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Warm Weather, Rainy Spring Bring More Carpenter Ants

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Carpenter ants are creating problems for homeowners. The insects can chew away portions of the wood in your home, just like termites.

With a home on a wooded lot, Kathleen Smith knows that nature is at her back door. But a couple of weeks ago, the great outdoors crept indoors.

“I heard just kind of a fizzing or pop. A real subtle noise,” said Kathleen Smith, who lives in Maplewood.

Carpenter ants made a home on the paneling of her sliding glass door.

“They weren’t running in my house, so I hoped I caught it at an early stage,” Smith said.

It is a call that’s coming into many pest control companies.

“Today, I had three jobs for carpenter ants, so it does seem like there have been quite a bit,” said Justin Kraig.

Treatment for carpenter ants is up nearly 30 percent over last year. Michael Nightingale’s family just made their first call to pest control.

“I’ve noticed around our trees and around the house that it’s starting to get eaten and affected by carpenter ants,” said Michael Nightingale, of Lake Elmo.

A warmer winter and rainy spring created ideal conditions for a colony to grow. Left unchecked, a colony can quickly grow to 15,000. While ants may appear in the home, it’s usually not the source of the problem. Most carpenter ant nests are found in the backyard in a decaying tree.

“They nest in old, dead, decayed wood, rotted wooden stuff like that. They thrive on moist, dead wood and stuff,” said Bobby Martins, of Rove Pest Control.

For Smith, treatment to her house and backyard were successful, allowing her to enjoy nature without it entering her home.

“Our door is still standing and they seem to be gone. That’s all the proof I need now,” Smith said.

Carpenter ants are nocturnal, so you won’t always see them during the day. Telltale signs include a substance that looks like sawdust near the infestation and they make a slight clicking noise.

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