Can a Tree With Carpenter Ants Be Saved

Many homeowners see carpenter ants around their trees and panic for good reasons. The ants are notoriously destructive, and they spread very quickly. In that situation, you’ll ask, “Can a tree with carpenter ants be saved?” Can infested trees be rescued?

In this post, your trusted tree specialists in Holliston will tell you if you’re right to worry or if there’s still hope for your tree.

can a tree with carpenter ants be saved

Understanding the Relationship Between Carpenter Ants and Trees

Many people associate carpenter ants with termites, but their similarity ends in their social behavior. Carpenter ants are invasive species that can grow up to half an inch. Their colonies can contain up to 10,000 individual ants. 

When a colony is mature, some of the younger ants will move to start a satellite colony. 

A major distinction between termites and carpenter ants is that the latter doesn’t feed on wood. Their diet consists of insects, pet food, syrup, and honeydew from aphids. 

So why are they on your trees? They only use the tree as a shelter or nesting place. Unfortunately, this means boring into the wood. 

Another important point to keep in mind is that carpenter ants cannot build a nest in healthy trees. They often need an entry through a diseased part of the tree. Preserving trees affected by carpenter ants is difficult because you’re dealing with extensive disease most of the time.

The Probability of Saving Trees with Carpenter Ants

So, can a tree with carpenter ants be saved? The right answer here is, “It depends.” Factors that will determine if you can save your tree from carpenter ants include the following:

The Tree’s Health Status

Remember, carpenter ants don’t nest in healthy trees. So, to determine if you can save the tree, you have to evaluate the tree’s health. Check for wood rot, disease, and injuries to the tree. 

The Extent of the Damage 

If you can see the signs of rot or disease, the next step is to check how far the damage has gone. Is it an issue you can solve with strategic pruning or other methods of disease treatment? Saving trees infested with carpenter ants typically involves treating the underlying disease.

 If the disease has already impacted the heart of the wood, it’s likely too late.

Similarly, you have to evaluate the level of damage the ants have caused with their nesting. 

How to Eliminate Carpenter Ant Colonies

Treatment for trees with carpenter ants can only work after eliminating the colony.

Some of the options for rescuing trees from carpenter ant infestation include the following:

  • Use of baits. Carpenter ants feeding on the bait and taking them into the colony to the queen increases the probability of long-term control.
  • Use of insecticides. Insecticides can decimate the ant population. However, it’s hard to get enough of it into the colony to reach the queen and stop reproduction. 

Get a Professional Evaluation for Your Tree

For a definitive answer to “Can a tree with carpenter ants be saved?” order tree health evaluations from your local experts.

Call Brooke Tree Service in Holliston, MA, today at (508) 613-5044 to schedule a consultation.


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