When ants march into your home, they’re typically looking for something to eat. However, some are trying to find a safe place to live. Carpenter ants form nests by burrowing into wood, which can lead to structural damage if left untreated. Thankfully, these ants leave a few clues behind to alert you to their presence. We’ve made a list of warning signs to help you identify a carpenter ant problem.
Carpenter Ants 101
To help identify a carpenter ant infestation, you need to know a little bit about them. Carpenter ants are typically black, but can be red. They grow between 1/2ʺ-5/8ʺ. These ants tunnel into wooden objects to form nests. They prefer wood that is already damaged or moist, but will move onto dry wood after starting their nest. While they remove wood, they don’t eat it. Instead, they feed on honeydew, plant juices, insects, and your leftover sweet treats and meats. These ants can be found throughout the United States.
6 Signs of a Carpenter Ant Infestation
Identifying a carpenter ant problem is the first step to eliminating an infestation. Check out six signs that carpenter ants are in your home.
1. Carpenter Ant Sightings
Spotting several or even just one carpenter ant could be a sign of an infestation. Worker ants are often sighted when out foraging for food.
2. Finding Ant Wings
Swarming carpenter ants lose their wings after mating. These are often found near doors and windows.
3. Wood Shavings
Carpenter ants remove wood and dead insects when excavating tunnels. This material is known as frass and is often found under wooden objects or on walls and floors.
4. Hearing Carpenter Ants in Walls
Carpenter ant tunneling will cause rustling noises. This noise is often heard at night and it comes from behind woodwork or walls.
5. Hollow Wood
The more tunneling carpenter ants complete, the more damage they will cause. If you tap on wood and it sounds hollow, carpenter ants could be the cause.
6. Small Holes in Wood
Tunneling is done inside of walls, so most nests won’t be seen. However, you may find small round holes that carpenter ants use to remove wood debris.
How to Prevent Carpenter Ants
Bug-proofing your home and yard can help keep carpenter ants away. We've made a list of tips to prevent these pests.
1. Eliminate Moisture
Carpenter ants like damp wood, so you’ll want to reduce moisture build-up in your home. Repair leaky pipes, keep gutters clean, and use a dehumidifier to eliminate excess moisture.
2. Trim Trees & Shrubs
Make sure you don’t have plants or tree branches touching your home. Carpenter ants climbing on these will have an easier time entering your home.
3. Don’t Feed Them
If carpenter ants have a good food source, they won’t be quick to leave. Sweep up any crumbs and wipe up spills to deter them from sticking around.
4. Perimeter Treatment
Using a plant-based insecticide spray, like Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective™ Yard Bug Spray, around the perimeter of your home can help prevent carpenter ants. The natural plant oils are effective at controlling carpenter ants. Plant-based insecticides also provide residual repellency. This acts as a barrier that will deter bugs from coming inside.
5. Interior Treatment
If carpenter ants have made their way into your home, you’ll want to act quickly. Using a pesticide, like Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Home Bug Spray or Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Ant & Roach Killer, can help. Not only do they kill on contact, they also provide you with residual repellency to help keep ants from returning.
If you suspect carpenter ants are hiding in your house, don’t wait to take action. If they continue tunneling, they can cause damage to your home. It’s important to look for warning signs and to take preventative measures. If bugs are giving you a fit, we have your back! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Pest Control products.