Carpenter ants are pests alright. A colony can easily grow to 2,000 worker ants, and unfortunately, their nests are very difficult to find. In fact, carpenter ant nests can go undetected in your home for years! These ants also establish satellite colonies, which make them very difficult to get rid of.
Finding Carpenter Ants
Many homeowners often suspect that they have termites based on the wood damage they see, but in many cases, this damage is actually caused by carpenter ants. While termite damage is usually more severe, carpenter ants can do extensive damage to the wood structures of your home, particularly since colonies often go undetected.
So how do you find carpenter ant colonies? What are the signs to look for? There are several main things. First, you may see piles of wood shavings. Carpenter ants don’t eat wood (like termites do), but instead, push it out of tunnels they create for their nests. The sawdust is called frass, and it contains not only wood shavings, but waste products from feeding and even other dead insects. In particular, carpenter ants like wet wood on the exterior of your home, or interior wood that has been damaged by water, such as wood under sinks or in basements. Wet wood is weaker, so the ants hone in on it.
The ants will leave trails along window sills and baseboards, as well as outdoor eaves and door frames; they might even leave trails along power lines and telephone poles.
If you have a large enough infestation, you can even hear the carpenter ants moving around in your walls as they build nests.
Seeing Is Believing
If you see carpenter ants, it doesn’t necessarily you have an infestation in your home, but it likely means there is a nest very nearby. The ants forage for food, so they might be in your home looking. The ants mainly forage at night, so you may go out at night with a flashlight to see if you see any trails or nests. Just remember that worker ants will travel as much as 100 yards in search of food and water.
Swarmer carpenter ants have wings, so you might see small piles of wings shed or even ants flying out of vents. The important point is that if you see them, you have them and you need to give our professionals at San Diego’s Harbor Pest Control a call. We will come out, do a thorough inspection, and rid you of your ant problem for good!