Also referred to as “the Michigan termite”, carpenter ants are very prevalent in our northern Michigan area. They are most commonly found in wooded areas. The carpenter ant attacks any type of unprotected wood structure. They enjoy moisture-damaged areas, which are commonly found around doors, windows, roof lines, and decks where no flashing is found. If you are finding sawdust around your home, here is your culprit.
Carpenter ants come in all different sizes and are black in color. To help with proper identification you can find blonde hairs on their thorax or abdomen. Most commonly you will find large ants in your home in the kitchen, bathroom or anywhere you have or may have had water damage. Carpenter ants will infest your home, garage, many other areas they can be found is in landscaping timber, wood chips, dead tree stumps and even in a neighboring structure.
They are nocturnal and work within the walls of your structure, but they can be found in the later afternoon merging from structure to forge their food from the outside of the structure which is honey dew and plant secretions. They will make a trail from your structure to a tree or plant. It is very important to make sure that you do not have any tree branches or bushes touching the home. This is a way for them to access.
Carpenter Ants also swarm. In the spring they produce winged ants that are potential queens that try to fly off and make satellite in other parts of your structure. The hatching process takes about a week. Most will exhaust themselves trying to get out of the structure and die the rest will make a nest and loose their wings and begin to reproduce to start another colony.
The best way to help eliminate the problem is to properly identify. Make sure you trim branches and bushes from structure. Be sure to fix and replace any water-damaged wood as well as to have an exterior preventative treatment applied to your structure. The best time to do is in the spring, but if you have an infestation you should get treated by a professional as soon as possible.