Carpenter ants actually tunnel their way inside the wood and thus an ant infestation is often mistaken for termite infestation.
Ants can be quite a nuisance scurrying over kitchen floors and counters. Ants typically enter houses in search of food and water. While they generally do not spread diseases and are not harmful to the health of inhabitants, they bite and carpenter ants can eat through wood, causing extensive damage. Moreover, if left untreated, carpenter ants can build satellite nests in the home leading to an infestation that can even destroy the wooden foundations of a house.
How do carpenter ants cause damage?
These ants most commonly enter houses through attic vents, from cracks in door and window frames and cracks in the foundation of one’s house. They are also known to enter through openings around phone lines, electrical wiring, and pipes. They settle into door hollows and build nests in wall voids. One can usually find carpenter ant nests inside structural wood that has decayed or softened due to moisture.
Carpenter ants actually tunnel their way inside the wood and thus an ant infestation is often mistaken for termite infestation. However, termite damage differs from ant damage. Termites eat the cellulose in wood, whereas ants do not eat the wood, they merely tunnel through it creating space for shelter. Often, by the time one notices damages caused due to carpenter ant infestations, the damages are extensive and need professional help.
Identifying a carpenter ant infestation
Carpenter ant infestations seldom show many signs and homeowners often see the light of day once there is extensive damage. However, there are a few early signs that can indicate a carpenter ant infestation.
- The appearance of worker ants inside the house, or swarmers around lights in the evenings.
- Wood shavings and powder called frass can be seen lying below wooden structures, furniture, door and window frames.
- One should look for a clean and shaved cavity in wooden structures around, inside cabinets, etc. where the wood shavings are found.
- If any of the above are seen, then one can even hear a faint rustling sound inside walls or woodwork, indicating ants scurrying and scuttling about as they build their nests.
Eliminating an ant infestation
If any of the signs mentioned above are observed inside the house, you should immediately start with simple DIY measures like sealing cracks around window frames and doors, seal openings around wiring and pipes, remove cut tree limbs that could be serving as bridges leading ants to the house and stack firewood away from the home.
Secondly, it is in your best interest to immediately contact an exterminator to examine and assess the extent of the infestation and damage caused by the infestation or determine if the ants are simply looking for food. Once an expert has assessed your pest issue, they can help devise a plan to eliminate the problem.