Ant Pest Control for Trees

Normally, we think of ants as nesting in the ground, but ants also like to nest in trees. Ants aid with the preservation of some trees, but destroy others. So how do you know if you should call a pest control company when you see an army of ants on one of your trees?

Nesting in the Tree

Ants will be attracted to a tree for several reasons. Either the tree is infested with yummy ant food—aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, scale, or honeydew, or the tree has a frequent supply of over-ripe fruit. Most ants love their sweets! Carpenter ants will be drawn to a tree that already has internal rot. Carpenter ants do not eat wood—they only excavate it. In these cases, if large numbers of ants are present, it means the tree is either dying or has an infestation of tree pests.

If ants are killing tree pests, the tree may actually benefit. The tree stays alive and the ants get a nice place to live. This is called mutualism. However, if an ant colony outgrows its arboreal host (which is very possible with the fast reproduction rate of ants), the colony may start carving out homes in neighboring healthy trees, which is not so good. Scientists observed this phenomenon in the Amazon rainforests of Peru. They found a number of galled (hollowed) trees where ants had carved nests in live wood. They believe this nesting behavior is more common than we thought.

Carpenter Ant

Nesting at the Base of the Tree

Fire ants, especially, love to nest at the base of trees because the soil there has less tendency to be disturbed and because food and moisture are more plentiful there. If the tree is a well-established tree, it probably won’t be impacted by this type of ant nest. However, if it’s young, it can be damaged from its roots being exposed and dried out due to ant tunneling at its base. Fire ants are also a nuisance to humans because of their burning sting. This reason alone can warrant a call to ant pest control.

So how do you know when it’s necessary to control the ant population on your trees? Experts say you should call ant pest control when the tree is within 25 feet of your house (to keep them from moving inside), when the ants are eating the fruit on a fruit tree, and when fire ants are on the premises. If any of these situations are happening on your property, you’ll want to take action right away

Fire Ant

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Do Carpenter Ants Eat Wood?

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