There are endless things that can damage our homes. It might be floods, storms, ice, or snow. While these are some of the common issues that most of us think of, there is another category of troublemakers that we often sideline: pests. Over the years, pests such as termites and carpenter ants have proven that they can cause devastating and invasive damage to our homes.
Unlike termites which feed on wood, Carpenter Ants don’t eat wood, but rather carve through wet or rotting wood to create nesting tunnels. It is these bad habits that make them one of the most pernicious pests in the world. Even seeing one or two of these large black ants is an indication there may be nesting inside your home. It’s important to recognize that it’s not the number that you see but the frequency you see them that indicates they are nesting in your home and causing damage.
How Dangerous are Carpenter Ants?
Carpenter Ants can be devastating, but not in the way most of us think. They might give you a painful bite, but only when you corner or disturb them. Actually, they boast powerful jaws for their size, so you should expect to feel some minor irritation and pain when they deep their mandibles into your fresh.
When inside your home, these pests can spoil your food and other items in your house. Since they don’t feed on wood, you should expect to find these creatures loitering around food items left uncovered or other edible things in the place.
However, structural damage is the most significant danger that Carpenter Ants pose. Their lives revolve around chewing wood to create tunnels used as pathways when finding food or nesting zones. Once they set shop on your property, they can weaken the wooden parts of the structures in your compound. If the issue is not addressed, it may even lead to the collapse of the said structures. Even if they don’t come crumbling down, once Carpenter Ants damage a particular part of your home, repairs and replacement may cost you hundreds of dollars.
4 Common Carpenter Ant Damage Areas
1. Door and Window Frames – Compromised Integrity
If the door and window frames in your property are often wet due to leakages or bad weather, they can make an excellent destination for Carpenter Ants. As usual, they will carve hollow tunnels through these pieces of wood, compromising their integrity. If not addressed, the pests can weaken the frames and make them easy to break.
Repairing and replacing these window and door frames is not cheap, so be on the lookout for these creatures. You don’t want to discover the pests when they’ve already caused more harm. Additionally, make sure you address the moisture source since it makes wood attractive to Carpenter Ants.
2. Destroys the Drywall – Moisture Attracts Carpenter Ants
If your home’s drywall is moist, it might be an ideal nesting place for Carpenter Ants. Professional Carpenter Ant exterminators reiterate that walls and attics insulated with fiberglass and other foam insulation may create a perfect shelter for these pests. However, if your walls have cellulose insulations, you might be lucky since their outer layer is coated with repellant chemicals that will ward off Carpenter Ants.
Although not often, Carpenter Ants are known to carve through the drywall which makes it weaker over time. If you suspect that your home may be infested with these pests, make sure that you also inspect the drywall.
3. Roof – Weakened Joists and Sheeting Damage
Carpenter Ants may also find homage in moist wooden roof parts such as trusses and rafters. If this happens, the regular hollowing by these black or red-brown ants may weaken these parts, compromising the roof’s integrity. And as we all know, roof repairs or replacements can be costly. If you discover that Carpenter Ants have made the wooden roof parts their home, you should move with speed to get the pest exterminated, inspect the roof for damages and make the necessary repairs and replacements.
4. Damages Hardwood Flooring
Carpenter Ants are also a severe threat to your hardwood flooring, especially if it is always moist or rotting. These stubborn, red-brown pests can make tunnels through wooden floors, thereby compromising its stability and integrity. And considering that we apply constant pressure on the flooring when walking around the house, hollowed hardwood floors can be hazardous.
If you observe fine wood shavings beneath the flooring or hollow spots on the wood floors, it might indicate that the area is infested. Since moisture is the number one attraction for Carpenter Ants, the first step should be to identify the moisture source. Then you should proceed and call a professional exterminator to help get rid of the pests from your house. Finally, it would help if you repaired or replaced the affected areas of your hardwood floor.
So, Between Carpenter Ants and Termites, Which One Causes More Damage?
Certainly, Carpenter Ants do not cause as much damage as termites. However, this does mean that the damage they cause is not substantial. If termites cause damages worth millions, Carpenter Ants will cause damages that will cost you hundreds and thousands of dollars.
There are a few reasons why termites cause more damage than Carpenter Ants. For starters, unlike termites that eat wood, Carpenter Ants only curve through the wood, leaving sawdust-like material known as “frass.” Therefore, while termites are secretive in their endeavors, the frass that Carpenter Ants leave behind makes it easy for homeowners to detect them before they cause severe damage.
Secondly, Carpenter Ants live inside the hollow tunnels they create inside wood parts. This is unlike termites, which live underground and come out when they want to eat wood voraciously. Carpenter Ants carve through wood with the sole purpose of creating pathways and nesting zones. Therefore, they are not focused on causing extensive damage by feeding on the wood-like termites.
Lastly, termites don’t enjoy being exposed to the air for a longer time. This is unlike Carpenter Ants that don’t have any limitations and can loiter all day long. As such, it’s easier for homeowners to spot Carpenter Ants than termites and take corrective action to minimize the damage.
There’s no doubt that Carpenter Ants are not as ruthless as termites. However, they can still cause significant damage that can compromise your home or property’s structural integrity. This may lead to expensive and unwarranted repairs and replacements.
Therefore, if you discover that your home is infested with Carpenter Ants, the most prudent action will be to call a professional exterminator to help you treat and exterminate them from your property before they cause any more damage.