Winter Carpenter Ant Activity In Colorado

Just this past week, a Fort Collins homeowner reached out to us about carpenter ants making a sudden appearance inside her kitchen. Turns out, like most polite houseguests, they were using the exterior door to make their way inside. Manners aside, you may be confused about carpenter ant activity happening in Colorado while winter is still in season. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for carpenter ants or other ants in Colorado to show up in the middle of winter and we’ll explain why.

front door open of fort collins co home

When it comes to carpenter ants, dormant doesn’t mean gone

Like many insects in Colorado, carpenter ants become dormant once air temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Since they’re cold-blooded insects, the dip in the temps affects how they function, specifically they become more sluggish. When this happens, these wood-destroying ants will seek out nesting sites that protect them from the winter weather and residents of the Rocky Mountain state will observe decreased ant activity. This sequence of events typically happens in the fall.

Of course, there are exceptions. If carpenter ants have taken refuge INSIDE Colorado homes, they may remain active over the winter and in fact establish nests indoors. Not great news for the wood in your home.

But what if carpenter ants are entering from outside

In the case of the homeowner we first mentioned, the ants came from outdoors. Again, this isn’t unusual. On mild winter days, carpenter ants are prone to start moving again and in this particular situation, Fort Collins saw temperatures exceed 50 degrees. Of course, that was short-lived and any carpenter ants that were out and about have taken shelter once more.

Should you be worried if you spy carpenter ants inside this winter?

If you’ve discovered carpenter ants crawling around your home this winter, there’s reason to be concerned. Though most ants in Colorado do not pose a significant threat to homes and other structures, carpenter ants are a wood-destroying pest that should be addressed at the first sign of an infestation.

Damages caused by carpenter ants

Unlike termites that cause an estimated $5 billion dollars in damage every year in the United States, carpenter ants are not as destructive. Still, they are not a pest you want in your home. Carpenter ant damage is caused when these large black ants hollow out wood in order to create nesting sites or galleries- typically in wood that has already been damaged by water. This activity can result in structural damage.

What does carpenter ant damage look like?

Left untreated, excavating carpenter ants can weaken support beams and cause warping, windows and doors may become harder to open and, if there’s an infestation in your home, you may also notice sawdust or frass piled up under tiny holes punched out of your walls. Another difference between termites and carpenter ants, these wood-destroying ants don’t actually consume wood. They like to keep their tunnels nice and clear of debris, which is when you’ll see the frass.

How to get rid of carpenter ants – for good!

In order to exterminate carpenter ants that have taken up residence in your home, we recommend signing up for ongoing pest control service with EnviroPest!

Providing home pest control plans in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins as well as throughout NoCo, our local pest pros have the experience and tools to rid your home of carpenter ants and with ongoing service, they won’t have a chance to re-infest.

Colorado's Choice

Our Colorado's Choice program includes the same features as our Colorado's Choice Basic but also includes an additional service visit during the winter months and ongoing rodent control for mice and rats.

Pests covered under the Colorado's Choice includes:

  • Ants (Carpenter ants, odorous house ants, pavement ants, sugar ants)
  • Beetles
  • Centipedes
  • Earwigs
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Spiders (House spiders, rock spiders, wolf spiders, black widow spiders)
  • Wasps (Baldfaced hornets, paper wasps, yellow jackets)
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