Summer ants are another common word to describe carpenter ants. Their real name is Camponotus. These ants love the summer. They become slow and stunted in the cold due to the liquid structure of their bodies and get sluggish and enter hibernation. This can be a real problem for people with a house made out of primarily wood and anyone who has rotting wood on their property. These ants don’t like the sun and need a place that is cool and damp to do their work. This means they need wet and preferably rotting wood. Anything else is just not good enough.
The infestation rarely starts in your home unless you already have a leak and rotting wood in your house. It usually begins outside in some wood that is on your property. It could be the mulch in your garden or the old wonky shed in the corner of the yard or it could be the firewood you have piled high by the fence. Any of these things could house a carpenter ant colony. Even the stumps of trees are in danger. Once they infest something on your property they begin to grow their colony, reproducing, foraging and building their nests and tunnels.
Eventually, that colony will reach maturity and produce winged ants. These ants are roughly half male and half female. They perform a mating dance in the air to produce offspring. This is not a great situation as they are sitting ducks to predators like birds that just love to eat them. But they have a plan. They know where they can safely mate and it’s inside of your home, they will often enter through an open window or may have already established a satellite colony in your home. When it is completed the male ants die and litter the floor, the female ants also rip off their wings and consume the muscle that made them work. The females are now pregnant and a queen of what will soon be her own colony. She has to find a crack or void in the wall that is safe and seal herself in to lay her eggs. This is how a new colony can start and how your house can get infested by carpenter ants when there aren’t even any on your property.
If you have carpenter ants you can get rid of them with a combination of silica dioxide and boric acid. You can buy the silica at the grocery store under the name diatomaceous earth. Boric acid bait can be bought but you can make it for cheaper. Buy some borax detergent and make a dough of sugar, flour and water with the detergent. The ants will take bits of it back to the nest and the colony will die off. The silica is very good for treating the cracks and crevices and for the general killing of ants. It works by being very sharp on a microscopic level. It cuts the waxy layer that holds in their bodily fluid and can desiccate them. It can also work its way into limps and connectors and break body parts off. This is an effective home treatment for summer ants.