Signs of Carpenter Ants in the House

Signs of Carpenter Ants in the House

Did you know there are about 1000 species of ants in Canada? Believe it or not, but ants are perhaps some of the most bothersome pests in the country. If you noticed swarms of ants in an old tree or bush pile in your homes or wood dust and collection of wings near your window or wooden doors, then you might be dealing with a carpenter ant infestation.

Carpenter ants are a common pest in Canada. Decaying, damp or damaged wood, whether inside in furniture or building material or outside in trees, provides the perfect place for carpenter ants to set up a colony. Unlike termites, the carpenter ants will not feed on the wood. Instead, they will tunnel through its creating chambers and routes to connect the nest to food sources.

Out of the 1000 species of ants in Canada, 24 are considered pest species. Carpenter ants are easy to identify, many are black, but it’snot uncommon to find others with red, yellow, tan or orange colorations. Their sizes also vary from ¼ inch to 1 inch in length.

What is the risk?

Of all ant species, carpenter ants are the most problematic. If left to thrive, carpenter ants will cause significant damage to homes and buildings. They get their name due to their nature of excavating wood during nest building. The result is several chambers to store food, eggs and also house the queen. Just like termites, their nest building activities will compromise the structural soundness of the wood after some time.

Where are carpenter ants found

There are about ten species of carpenter ants in Canada. These ants thrive in cool, damp regions. Carpenter ants will set up their nests in several wood sources including fences, tree stumps, firewood, and landscaping. Normally, they prefer wood that has rotted or damaged from leaks. In your home, they will be found in damaged door frames, under roofs, windows, sinks, chimneys, and bathtubs.

A typical carpenter ant nest has 10,000 workers. In larger colonies, the number could go up to 50,000 with multiple nests inside and outside. Carpenter ants won’t get into your home by chance. They normally get access into buildings through shrubs, overhead wires, or overhanging tree branches close to buildings. While they are known to only invade wet decaying wood, they have on rare occasions built nests on dry, undamaged woods.

Signs you have carpenter ants in your house

Look for sawdust

Unlike their close cousins the termites, carpenter ants do not feed on wood. Instead, they chew through it making tunnels and areas called galleys where they build their nests. They feed on sweet and syrupy substances like normal ants. Therefore, when you spot an ant train in your kitchen, it doesn’t necessarily mean the ant nest is in your home- it could be outside.

In case the carpenter ant nest was constructed in your house, it’s normally hidden in a place far from view. However, you will likely notice some sawdust or frass around the affected area. They love damp places, and you will soon discover frass around areas of condensation close to plumbing leaks.

Listen for the Nest

Carpenter ants love building their nests in poorly ventilated, dark areas inside your house with damp wood. However, they will still nest in dry, undamaged wood if the surroundings are still cool and dark. In case you notice a trail of carpenter ants in your kitchen, you can follow the trail back to their nest, which is normally in the house framing or a wood pile outside. Noticing sawdust is a strong indication you have an infestation. But if you are still unsure, you could tap on the wall in the suspected location. Tapping disrupts ant activities, and you should be able to hear rustling sounds as they scurry.

The damage they cause

By building tunnels and galleys inside wood, carpenter ants compromise the structural stability of a building. And unlike most insects, carpenter ants will not abandon their nest; they will stay happily for years, adding tunnels and expanding the colony. After some time, their damage will have structural problems like leaking roofs and sagging floors.

The first step in treating a carpenter ant infestation is proper identification. It’snot an easy task identifying these insects if it’s your first time dealing with them. A professional ant control company has specialists trained to identify pest causing problems. Treatment is different depending on the type of pest. If you think you might have a carpenter ant infestation, don’t hesitate to call us. The more you wait, the more extensive the damage could get.