How to Spot and Prevent Carpenter Ant Damage

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ants cause extensive damage to homes and other wooden structures by burrowing into wood to build their nests. Over time, this tunneling compromises the structural integrity, leading to costly repairs.

Here’s how you can identify carpenter ant damage, as well as the consequences of leaving it unchecked, and how to prevent such destruction from happening again.

Recognizing the Signs

It is crucial that homeowners and property managers know how to identify the signs of carpenter ant damage. There are a few common indicators to watch for, including:

  • Piles of sawdust or wood shavings. If carpenter ants are constructing nests in your home, you’ll likely notice piles of frass, a fine sawdust-like material, near baseboards or wooden structures. That’s a telltale sign you’re dealing with an infestation.
  • Discarded wings. Carpenter ants swarm in the spring, and they shed their wings after mating. If you find piles of discarded wings, that’s a good indication there’s a nest somewhere close by.  
  • Hollow or damaged wood. When you knock on wooden surfaces, do you hear a dull, empty sound? That could mean the wood has been hollowed out by carpenter ants. Look for cracks, holes, or smooth tunnels in beams, door frames, and window frames to be sure. 
  • Rustling sounds. Carpenter ants are nocturnal, so if you’re dealing with an infestation in your home, you might hear faint rustling or scratching sounds from within the walls. 
  • Moisture damage. Carpenter ants look for damp or decaying wood, so keep an eye out for any signs of water damage in your structure. Discoloration, softening of wooden surfaces, or warping create ideal conditions for an infestation.

Extent of Carpenter Ant Damage

It can take carpenter ants many years to cause significant structural damage—but that absolutely does not mean you should ignore signs that they’re around. A mature colony may contain thousands of ants, and their tunneling activities can weaken beams and walls to such a degree that the structure could eventually collapse. 

Keep in mind that, in certain cases, damage might not be immediately visible. That’s why it’s so important to check your attic, sheds, and other concealed spaces on a regular basis. 

Preventing Carpenter Ant Damage

It is much easier to invest in preventing damage from carpenter ants than it is to deal with the consequences of an unchecked infestation. Here are a few things you can do today to deter these pests:

  • Eliminate moisture sources. Don’t wait to fix leaks, improve ventilation, or ensure proper draining. Remove anything that causes the kind of moisture that’ll attract carpenter ants.
  • Maintain proper landscaping. Remove any decaying wood—think old stumps or logs—from around your home, and trim trees and bushes to prevent any of the branches from touching the structure. 
  • Seal entry points. Caulk is your friend! Seal any crevices around in the foundation, and around windows and doors to prevent carpenter ants (and other pests) from getting into your house.
  • Conduct regular inspections. Just keep an eye on things. You know what your home is supposed to look like, so pay close attention to any areas prone to moisture and wood damage.  

Speak to the carpenter ant experts in Upstate New York and Vermont

For additional guidance on how to prevent carpenter ant damage, contact Nature’s Way Pest Control and get a free inspection by a professional exterminator. Please call (518) 471-2219 for services in Albany, Glens Falls, Saratoga, or as far north as Plattsburgh, NY. For experts in Rutland, Burlington, and western Vermont, call (802) 230-1112