How To Tell If You Have Carpenter Ants

How To Tell If You Have Carpenter Ants

Are you seeing small ants in and around your home? Or small piles of sawdust? You could potentially be dealing with carpenter ants! Those few ants you’re seeing could end up increasing in number fairly quickly. If you aren’t familiar with carpenter ants, you should know that these pests can do some serious structural damage as they make their nests inside the wood—a.k.a your home. These ants are bad news! 

Carpenter ant infestations usually start off with a few ants scoping out your property. These are known as “scout” ants. It will be up to them to determine whether your home is fit for the colony to move in. What makes your home attractive to carpenter ants? They need sources of food and water. Carpenter ants also are attracted to damaged or damp wood and will choose these areas as their first location for making a nest. However, they will then move on to dry wood as their colony grows. And they aren’t actually eating the wood, only making nests inside it. So, as for their food, they may rummage through your pantries and food-storage areas to find their meals. Any crumbs or spills will attract them as well. 

The sooner you find these ants the better! A carpenter ant infestation that has gone on too long can result in buildings becoming unsafe to live in. They will bite away chunk by chunk with their powerful jaws day after day. With the size of their colonies, it doesn’t take long for the damage to build up. It’s important to know the signs of a carpenter ant infestation.

Signs Carpenter Ants Leave Behind:

  • Seeing the ants inside your home is a sure sign of an infestation. These ants may be black or red, and some could even have wings. Discarded wings could be left behind. 
  • Any damaged or decaying wood is subject to carpenter ants, so watch out for this. It’s important to replace the wood and fix the damage as soon as possible. 
  • Sawdust or tunneling is another sign of carpenter ants. As the ants tunnel through to make their nest, they will leave behind small piles of sawdust and the wood may appear brittle and break apart. 
  • It’s also important to know where to look for carpenter ants. As mentioned above, any damp wood is susceptible to an infestation and their hotspots for making nests include windows, chimneys, bathrooms, and door frames. Any hollow spaces could potentially be at risk.
  • Any damage to your home should be inspected. Carpenter ants are known to cause sagging ceilings and floors, as well as unstable walls. If you’re noticing any of these, it’s important to seek a professional.

If you’re seeing any signs of a carpenter ant infestation, it’s advised to call a professional pest control company. Russell’s Pest Control has been serving Knoxville and eastern Tennessee for over 45 years. If you live within these areas, our team will partner with you to inspect and eliminate pests from your home. Better yet, they can help prevent pests from ever entering! We have different program options that will keep your home pest free and safe from the damage carpenter ants can cause. Contact Russell’s Pest Control today to get rid of your pest infestations!

What’s The Big Deal About Carpenter Ants?

What's The Big Deal About Carpenter Ants?

When you think of the term carpenter ant, what do you picture? Do you see a little ant, wearing his little yellow hard hat, sporting little steel-toed boots, and carrying a little toolbox with his tool belt around his waist? Wouldn’t it be nice if this were the case? Perhaps if you had a repair to be made around the house you could send a bunch of these little Mr. Fix-Its on their way to do your bidding; kind of like elves.

The problem is, these ants aren’t really builders or fixers of any kind. They are destroyers. In fact, they really ought to be renamed destructor ants. That would certainly be more appropriate since they burrow into wood and weaken the structure of your home. Yes, these are a pest we all need to take seriously, because if left to their own devices, they can do some pretty serious damage over time.

What do carpenter ants look like?

Carpenter ants are among the largest ants in the world, but the size of these ants within their colony varies. Adults are anywhere from 6 to 12 mm in length. Some males and winged swarmers can be as large as 18 mm, and the queens are around 20 mm. They are typically black but can have a reddish tint. And, the thorax of these ants is evenly rounded.

What do carpenter ants eat?

You may be tempted to think that carpenter ants eat wood like termites do, but this is not the case. These ants actually feed on sources of protein and sugar, such as dead insects, honeydew, meats and pet food. They do most of their foraging for food at night, between sunset and midnight during spring and summer. Sometimes worker ants travel up to 100 yards away from their nest in search of food. It is typical during this time when carpenter ants find their way into homes.

So what do carpenter ants have to do with wood?

Carpenter ants create tunnels and nests inside of wood. This can be either outside, such as in a log or tree stump, or inside, such as inside your walls or under roofing. And it’s most common for homeowners to find carpenter ants inside during the spring. If you find these ants in your home during late winter or early spring, this suggests that they are coming from a nest that is already inside your walls. And if you see piles of wood shavings underneath wooden items, then you should be appropriately concerned.

What can you do if you find these “destructor ants” or evidence of them, inside your home?

If you have seen these ants or evidence of them, it is a best to contact a professional pest control company as soon as possible. If left untreated, these little home wreckers can do quite a bit of damage both to outdoor wooden structures as well as the wood in your house. Here at Russell’s Pest Control, we have decades of experience dealing with carpenter ants, and a whole host of other household pests. And unlike those “carpenter” ants that do not live up to their name, our expert pest control technicians certainly will. You can count on it.