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In our Knoxville service area, the carpenter ant species to watch out for is aptly called the black carpenter ant. These ants are completely black, and they range in size from ¼ to ½ inches in length. This makes them the largest ants that will infest your home. So, if you're seeing big black ants, it is likely that you have a carpenter ant infestation. If you do, there a few things you should know about those ants. Here is a quick guide to help you understand the threat carpenter ants present and what you can do to reduce this threat.

Why Are Black Carpenter Ants Bad?

Black carpenter ants aren't just structure-infesting ants, they are structure-damaging ants. They carve out galleries in wood to establish sites for their nests. If they get into your home, their wood-chewing activities will weaken the timbers in your home.

Do Carpenter Ants Damage All Types of Wood?

These ants are going to target soft wood first. They prefer wood that is rotting because it is easier to chew through. But, as a carpenter ant infestation grows inside a man-made structure, these ants can begin to chew on sound timbers that have not been damaged by water. There are two reasons you should know this. First, it is important that you understand that water damage is highly attractive to wood-damaging pests like the carpenter ant. You should quickly address any issues of moisture around or inside your Knoxville home. Second, carpenter ants aren't just a threat to a home with wood rot. They can get into a brand new house and do damage. They slip in through tiny gaps, cracks, and holes and gravitate to areas of high humidity. In these areas, they chew on the softest spots they can find.

Do Carpenter Ants Get Into Pantry Foods?

Yes, carpenter ants sometimes get into pantry foods. But, more often, these ants will live inside a man-made structure and feed on food sources outside. Your yard probably has a lot more accessible food for these ants to eat than your pantry. One common food source enjoyed by carpenter ants is honeydew from aphids, scale insects, and whiteflies. If you have plants around your home, it is likely that you have honeydew. This is going to be easier to obtain than foods that are sealed in cardboard and plastic packaging. Why is it important to understand this? Because your home can have thousands of carpenter ants in it and your pantry foods can remain untouched. This will leave you without an important warning sign.

Does It Help To Keep My Interior Foods Protected From Carpenter Ants?

Yes. It is a good idea to keep your food in sealed containers and to keep things clean inside your home. Carpenter ants can feed on food options inside trash. If they can easily go from your trash to an opened bag of food in your cabinets, this can expose you to harmful bacteria. This happens at night while you're asleep because carpenter ants are mostly nocturnal.    

What Warning Signs Do Carpenter Ants Give?

There are a few signs you should watch out for. Keep in mind that these signs are often subtle.

  • You may see frass. This is a mixture of wood and ant droppings
  • You may notice tiny holes. Carpenter ants create kickout holes to push frass out.
  • You might see damage. The damage caused by carpenter ants may look like a hole or like trenches in wood. This damage is most likely to be in dark, damp locations. If you see trenches that feel gritty to the tough, those are subterranean termite tunnels. Tunnels made by carpenter ants are smooth.
  • You might see flying ants. When a nest matures, winged reproductives are produced for the purpose of creating new nests. If you see winged carpenter ants on interior walls or window panes, you have an active and mature nest in your home.

Get Help

When you see signs of carpenter ants (or, hopefully, long before you see signs) reach out to Russell's Pest Control. We offer treatments that eliminate carpenter ants, and ongoing pest control solutions that keep these destructive ants from damaging Knoxville homes. We can help you protect your property and safeguard your equity.   

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