With spring come ants. The warm weather brings them out of their underground tunnels searching for food. You may find them swarming around the floor near your kitchen trash can or you may find them marching in a long line up your cabinets and onto the counter to finish off the maple syrup the kids left behind after breakfast. Most ants are a nuisance that can be controlled with bait traps and sprays, but carpenter ants can be destructive.
Larger than their kitchen-patrolling cousins, carpenter ants gnaw through wood. They typically build their nests and chow down on wet or damaged wood such as piles of lumber, hollowed trees and dead branches. But they’ll happily colonize your deck or porch, gnawing tunnels that can undermine the structure.
Watch for blackish colored ants about 1/2-inch long. Winged ants indicate the establishment of a new colony. To protect your home, store firewood away from the house, remove stumps in the yard and keep tree limbs and shrubbery from touching the house. Once established, colonies can be difficult to treat as they burrow inside and outside your home. Professional pest control services will be necessary to rid your home and yard of carpenter ants.