Carpenter ants are notorious for their ability to cause significant damage to wooden structures. Unlike termites, they don’t eat wood but burrow through it to create extensive networks of tunnels and nests, weakening the structure over time.
Being able to recognize the signs of a carpenter ant infestation is crucial to taking swift action and mitigating potential damage.
1. Sightings of Worker Ants
Carpenter ants are among the largest ants you’ll come across, typically ranging from 1/4 to 1/2 inch in length. They are often black, but some species can be red or brown. While seeing a few ants may not necessarily indicate a problem, frequent sightings, especially in the kitchen or other areas where food is present, can be a sign of an infestation.
2. Winged Ants
In the spring, you may see winged ants, also known as swarmers. These are reproductive ants that leave the nest to mate and start new colonies. If you see winged ants inside your home, it’s a strong indicator of a nearby carpenter ant nest.
3. Wood Shavings
As carpenter ants burrow through wood, they leave behind a sawdust-like material known as frass. If you notice small piles of this debris beneath wooden items, it’s a sign that carpenter ants are at work.
If you have a severe carpenter ant infestation, you might even hear them. When disturbed, the ants make a rustling sound that’s similar to crinkling cellophane, which can be heard through the walls.
5. Damaged Wood
Over time, the damage caused by carpenter ants becomes apparent. Wood that has been infested may appear smooth and clean inside, unlike termite-damaged wood. The damage usually starts in damp areas and expands into dry wood.
Recognizing the signs of a carpenter ant infestation is the first step in tackling the problem. If you notice these signs in your home, it’s important to seek professional help. Pest control experts can confirm the presence of carpenter ants, locate the nest, and provide effective treatment options to eliminate the infestation and prevent future ones.