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Why Are There Big Black Ants Outside Your House?

March 1, 2022
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There are over a thousand different species of ants in the world, but the one that’s commonly found in most New York homes is the big black ant or carpenter ant. These ants love to enter homes in search of food sources and shelter so they can survive. However, it’s also not uncommon to see black house ants hanging around your porch or dropping by your garden from time to time. 

So what are carpenter ants doing outside your home? Carpenter ants primarily build their main or parent nests outside your property. Their colonies can usually be found in moist or decayed wood such as dead trees, tree stumps, piles of firewood, or old logs. You may also sometimes find winged carpenter ants outside your windows or front doors which is a sign of an active colony inside your home.  

Read More: How To Keep Black Ants Out Of The House Naturally

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What Are Carpenter Ants Doing Outside Your House?  

Almost all homeowners can experience having a carpenter ant infestation. As long as you have an abundant food supply, water source, and warm living conditions, these pests will find their way to settle inside. However, these ants are so small that they can sometimes be hard to notice once they’ve moved in. When you want to confirm the presence of carpenter ants on your property, it’s easier to look for their ant trails outdoors.

There are several reasons why there are a lot of carpenter ants outside your home such as:

  • Their parent nests are located outside 

Carpenter ants create two types of nests: parent nests and satellite nests. The parent nest contains the reproductive queen and at least a thousand worker ants while the satellite nest only has workers without the queen. The main carpenter ant nests can usually be found in tree roots, tree branches, damp wood, logs, and other damaged wood that may have accumulated excess moisture.

The black ants that you see outside could be workers who have exited their parent nests to hunt for food and water sources. These worker carpenter ants will go indoors only when they can’t find a suitable food and water supply outdoors. Once they’ve entered your home, they can build their satellite nests in areas with moisture. Other ants can then follow in by tracking their pheromone trail, and this can lead to an infestation.

  • Their activity is a sign of an active infestation 

If you see multiple ant trails leading to your home from the outside, it can mean that you already have an active ant infestation. Don’t ignore this sign and immediately inspect crawl spaces, wall voids, wood surfaces, and corners where they could be moving. Sometimes, you can also notice winged carpenter ants gathering on your windows which is an indication that you have a mature single colony indoors. 

  • It’s swarming season and they’re looking for a new home

Winged ants can also be a sign that their swarming season has begun. In every ant colony, there are swarmers who are responsible for mating and breeding. Carpenter ants actively swarm during the spring months. During this time, both the male and female reproductives emerge from the nest to look for a new home. 

If they find your home to be an ideal living environment, they’ll most likely find ways to get in and search for a nesting place where they can lay their eggs and invade your space in the process. A new ant colony can hold up to 3,000 ants which can lead to a future infestation if not exterminated immediately. 

  • A neighbor has an unresolved ant invasion 

Another reason why you have carpenter ants lurking outdoors is because a neighbor has an ongoing ant problem. If their pest control provider failed to treat their infestation efficiently, some black ants may have migrated to nearby properties, which could include your space. Sometimes, your house is  a more suitable environment for the ants than the previous location they stayed in, so they settle there.

Other Signs Of Carpenter Ant Infestation To Watch Out For 

Among the common household pests, carpenter ants are also considered to be one of the most destructive. They’re usually called silent destroyers since the extent of their wood damage isn’t visible on the outside. These ants may not directly consume wood like adult termites, but they can chew through wood and create multiple nests, weakening the home’s foundation and causing significant structural damage in turn. 

Here are other external signs to help you identify if you’ve a carpenter ant infestation: 

  • You notice tiny piles of wood shavings or coarse sawdust near wooden surfaces and crawl areas. Since carpenter ants don’t eat wood, they’d typically kick out this frass outside their entry holes.
  • You find discarded wings sitting on window sills, patios, and basement walls. This is a sign that flying carpenter ants have recently swarmed within your property.
  • You frequently see a large number of live ants on counters, floors, and cabinets. This usually occurs when you have a bowl of pet food or leftover food in the kitchen.
  • You hear a gnawing or rustling sound inside the walls where carpenter ants are probably nesting. 
  • You spot a large pile of dirt or ant mound outdoors. 

Ways To Keep Carpenter Ants Away From Your Home  

To prevent a serious black carpenter ant infestation, you need to prioritize setting up measures that will eliminate their access to your home. Here are some simple pest control tips to help deter ants from coming indoors: 

  • Remove any wood that touch the building above ground since this can give ants a way to enter inside 
  • Avoid storing stacks of firewood or logs in the garage or your front deck 
  • Don’t lay too much mulch in your garden especially near trees or wooden borders and fences since this is an attractive nesting site for carpenter ants
  • Inspect your home roofing and sinks for water leaks and repair them immediately to avoid giving ants a source of water 
  • Close off all possible entry points such as small cracks and hollow spaces using a sealant or caulk 
  • Use natural ant repellents such as essential oils or white vinegar-based sprays to remove their scent pheromone trails 
  • Put all dry snacks and pet food in plastic airtight containers 
  • Sweep the house regularly and wipe down all kitchen counters and wood surfaces to clean food and water spills 
  • Call a pest control professional to set up necessary barrier treatments and carpenter ant bait stations to stop them from entering  

Learn More: How To Get Black Ants Out Of Your House Without Killing Them

Efficient and Reliable Solutions For Your Carpenter Ant Problems From Positive Pest Management 

pest control worker shaking hands with client over a job well done in ant control for the house

Seeing carpenter ants outside your home can be alarming especially if they’re frequently present in large numbers. It can be especially hard to deal with a carpenter ant problem without the help of an expert pest control team like Positive Pest Management. Locating nests, erasing pest trails, and making sure recurrences don’t happen must be left in the hands of the professionals.

As an experienced pest control company, we’ve helped many residents and businesses in New York with their pest control needs. Our professional services include safe and efficient extermination using quality natural and chemical pest control treatments, home inspections, and preventive measures to keep ants and other pests from returning. Call us today for any urgent pest control needs.

Learn More: How to Find Where Black Ants Are Hiding in Your Home

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