The great weather we had this past weekend, combined with our access to...not only 1 but...2 chainsaws, gave us the perfect opportunity to clean up the mess that Mother Nature had dumped in our yard. While cutting down a partially-broken branch (see photo), we encountered a carpenter ant condo. They weren't very happy to have their home broken into, but since it was so nice out, we're sure they were able to find a new residence in no time in another nearby dead branch.
Since carpenter ants, and termites, feed on decaying plant material, dying branches and dead trees are the perfect place for them to live. If those trees are close enough to your home, as the ant colony grows, they may look for new opportunities to feed and live, such as the mulch around your house. Once near your home, that's when they can then get into your home and cause damage.
Interestingly, some carpenter ants don't even look like ants: The workers of the colony have the typical ant body, while the reproductives have wings and look more like a termite (see photo at left).
Now is the perfect time, before the leaves start popping out, to see if parts of your trees may dying and subject to carpenter ant infestation. Once carpenter ants infest a tree, they will then speed up its demise. Proper trimming and sealing of decaying branches can protect and prolong the life of your trees. Obviously, once carpenter ants are inside your home, trimming is no longer an option and that's were we come in!