Winter weather in Michigan keeps us all on our toes, from freezing rain to heavy wet snow and damaging winds, nothing strikes fear into a home owner faster than a winter storm that leaves damage in it's wake. Mid-Michigan suffered one of those storms the weekend following Thanksgiving, Nov 30-Dec 1, 2019. The ice .25"+, plus the heavy, wet snow 6"+, left many across the area without power for between to 24-72 hours. Since many summer homes and cottages have been winterized, many home owners won't become aware of any possible damage until Spring, some may never know until a pest infestation such as carpenter ants crops up inside the home.
Visible signs of a carpenter ant infestation don't typically show up immediately, in fact they can live inside your walls, ceiling or attic area for years without you knowing it. One of the first signs is frass (sawdust that feels coarse like cornmeal) that shows up in piles, another common sign is actually a sound, some people say they can hear the ants chewing in certain parts of their home. An additional sign of carpenter ants is finding more ant activity inside the home, ants are often seen looking for food or water to support the colony. The final indicator of a carpenter ant infestation is finding winged ants either flying inside the house or dead in the windowsills.
What can a homeowner do to prevent an infestation of carpenter ants? Monitoring, maintenance and repairs can greatly reduce your risk. Remove fallen branches from roofs, monitor ice dams (ice buildup along eaves) and seek professional assistance if the ice dams are large enough to cause water to leak under the shingles and into the roof area, repair leaks as soon as they are found. Leaks can be caused by ice dams, power outages (frozen pipes) damages caused by fallen branches or even gaps in construction materials and please, please, please don't pile firewood next to or inside the home as carpenter ants and other insects often hitchhike inside via firewood.