Carpenter ants can be pretty crafty creatures. The typically larger, black ants that live in dead wood that is moist or damaged by water are commonly found throughout the United States, and some even have the ability to fly. But, even with wings, the answer to how carpenter ants were able to take over a home in Delmar, New York, that had an infestation in the eaves behind a gutter remained a mystery. One thing was for sure, though: the wood had become wet and was starting to rot, creating the perfect living conditions for a carpenter ant colony.
We thought it was going to be an easy job for a carpenter ant eradication. We treated the infested area, repaired the wood damage and eliminated the moisture source by fixing the faulty gutter. But just weeks later, carpenter ants were spotted marching along the roofline of the house.
We performed a follow-up treatment and in less than a week the ants were back on the roof. Where were they coming from?
I inspected every inch of the home, checking the basement, foundation and garage trying to find the elusive carpenter ant colony. I went back to the trail of carpenter ants on the roofline. I studied where the ants were going and noticed that they were trailing from the end of the roof with the gable. I carefully examined that part of the roof and found the ants marching one by one along the overhead utility wires.
It turns out that the original ant colony was actually in an old tree stump at the base of the utility pole, while the colony in the eaves was just a satellite colony. Some ant species, like carpenter ants, will form satellite colonies that are made up of just foraging worker ants and do not have a queen or any young. We treated the wires with special materials that are safe to use on utility lines and also treated the stump. And the problem was solved!
It is always important to look for ways that ants can trail into a home like utility lines, overhanging tree branches and overgrown landscaping, because it isn’t always obvious. Who knew carpenter ants were such good high wire acrobats?