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Signs that You Have Carpenter Ants and What to Do

Mar 27, 2024 - By the dedicated team of editors and writers at Newsletter Station.

Carpenter ants are not your typical household pests. Unlike their destructive wood-chewing relatives, termites, carpenter ants don't eat wood but instead tunnel through it to build their nests. While they may not consume the wood, the damage they can cause to your home can be significant if left unchecked.

In this blog, we'll explore the signs indicating you may have a carpenter ant infestation and the steps you should take to address the problem.

Signs of Carpenter Ant Infestation
  1. Sawdust-Like Frass: One of the most common signs of a carpenter ant infestation is sawdust-like material known as frass. Carpenter ants excavate tunnels and galleries within the wood, pushing this debris through small openings and creating piles of frass beneath or around the infested areas.
  2. Rustling Sounds: Carpenter ants are not silent invaders. If you listen carefully, you may hear rustling or tapping sounds inside your walls or wooden structures. These noises often occur at night when the ants are most active.
  3. Visible Ants: Spotting carpenter ants within your home clearly indicates an infestation. These ants are larger than most household ants, typically ranging from 0.25 to 0.75 inches long. They have a segmented body and elbowed antennae and are usually black, red, or a combination of both colors.
  4. Hollow or Damaged Wood: As carpenter ants burrow into wooden structures, they create tunnels and galleries, weakening the wood. If you tap on the surface of infested wood and it sounds hollow or notice wood that appears damaged or deteriorating, it may be a sign of a carpenter ant problem.
  5. Trailing Ants: Carpenter ants often forage for food in trails, following a scented pheromone left by their fellow ants. If you see a line of ants traveling along a predictable path, it's a strong indicator of their presence.
  6. Winged Ants (Swarmers): During the spring or early summer, carpenter ant colonies produce winged reproductives called swarmers. Seeing swarmers indoors, especially near light sources or windows, suggests a colony may be established nearby.

What to Do If You Suspect a Carpenter Ant Infestation
  1. Confirm the Infestation: While the signs mentioned above may indicate a carpenter ant infestation, it's essential to confirm it. Consult a professional pest control expert or entomologist to identify the ant species and assess the extent of the infestation.
  2. Locate the Nest: Locating and eliminating the nest is crucial for effective carpenter ant control. Carpenter ant nests can be found both indoors and outdoors. A professional pest control service can help pinpoint and eradicate the nest.
  3. Prevent Future Infestations: After addressing the current infestation, prevent future carpenter ant problems. These may include sealing cracks and gaps in your home's foundation, replacing moisture-damaged wood, and removing dead or decaying trees near your property.
  4. Regular Inspections: Conduct routine inspections of your home, especially in areas prone to moisture, such as the kitchen, bathroom, and basement. Keeping your property well-maintained and addressing any water leaks promptly can help deter carpenter ants from returning.
  5. Professional Pest Control: While DIY solutions may provide temporary relief, a professional pest control service is often the most effective way to deal with a carpenter ant infestation. They have the knowledge, tools, and expertise to resolve the problem fully.
Carpenter ant infestations can be a significant concern for homeowners, as they can potentially cause extensive structural damage to your property. Recognizing the signs of an infestation and taking prompt action is essential to minimize the harm these ants can do.

If you suspect you have a carpenter's problem, don't hesitate to seek the help of a professional pest control expert to assess and address the issue effectively, protecting your home from further damage.
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