Carpenter ants are wood-boring insects that excavate wood through smooth, precise tunnels that they use for nests. Carpenter ants do not actually eat wood, but they do cause damage to wooden structures by excavating these tunnels.
What Does it Look Like on Wood?
Found in moist or decaying wood, carpenter ants cut galleries into wood to create passageways and nesting sites, and they can ultimately impact the stability of wooden structures if left untreated. At their largest, carpenter ants can be up to an inch long, and at the first sighting it’s wise to take action.
How Bad Can it Get?
The extent of the damage varies and is usually dependent on how long colonies have existed in homes. Individuals can typically tell when carpenter ant infestations are present from the appearance of sawdust, dead ants, and the remains of other insect species carpenter ants feed on around infested wood. Areas of high moisture in the home foster weakened wood support beams and foundations, which serve as ideal points of entry for the pests.
It May Not Be Easy to See
Most carpenter ant damage is not externally visible, which makes it hard to detect. As ant colonies grow, the amount of destruction becomes more noticeable and immediate action should be taken.
In the role nature intended for them, carpenter ants break down rotting wood and leave behind richly fertilized soil. However, in our homes the only thing they leave behind is crumbling walls and expensive repair work.
Carpenter ants can reduce solid structures to hollow shells but unlike termites, they don’t do so by eating and digesting wood.
The longer carpenter ants reside in and around your home, the larger their network of nests will be and the greater damage they will cause to your home. Once they’ve made their home inside your home, it is difficult to eradicate the problem.