The Tell-Tale Signs of Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are one of the most valuable insects on earth. They chew galleries in wood that form sawdust and rots providing compost for new growth. However, when carpenter ants enter your home or building they are a highly destructive pest. An infestation of carpenter ants often goes unnoticed until major damage is found.

Damage caused by carpenter ants is often confused with termites. Termites feed off the cellulose in the wood and carpenter ants feed off sources of protein and sugar. Carpenter ants create galleries in the wood for passageways and movement to and from the nest. They prefer damp, moist wood that’s decaying. Most home/building carpenter ant infestations are found around windows, roof eaves, decks and porches because they are vulnerable to moisture.

Carpenter ants can damage the wood used in the construction of buildings and homes. They leave behind sawdust, also known as frass, that can provide clues to the location of their nests. Decayed wood inside of buildings usually are the result of a plumbing leak, poor air circulation and condensation. Nests have been found behind bathroom tiles and under sinks, roofing and attic beams. Carpenter ants also nest in dry areas such as hollow doors, wall voids and foam insulation. Nests found in dry areas are called satellite nests because no eggs are laid. Satellite nests contain mature larvae (the workers) and are used for transport between the parent colony and the satellite colonies.

Control of carpenter ant infestations often involves the use of pesticides in the form of liquids or dust. Pesticide dusts can be injected in to the galleries and areas where the ants are living. Liquids are applied in places that foraging ants pick up the poison and carry back to the colonies. If you observe the telltale signs of carpenter ants, chances are you have a problem much larger than a few ants. Damage to wood structures varies. A professional pest control company should be consulted to determine the scope of the problem. Early identification is important to prevent damage from occurring in your home or building.