Can a tree with carpenter ants be saved? If you see these notoriously destructive critters nibbling away on your beloved specimen, don’t worry; there’s still hope.
As Odessa’s trusted tree service provider, we at Arborist Aboard know our local pests like the backs of our hands. Keep reading as we break down the nitty-gritty details and what you can do to save your tree from destruction.
Why Carpenter Ants Go After Your Trees
Contrary to popular belief, carpenter ants are not wood connoisseurs. They don’t munch away on your tree because they crave cellulose (that’s more the termite’s diet). Instead, these insects carve out galleries or tunnels in the wood to set up their cozy little colonies.
Their diet mostly consists of sugary things, like honeydew, a byproduct of aphid colonies. If your specimen has a few aphids, that could provide enough of an incentive for the carpenter ants to move in.
Watch Out for Tree Damage
Carpenter ants are opportunists that fancy weakened trees rather than healthy ones. A plant beleaguered by wood decay, fungal infection, or physical damage makes a prime target, providing ant colonies easy access to create their labyrinthine dwellings.
When your specimen already suffers from stressors, it becomes less adept at fending off these invaders. This is why it’s critical to keep your living landscape healthy and robust so they don’t end up becoming the next hotspot for an infestation.
Insect Infestations Put Your Property at Risk
Initially, infestations, including those identified through pests identification on pine trees, keep to themselves, slowly working their way through your tree, hidden from plain sight. Don’t be fooled by their seeming unobtrusiveness! These tiny insects can wreak havoc far beyond the tree they’ve colonized.
Consider this: as they weaken the tree from the inside, it becomes increasingly unstable. Severe weather, a common visitor here in Florida, can then easily bring down these structurally compromised giants. This situation could result in substantial damage to your property or, worse, pose a direct threat to the safety of its inhabitants.
Moreover, let’s not forget that carpenter ants are not exclusive to trees. Given the chance, they’ll extend their real estate to include other wooden structures around your property. Your decks, sheds, and even your home or business could soon host these unwanted guests.
Top Strategies to Tackle Carpenter Ant Infestations
Can a tree with carpenter ants be saved? If your tree has turned into an ant dwelling, don’t wave the white flag just yet. You have a few tricks up your sleeve to send these unwanted guests packing.
Apply Dust Insecticides
You can routinely puff dust insecticides like Sevin and Abamectin on ant nest openings, disrupting their peaceful abode and convincing them to relocate.
Remember, safety first! Wear appropriate personal protective equipment when handling these substances.
Install Sticky Traps or Barriers
Trap tunnels with a sticky substance or use physical barriers such as caulk and wire mesh to block their entryways. You’ll likely see the ants circling around in confusion, and eventually, they’ll decide to retreat.
Seek Help From a Certified Arborist
When all else fails, or if you want to skip the DIY methods altogether, it’s time to call in the big guns. A local arborist can:
- Accurately diagnose the extent of the infestation
- Craft the most appropriate treatment plan
- Keep your tree healthy through trimming, fertilization, and other approaches
- Recommend preventative measures
- And more
At Arborist Aboard, we have a crew of experts who can proficiently answer your question, “Can a tree with carpenter ants be saved?” Call us at (813) 920-4410 for tree care tips and tailor-fit solutions that restore and maintain tree health.