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SHOULD YOU BE WORRIED ABOUT CARPENTER ANTS?

By Chris Williams on May 7, 2018.

I always thought it was no big deal to see a few ants inside your house. We’ve always had some show up seasonally and eventually they disappear again. My father said that the ants we have are carpenter ants and that we should be worried about them damaging the house. Is that true?

L. T., Windham, NH

It could be true. Carpenter ants can do some serious damage to wood in your home but we can’t yet say for sure if that is what is happening in your case. First, you need to make sure the ants are really carpenter ants (we can identify them for you). Second, you need to determine whether the ants are indeed nesting in your house or foraging in from nests outside to find food indoors (our technicians can determine that, too). For some clues, see Are Carpenter Ants Nesting Indoors?

DAMAGE TO WOOD CAN BE A LITTLE OR A LOT

Small satellite colony of black carpenter ants. Shutterstock.

If it turns out that you have carpenter ants nesting in the wood in your home, the amount of damage that they can do, or have done, is also variable (see How Serious Are Carpenter Ants?). The nesting may have gone on for years with nests in more than one location, or there may be a single nest confined to a doorframe, for example. You need a professional inspection to answer these questions.

Carpenter ants are larger than our other pest ants and are usually solid black (see Are These Carpenter Ants?). They often first infest wood that has been softened or damaged by water. In other words, if you’ve had a plumbing leak, roof leak, or have rotting wood around a door or window, those would be the kind of sites that are attractive to carpenter ants. Carpenter ants don’t feed on the wood like termites, but instead hollow it out to make nest galleries inside. The damage may not be noticeable unless you break into the wood but you might see piles of wood shavings and other debris that the ants kick out of their galleries.

LET US KICK FORAGING ANTS OUT OF YOUR HOME

If the ants turn out to be something other than carpenter ants, you’ll still want to eliminate them by letting us set up a specific ant baiting program. Nuisance ants can indeed be a nuisance and some species will establish multiple colonies in hidden areas of your home.

Bottom line? Carpenter ant damage to wood is generally not as serious as termite damage but a carpenter ant infestation that is ignored can result in significant damage over time. Give Colonial Pest a call and let us evaluate and then eliminate your ant problem. No more worries.

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