As many of my previous blogs indicated, my husband and I just purchased a short sale home that was in need of several repairs. Unfortunately, we were unaware that a carpenter ant infestation was one of the problems that plagued the home. That said; here are the lessons we learned.
Catch it quick.
We were very fortunately that we caught the problem before it caused any serious damage. According to the University of Kentucky’s entomology department, “Carpenter ants, vary in size and color but are usually large (1/4-1/2 inch) and blackish. Besides being objectionable by their presence, carpenter ants damage wood by hollowing it out for nesting. They excavate galleries in wood which have a smooth, sandpapered appearance. Wood which has been damaged by carpenter ants contains no mud-like material, as is the case with termites.”
However, if you catch the ants early, you can stop them from doing any structural damage. After two days of trying in-home ant traps, we realized the problem wouldn’t resolve itself, so turned to professional help.
Call in the professionals.
We did some online research and debated between hiring a local pest control company or one of the big-named companies. We decided to go with Terminix and were very happy with our decision. We signed up for the year-long service with quarterly service calls and guaranteed around-the-clock follow-ups should we have any remnant problems. Helpful tip: be sure to confirm that you can get out of the yearly plan should you choose not to complete the service. If our problem is gone, we may decide to cancel after 1-2 treatments. Furthermore, it never hurts to ask for a discount. We told them we were concerned about the price ($530 for the year) and they gave us $50 off.
Understand the consequences.
We have children and pets at home, so it was important to us that we fully understood the effects of the chemicals brought into our home. We made sure that Terminix had only EPA-registered chemicals and still decided to spend the first night after the treatment outside of our home. Furthermore, we were told to watch our dog when he goes outside for up to two weeks to ensure he doesn’t eat the grass or any of the chemicals.
Know how to prevent the problem.
The technician told us the problem usually arises from rotting wood somewhere in or around your home. We took a look around and sure enough, found that there was an old pile of yard rakings, including several branches right by the side of our house, and also found that our front door casing was rotting away. We quickly cleaned up the back yard and replaced the casing to try to avoid the issue from happening again.