How Can You Tell If You Have Carpenter Ants?

Although carpenter ants don't do as much damage as quickly as termites, they can cause significant damage to your home over time. Being able to identify the signs of carpenter ants can help you know when it's time to get help from a pest control company.

How can you tell if you have carpenter ants?

Carpenter ants frequently cause damage to wood inside homes. Carpenter ants don't eat wood like termites, but they do evacuate wood--meaning, they slowly create hollow spaces inside wood for their own occupation. Carpenter ant damaged wood will have smooth tunnels inside and little entrance and exit holes on the outside. Of course, you may not see this type of damage because the wood may be inside the walls of your house. However, there are signs that you may see in your house. Primarily:

  • Carpenter ant wings. You'll see them around window sills and other areas where they frequent.
  • Saw dust. You may find a hole directly to the walls of your home and a little trail of saw dust lying on the ground near the hole. This is where the carpenter ants are coming and going from your residence. Carpenter ant nests tend to be located in areas where wood was water damaged, because this type of wood is easy to break down. This hole to the outside may be located in an area where you've experienced a leak in the past.
  • Carpenter ants themselves. Carpenter ants are nocturnal and come out mostly at night. They can be found near water sources, like your bathroom and kitchen, or anywhere that your home has been experiencing a leak. If your home has crawl space moisture from a leak, then they can probably be found in your home's crawl space. Carpenter ants are most active during their mating season in the spring.
  • Noises. Tap the walls in locations where you suspect there is carpenter ant activity. If you have carpenter ants, you'll be able to hear a rustling noise in the walls in these areas.

What do they look like?

Carpenter ants look like bigger-than-normal ants. They have wings, a segmented body and an antennae with a bend in the middle. They are different in appearance from termites in that termites have straight antennae and their bodies aren't so obviously segmented.

If you suspect that you have carpenter ants, what should you do?

If you suspect that your home has carpenter ants, contact a pest control company, such as Bug Busters Inc, for evaluation and extermination.