We wrote a blog post earlier this year about carpenter ants in New Jersey and how to keep them away in the spring and summer. This month, we’re going to talk about how to keep them away in the fall and winter. Let’s get started!
In the Fall, Carpenter Ants
This is the most important time to protect against carpenter ants. When it is cool and damp, carpenter ants are more active. These two things happen often in the fall, especially when the season first starts. Here are a few things you can do to keep from getting hurt, starting with the most obvious.
Leaves on the Ground
Carpenter ants can be drawn to leaves in many ways. They make a natural cover that keeps the ground moist, which is good for carpenter ants because they like to live in damp places. It’s important to take the time to rake leaves off the ground and away from your house’s foundation. The last thing you want is for these bugs to find a place near your house with nice, moist soil and shade from leaves.
Leaves in the Gutter
When leaves fall into your gutters, they can make it hard for water to flow through. This can let rainwater overflow and run down the side of your house, wetting the ground near your foundation wall, making pools of still water, and wetting the wood on the outside of your house. Water can do a lot of damage to a house over time, which is one of the main reasons why houses have gutters. All of that rainwater needs to be led away from your walls and down. If you let it soak into the wood of your house, it will not only cause rot but will also bring in carpenter ants. This kind of ant likes soft, rotting wood.
Do you put the wood away in the fall so you can use it in the winter? If you do, make sure to stack it away from your house and, if you can, on something higher. Carpenter ants like piles of wood. Don’t let the way you stack wood bring carpenter ants near your house.
Points of Entry
Carpenter ants may be able to chew their way into your home, but they are more likely to use a hole or crack to get in. When they get inside, they will go to damp, cool places in your walls, floors, and ceilings and start making nests in the wood. Some of the most common ways they get in are:
- Around the window frames. Most windows have a space around them when they are put in. Most windows don’t fit perfectly, so window installers have to seal them with something like high-quality silicone caulk. As a house age, this seal can get holes in it. These small holes can make it easy for carpenter ants and other pests like mice to get into your wall voids. This is easy to fix by putting a new layer of silicone caulk over the spaces.
- The door and window frames have small gaps. If a corner of a frame settles and pulls apart, it can be enough for these ants to get in. With a little carpentry magic, these gaps can be fixed. If you don’t know how to do it and can’t afford to pay someone to do it right now, you can temporarily fix these gaps with silicone caulk.
- Gaps around plumbing, wire conduit, air conditioning units, and other things that go through your exterior walls.
- Weatherstripping that is broken. If you can turn off all the lights in your house on a sunny day and still see light coming through a hole around a door, it’s likely that you need to replace the weather stripping. When there are holes in weather stripping, carpenter ants will move in quickly.
How to Stop Carpenter Ants in the Winter
You might not think you can do much to stop carpenter ants in the winter, but if we get late snow, you can.
Outside Your Home
When plants go to sleep in late spring or early winter, it is the best time to trim them. If you prune too early, the new growth might not get hard enough before winter. When you cut back your bushes in the winter, you’ll also be doing something important to keep carpenter ants away in the spring.
Cutting back bushes is an important way to keep carpenter ants away. It lets more airflow near the walls of your foundation and keeps the soil dry. It lets light in, which helps dry the soil and also lets the sun in. And it cuts back the branches so they don’t reach the outside of your house. This keeps carpenter ants from using those branches as bridges to get to higher spots on the outside of your home.
Inside Your Home
During the winter, if you see carpenter ants in your home, it’s likely that you have a satellite colony living inside your walls. If ants have moved into your house, it’s likely that they’ve found a source of food near a bathroom or kitchen that keeps them busy all winter. Here are some other basic tips:
- Keep your pet’s food in a container that can’t let air in and clean around the dish every day.
- Plastic bags or airtight containers should be used to seal flour and other pantry items.
- Keep fruit in the fridge or in containers that can’t be opened.
- Always vacuum and clean.
- Use ammonia or bleach-based cleaning products to wipe down places where you see ants and stop them from using that path again.
Carpenter Ant Control Montclair, Basking Ridge, Plainfield, & Other Places
At Jersey City Exterminator, we know that a regular home pest control plan is the best way to keep carpenter ants out of your home and off your property. Our locally owned and operated pest control company protects Jersey City, Hoboken, Union City, Weehawken, West New York and North bergen.
Plus for Home Protection Program
This program has everything from the Home Protection Program, plus it takes care of carpenter ants and gives you an advantage when it comes to monitoring for termites. Jersey City Exterminator will put in a passive subterranean termite monitoring system in places that are important or likely to have termites along the outside perimeter of your home’s foundation. Up to 4 underground termite monitoring stations will be a part of this system. As part of your regular service, you will check and fix these stations.
If the monitors show termite activity or if termites are found in the home, Jersey City Exterminator will give you a proposal for termite treatment at a 50% discount, and you will be upgraded to Jersey City Exterminator Premier at the current rate.
- Is a program that runs all year and takes care of everything inside and outside.
- The service includes one cleaning on the inside and two cleanings on the outside every year.
- Covers your whole property, including the attic, mailbox, playset, shed, and fence.
- Termite monitoring advantage
Jersey City Exterminator’s Home Protection Program Plus targets all of the same pests as the Home Protection Program, as well as carpenter ants, pharaoh ants, and acrobat ants.