About 1,000 different ant species call the United States home. Many of them are harmless to Baltimore residents. Still, one species does pose a threat to the wood elements of your home.
If even a small colony of carpenter ants moves into your home’s walls, they can cause costly damage. Carpenter ants are silent destroyers that rarely show themselves inside of your house. You may not even realize you have an infestation until they’ve already damaged your home.
Carpenter Ants 101: Everything You Need To Know
Carpenter ants are larger than most common ant species. They are usually black but may have a reddish-brown tint to them. They have large mandibles, which they use to chew through the wood in your home.
When these pests make their way into your home’s walls, you might see worker ants looking for food. Winged swarmers may linger nearby, trying to spread the colony. If they’ve been in your home for a while, you’ll see wood shavings and dead ants where they are tunneling. You might also notice a rustling sound in your walls as they move around.
Carpenter ants and termites both do extensive damage to homes, but they do it differently. Carpenter ants will tunnel in the wood and weaken it. Termites eat the wood, instead. Carpenter ants are usually black, and some have uneven wings. On the other hand, termites are light brown with large heads and symmetrical wings.
Where Are Carpenter Ants Found?
Hopefully, you only see carpenter ants outdoors, where they like to tunnel into tree stumps, dead trees, and firewood. Unfortunately, some move into homes. They enter through gaps in the doors, windows, and eaves on their search for moist wood for new nests.
If they move into your home, you might find them in attics and crawl spaces where moisture from pipes and humidity softens structural wood. They also like bathrooms, chimneys, sinks, and damaged door or window frames.
What Attracts Carpenter Ants?
When a carpenter ant colony moves in, it is because your home has moist wood. The tenacious insects do everything they can to find the perfect home. They will even tunnel through dry wood to make their way to the deeper, moisture-laden areas.
Their diet consists of sugar and protein indoors, so they will eat any crumbs in your kitchen. Wood chips, wood garden edging, or wood decorations outside of your home also attract carpenter ants.
Signs of a Carpenter Ant Infestation
If you have a carpenter ant infestation, you might see large, black ants crawling on your floors and walls. They might emerge from cracks or crevices. You might hear them in your walls, especially if you have a large colony.
Another sign of a carpenter ant infestation is frass, the excrement from the colony. It looks like sawdust and might combine with parts of dead ants.
Problems From Carpenter Ants
While carpenter ants can bite, it is very uncommon. They are more focused on building their nests in and around your home. The problem with carpenter ants comes from their tunneling in the structural wood in your home. As these wood-destroying pests build their nests, the structural integrity of your home weakens.
If they’ve been nesting in your home, you might see discolored or water-damaged wood. Unfortunately, most of the damage happens in areas where you cannot see it.
How to Prevent Carpenter Ants
Avoid having to exterminate an ant colony by preventing them from moving in in the first place. Keep tree branches, shrubs, and other landscaping temptations away from your home. To avoid having damp wood in your home, use a dehumidifier in the basement and remove standing water as soon as you see it.
You can also prevent them from finding new nesting spots by sealing cracks, holes, and crevices. You should also keep wood off of the ground and away from the side of your home.
Carpenter ants can threaten your Baltimore home, especially if you don’t take care of them right away. If you do see them or suspect they’ve built a nest in your home, call the pest control experts from Phenom Pest Protection today!