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4 Signs of Carpenter Ants in Your House

Updated on: March 31, 2021

Nobody wants to see ants crawling around their house, much less if they’re carpenter ants. These tiny pests attack the wooden materials around the house to build their nests. If they’re not removed immediately, these carpenter ants expand into more colonies and cause serious damages.

So how do you know if there are carpenter ants in the house? Carpenter ants attack wood that has excess moisture. You’ll know if they’re in the house if there are sightings of the worker and winged ants, sawdust beneath woodworks, shed wings in different places, and wood damage.

How to Check for Carpenter Ant Infestation at Home

According to the National Pest Management Association, around 66% of the ant infestations around the country are caused by carpenter ants. Aside from being a nuisance in a home, these pests are also destructive because they attack the wooden structures and pieces of furniture around the house.

Here are some of the most common signs of ant infestation in a home that tell you to call pest management professionals immediately:

1. The Appearance of Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) are easy to spot because they’re bigger than other species of ants. Worker ants measure about 13mm long. They’re brownish to black with one node between the abdomen and the thorax. These worker ants are usually sent outside the nest to find food for the colony.

Homeowners might also notice winged carpenter ants in their homes. These winged alates are the reproductive ants that were sent out to find and create new nests. They’re also a lot bigger and more noticeable than worker carpenter ants. They don’t travel far from their original nest, so they’re likely from a colony that’s already inside the house.

2. Sawdust Beneath Woodworks

Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat wood. These pests carve tunnels in the woodwork to create their nests. They push the frass out until it accumulates on the floor, walls, or other parts of the home where they decided to reside. The frass (or sawdust) is usually composed of soil, insect parts, and wood shavings.

Frasses are difficult to spot because they often appear in areas with other organic matter. Homeowners don’t notice the frass if the carpenter ants’ nest is in a woodpile or a shed for carpentry items. Frass doesn’t look out of place in these areas, so owners won’t immediately suspect an ant infestation.

3. Shed Wings in Some Areas

Carpenter ants shed their wings during the mating season. These ants produce mating swarms quickly, which is why homeowners are more likely to find shed wings instead of actual winged carpenter ants.

These shed wings are usually found around floors, windowsills, and spiderwebs. If there are discarded wings around the house, it’s time to reach out to a pest management professional to take care of the ant problem.

4. Carpenter Ant Damage

The worst and most obvious sign of carpenter ant infestation at home is the noticeable damage they leave on wooden structures. Watch out for smooth tunnels and galleries in the fences, decks, sheds, and outbuildings.

The damage might also look like dots and dashes along the wood’s surface. It might also seem like rotting or splintered wood. Carpenter ant damage is usually spotted in moist places, like the part of a fence that touches the ground. Wood borders on flower beds and basement timbers are also attractive for carpenter ants.

Are Carpenter Ants and Termites Different?

Although they’re both extremely destructive pests, carpenter ants and termites are two different creatures – from their appearance and habits to the reason they attack wood. Termites attack wood because they gain nutritional value from it, while carpenter ants do it to build nests.

If you suspect a termite or carpenter ant attack at home, it’s better to look closely at the damage they cause. Both insects leave noticeable marks on the wood they attack, but termite damages are gritty while carpenter ants’ galleries and tunnels are smooth.

Termite attacks are also difficult to spot; the damage might have already started years ago, but the signs are only starting to show when the infestation is already severe. Carpenter ants are quite easy to see because they’re a lot bigger than termites.

Eliminate the Carpenter Ants at Home with PermaKill Exterminating

When there are signs of carpenter ant infestation at the house, it’s better to leave it at the hands of a pest management professional like PermaKill Exterminating. Our experienced team is skilled when it comes to creating the right treatment plan to eliminate the pests in a property for good.

Call PermaKill Exterminating today for high-quality extermination services using IPM-based methods. Visit our website today to learn more about our services or contact us at (973) 584 – 6414 for a free estimate.

Read more: Grease Ants vs. Sugar Ants: Which Pest is in My House?


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