Unlike termites, carpenter ants don't actually eat wood. Instead, they make a home for their extensive colony inside wood. In natural areas, they are drawn to soft, rotting wood, such as fallen logs. In your home, wood that has sustained water damage is most prone to a carpenter ant infestation. You will often find them in wood near kitchens, bathrooms, or leaky windows since these are the most common spots for hidden water damage. The following can help you determine if these ants have invaded your home.
Sign #1: You find the ants indoors
Carpenter ants are generally dark black or reddish in color. They are larger than the small sugar ants that make it into homes, with even the smallest carpenter ants measuring in at 1/4 of an inch. Most carpenter ants are wingless, but you will likely come across a few winged adults that are scouting for food or water. These winged adults are called swarmers, and they typically emerge in the spring when the colony is becoming active. In some cases, you may not see the ants themselves but you may find the piles of wings near an infested area. This is because the ants shed the wings and become worker ants once their job in seeking out food and water sources is complete.
Sign #2: Strange sounds
These ants literally carve out their home in the wood of your home. When they complete a gallery, the wood is so smooth it appears as though it were sanded. This form of nest-building isn't silent. If you turn off all items in your house that make noise and place your ear against an infested wall, you will likely hear a rustling sound from within. This is more likely to be audible at night when the ants are most active.
Sign #3: Sawdust
Since carpenter ants don't eat wood, they have to clear out the shavings that form when they are carving out their colony galleries. Most often, this means finding or a creating a chute out of the wall they have infested, then pushing the sawdust outside. Indoors, you are most likely to find these piles near baseboard where there are seams to push the sawdust through, or in small holes in the wall. You may also find sawdust piles outside, particularly if you have wood siding or eaves that are housing the infestation.
For more help, contact a pest control services expert in your area.