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Identifying Carpenter Ants | Signs of Carpenter Ant Infestation | Carpenter Ants at Work
Why Pesticide Don't Work | Nocturnal Construction | A Nest Inside? | Water Damage

Carpenter antA Carpenter Ant Problem?

You are probably reading this because you believe to have a carpenter ant problem. Most of our customers identify their problem correctly by themselves. However, sometimes it is a different pest that creates the problem. For example, many different holes in a log house construction are a problem usually caused by carpenter bees and require a different treatment.

Identifying Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants have a narrow waist like wasps and an elbow bend in the middle of their antennae. Their colour is often black, sometimes mixed with red or all red. They look like regular ants, just bigger. They can range in size from ¼ inch to ½ inch for workers and up to 1 inch for queens and males. During mating, which takes place during the hot summer month, the queen and males have two wings. If your critters do not have a narrow waist and no elbow bend in their antennae they are not ants but could be termites. You will want to take action quickly.

read the obvious signs of carpenter ant infestationSigns of Carpenter Ant Infestation
  • You see large ants (up to ½ inch) in your home in consistently high numbers.
  • You hear a crackling, chewing noise from behind the walls, most likely in the middle of the night. That noise is not that loud. If it is and you are camping, you'd probably wish it were just ants, but it is more likely to be a bear.
  • You see large (1 inch) ants with wings flying around in your house. Those are young ant queens or males trying to establish a colony.
  • You have ants inside your home even so it's cold outside and vegetation and critters are hibernating outdoors.
  • You see little piles of sawdust ('frass') in your home; these are remnants from the excavation activities of the ant, as they do not eat the wood.
  • Many different holes in a wood beam could be caused by carpenter bees or powder post beetles and require a different treatment

Many homes with carpenter ants also have a mold problem. Learn why here

Mold and Carpenter Ants - What you need to know
Did you know that many homes with carpenter ants also have a mold problem? Because the ants find water damaged wood attractive, as it makes their job of chewing the wood for nesting purposes easier. If the wood stayed damp long enough for the ants to be attracted, there is often mold growth in the building materials as well. Some molds affect human health detrimentally, esp. the black molds. learn more here...

Carpenter Ants at Work

Carpenter Ants are a beneficial insect species in nature. They become a problem when they build a nest in the house and can cause damage to a wood structure over time. They are not as destructive as termites as they excavate the wood for nesting purposes, but do not eat it. One indicator of a carpenter ant presence is "frass", little mounds of small wood particles somewhere in or around the house.

learn why pesticides are ineffective in the eradication of carpenter antsWhy Pesticides Don't Work

Carpenter ants are difficult to eradicate with pesticides. Only a small percentage is out foraging at any given time, they are strong and fairly intelligent and there can be lots of them. These ants are nocturnal and you will see more in the evening. Their activity depends a lot on temperature, so you see many during the hot summer and less during cooler weather.

Nocturnal Construction

If you hear a chewing, crackling noise in the middle of the night that might be the ants putting on the addition to their nest. They will not damage a house as quickly as termites, but can do substantial damage to a wood structure over a number of years. While you do not need to panic, you do not want to ignore them either. And probably can't. If the nest is in the house, they will not go away by themselves, unless it's a cottage and the structure freezes in the wintertime. In this case they usually cannot proliferate. It's not recommended to do this with a house as water pipes can burst and frost damage can happen. There are better ways of dealing with ants.

diagram: typical ant cycle from eggs to adult
A Nest Inside?

How do you know if you have a nest inside? If you see a lot of carpenter ants inside, chances are their nest is inside, too. If you see just one or two ants and outside it's snowing, then you have a nest, too. If you see big ants with wings flying around in your home chances are that they came from a nest inside the house. However, if you see just a few ants in your home during the summer, they might be just looking around for water.

Water Damage

Carpenter Ants need moisture to develop their young in a nest. There is always some initial water damage if carpenter ants move in. That damage can be minimal (like escaping steam from a dishwasher over years) or more extensive (like water backing up through the roof shingles). Watch out for mould build up if the moisture stays trapped and the building materials can't dry out. That can be a health danger to inhabitants. Once the ants have moved in, they will also use dry wood for their nesting needs.


Identifying Carpenter Ants | Signs of Carpenter Ant Infestation | Carpenter Ants at Work
Why Pesticide Don't Work | Nocturnal Construction | A Nest Inside? | Water Damage