Dealing With Carpenter Ants In Your Detached Garage

A detached garage can be a useful addition to any property with enough space to build one. Unfortunately, it can also become a haven for a variety of unwanted pests. Carpenter ants in your detached garage can be particularly troublesome to deal with, and these tenacious pests can do serious damage if they are not swiftly and thoroughly removed.

Why Are Carpenter Ants Attracted To Detached Garages?

Carpenter ants may look like ordinary ants to the naked eye, but they have a unique way of building their nests. Instead of excavating underground colonies like most species of ant, they create their nests by burrowing into timber, excavating tunnels often referred to as 'galleries'. Damp timber that has absorbed moisture is particularly attractive to carpenter ants, as it is easier for them to burrow through.

If carpenter ants find any suitable timber structures on your property, they can do a serious amount of damage in a short space of time. Carpenter ants can be particularly dangerous if they burrow into structural, load-bearing timbers, and can seriously weaken a building's structural integrity.

Unfortunately, this means that many detached garages are a prime target for carpenter ants. Most detached garages have timber framing and roof trusses, which may become damp if the garage leaks during wet weather. These structural timbers become very vulnerable to carpenter ants, and because detached garages are not connected to your main home, they can go undisturbed and unnoticed for a long time.

Even if your detached garage has steel frames or trusses, any timber structures and objects within the garage may be vulnerable to damage. Timber wall cladding, roof shingles, workbenches, and storage racks can all become riddled with holes and tunnels.

How Can You Spot Carpenter Ants In Your Detached Garage?

Carpenter ants will generally retreat to their burrows when they sense a disturbance, so you are unlikely to spot the ants themselves before any serious damage is done. You may be able to hear the distinctive 'crinkling' sound they make as they chew through wood. However, carpenter ants usually burrow at night, so unless you feel like sleeping in your detached garage, this may not be viable either.

The easiest way to spot carpenter ants in your detached garage is to look for piles of 'frass', a sawdust-like material left behind by ants burrowing through timber. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not actually consume timber, so they tend to leave much larger piles of discarded frass. 

If your detached garage has exposed wall or roof timbers, you may also be able to spot small holes where carpenter ants have burrowed into the wood. These holes look similar to woodworm holes and may be surrounded by loose frass.

How Can You Remove Carpenter Ants From Your Detached Garage?

Because carpenter ants construct deep, protective shelters in solid wood, they are very difficult to destroy using over-the-counter bug sprays, powders, and foggers. Carpenter ant queens also reproduce extremely quickly and can rapidly replace losses in their ant armies.

If you spot signs of carpenter ant infestation in your detached garage, your best bet is to call in a professional pest control service to exterminate the pests. These trained, experienced professionals will inspect your garage thoroughly and will determine the most likely spots where carpenter ants may be hiding.

To kill the ants, your chosen service may deploy bait stations. These stations contain foods impregnated with a slow-acting poison. Worker ants will carry these foods back to their hidden nests for other ants to consume. The poison then takes effect and kills any ant that has come in contact with the bait. These stations are highly effective at killing queens and are much more effective than consumer-grade baits.

If your detached garage has a serious infestation that may be causing severe structural damage, your service may recommend fumigation. Fumigating a detached garage is easier and less disruptive than fumigating a house, and you will be able to remain in your home while fumigation takes place.

For more information on pest control in your area, contact a company near you.