancouver routinely identifies insects customers have collected and our trained Technicians are always on hand to explain what your dealing with and how to eradicate them in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

So as always be on the lookout!

Local Pest Control.

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