carpenter ants nest

Carpenter Ant Damage – How Destructive Can Ants Be?

If you have spotted a large ant in your house, especially during spring or fall, there’s a high chance it is a carpenter ant. In case the ant has wings, then there’s little doubt that it is, in fact, a carpenter ant. Carpenter ants are common across Canada and the U.S, and they are one of the largest species of all common ants. Carpenter ant size will, however, vary, even within a single colony. The worker ants are normally about ¼ to 1/5 inch. A carpenter ant queen can be as large as 1 inch in length. Carpenter ants tend to be more similar in color than in size, with a bulk of them being black or dark brown, it’s possible to find some with reddish to yellowish colorations. An obvious sign that you might have a carpenter ant infestation is spotting a winged ant in your house. While it’s common to have these ants originate from outside when they find nice soft decaying wood indoors which they can hollow, they begin forming a colony, and they are likely to stay until you take the necessary steps to kick them out.

Carpenter ant damage

Despite their minute size, carpenter ants have the capability if causing significant damage to your home before you have a chance to detect an infestation. Knowing the symptoms and what to look out for could help prevent significant losses.

Where to look for carpenter ant infestation

Carpenter ants are sneaky critters, and they can be very difficult to detect. This is why it is important to inspect certain areas of your home regularly. These areas normally reveal visible signs of an infestation early. Carpenter ants are notorious for attacking wood structures in your home. Looking for damp areas or leaks in your home is important. Carpenter ants are more likely to attack vulnerable wood rotting due to the moisture of passage of time. It’s rare to find them hollowing dry wood. The most vulnerable structure is wood that is in direct contact with the ground. And just like termites, carpenter ants will take advantage of entry points into buildings. When you are inspecting wood for infestation, look for frass or carpenter ant sawdust. If the sawdust is positioned underneath a hole, it’s normally a sign of a fresh entry. This is why it is important to get into a habit of inspecting the exterior of the property and wood structures. Remember, if the infestation took time a while ago, there would be no sign of frass indicative of entry. You will, however, notice damage to wooden structures. If left to thrive, carpenter ants will cause significant damage compromising the structural integrity of a building. If your infestation has been around for some time, the damage could be of epic proportions.

Common types of carpenter ant damage

Now that you know where to check for carpenter ant damage let’s look at the most common problems caused by a carpenter ant invasion. Carpenter ants, unlike termites, do not feed on the wood structures that they invade. Instead, they hollow tunnels and galleries they use to move around. When they make a nest inside a wooden structure, it leads to serious hollowing. According to reports filed by insurance companies, carpenter ants have the capability of causing as much damage to your property in a year as natural disasters. If their infestation goes unnoticed, they could significantly compromise the structural integrity of your building. Repairs are estimated to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The most definitive sign of their infestation always involves spotting piles of sawdust. This evidence is left behind since carpenter ants do not eat the wood they chip out.  Water stains on wood are also a potential sign of an ant infestation. When the ants damage wood, water begins to sip in, soaking into the interior of the house. The water that sips in contributes to the damage already caused by the ants. When inspecting for ant damage, don’t restrict your search to ground wooden floor structures or wooden structures in contact with the ground. Once the insects get access, the infestation spread very quickly throughout your property. Overhanging tree branches offer the perfect opportunity for ants to get access to your home. Areas that have roof leaks are also a sweet spot. It is due to these factors that you need to conduct a thorough inspection of your building if you suspect you might have a carpenter ant infestation. The moment you notice any of the above-discussed signs in your property, don’t hesitate, contact your local pest control professional without delay. Carpenter Ants are among the largest of ant species found in North America and thanks to their size as well as destructive behavior, are also counted among the most prominent pests representing the ant kingdom. Now, while it is a general notion that carpenter ants invade wooden parts of our property and feed on it, this is simply not the truth. The reason these ants invade wood is to build a nest for themselves, and in the process, they end up leaving a trail of destruction. Therefore, carpenter ants do not eat wood at all, but surely, in building their colonies, they often end up causing serious damage to your property. Ant control by a professional is imperative.

Why Carpenter Ants Target Wooden Structures

Homeowners often complain of carpenter ants taking over their wooden structures and causing serious structural damage. The costs of repair are sometimes extremely high and at times, entire sections of the property have to be removed and refitted. Yes, carpenter ants indeed cause high amounts of devastation and are therefore some of the most feared species of ants in North America.

So, why do carpenter ants target wood?

As a rule, carpenter ants have always built colonies, and further satellite colonies, in damp and decaying wood. Outdoors, these ants are responsible for the decomposition and the breaking down of trees, logs and stumps and are actually an important part of the ecosystem. Let them into the house, however, and they leave a trail of destruction. Homes that are built in wooded areas are especially prone to a carpenter ant infestation, where these ants are unable to differentiate between their natural and human habitat. In building their nests, these ants tunnel into damp wood, and the moist wood found in bathrooms or other wet areas of the house are usually their locations of choice. The basement, attic or garage are places where their presence often goes unnoticed too, and this is where they end up causing widespread damage. Since they are social insects, their colonies grow in size as their numbers increase and since they tunnel into the wood, their presence often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. Satellite colonies follow the main colonies of these ants and before you know it, you have a full-fledged infestation on your hands.

How Do I Track Down a Carpenter Ant Infestation?

While carpenter ants manage to stay out of sight while building their colonies beneath wooded surfaces, the foraging ants from these colonies can always be tracked down while hunting for food and water around your home. The damp areas of your home are where you need to start looking. Pillars and supporting timbers that are moistened by the earth, windows and doors that are exposed to rain, or the wooden areas in the bathroom etc. are the usual areas that these ants prefer to build a nest in. At times, thanks to natural hollows in the wood or other hidden locations in floors, walls or ceilings, carpenter ants do not even need to take the trouble of excavation. Hiring a professional ant control agency is often a wise choice, thanks to the comprehensive solutions they offer. These experts efficiently track down the location of the colonies, and after exterminating the ant population, also provide you with a fair idea of the extent of damage that has been caused. We offer customized solutions for carpenter ant control. Both residential and commercial. Call: 647-496-2211 Article Updated: March 1, 2019