Carpenter Ants Tunnel... A Lot!

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It Might Be Time To Take These Ants Seriously!

If you start seeing very large black ants, 1, or maybe 2 or 3 at a time, in your living spaces, it is time to take notice. Those are carpenter ants. And if there are a couple of scouts out and about where you can see them, there are probably hundreds more just out of sight inside your walls. And if these ants are inside your walls, there is a reason for concern.

Carpenter ants are among the largest ants you will ever see inside your home. Worker carpenter ants are black, or red and black and they range in size from 3/8 to 1/2 an inch in length. Once inside a wooden structure, they will carve numerous tunnels and galleries to build nests. Inside these nests, carpenter ants will multiply their populations. And the more ants are reproduced, the more tunnels and galleries will need to be carved out.

Key Areas To Check For Carpenter Ant Damage

Carpenter ant on woods chips

If you suspect you may have a carpenter ant infestation, there are several places you can search to see the evidence of their presence.  These ants prefer to nest in moist wood, or in structures that have already been damaged by other pests. These compromised areas are sometimes found around windows, chimneys, sinks, door frames, bath traps, and also in hollow spaces such as wall voids. If there is a space that is protected from extreme temperatures, bad weather, and predators, then this is a place where carpenter ant colonies can thrive.

Some Warning Signs Of A Carpenter Ant Infestation

  • 1 or more large black ants. As mentioned, if you see a few straggling carpenter ants, there are probably more. Lots more.
  • Ant swarmers. Large black ants with wings, perhaps crawling on the inside of window panes, are a near-certain sign you have an active infestation.
  • Shed wings. Swarms appear and disappear quickly, and they leave their wings behind. Look in places on decks and patios, window sills, or "sticky" places such as cobwebs.
  • "Sawdust." Carpenter ants don't eat wood, they dig through it and push the sawdust, called "frass" out through "kickout" holes. This is usually in concealed areas, such as inside wall voids, but sometimes can be seen. This "frass" is often mistaken for dust or dirt.
  • Wood damage. Most carpenter ant damage is unseen, but sometimes they damage exterior wood which can be seen. But whether seen or unseen, carpenter ant damage, over time, can lead to floors and ceilings that sag, and windows and doors that stick.

Is Wood Damage Due To Carpenter Ants Or Termites?

Sometimes, when wood damage is detected, it can be difficult to determine what exactly is causing that damage. Is it carpenter ants, which is bad enough, or termites, which is really bad?! Statistics say that carpenter ants cost the United States home and business owners hundreds of millions of dollars annually, but termites are much more destructive, costing $5 billion or more annually. Neither of these pests is something to fool around with.

There Are Several Ways You May Be Able To Tell What Is Eating Away At Your Home.

  • Termites do not leave frass, carpenter ants do. If you are seeing frass, you likely have carpenter ants.
  • Termites are not visible (unless perhaps a wall is ripped out). If you are seeing a few big black ants, you likely have carpenter ants.
  • Carpenter ants do not need moisture to survive. Termites do. If you see shelter tubes (also called mud tubes) on foundation walls or other hidden locations, you have termites.
  • Carpenter ants sometimes leave holes that look like dashes or dots. Usually, this is in hidden areas such as inside wall voids. If you discover this kind of damage, you likely have carpenter ants.

While you may be able to see the signs of termites or carpenter ants, this will not rule out the presence of the other pest. For instance, if you see frass and kickout holes, you probably have carpenter ants, but termites may be present as well. And, both of these pests will do extensive damage if they are not properly eradicated.

To be certain what kind of wood-destroying creature you are dealing with, it is imperative to partner with a professional pest control company that knows exactly what to look for. Reach out to Action Pest Control today with questions or to schedule your residential pest control services.

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