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Signs Of Carpenter Ants In Your Home

carpenter chewing on wood

Carpenter Ants rank among the most industrious insects globally. These creatures help the ecosystem by facilitating the decomposition of deadwood. However, when they decide to seek refuge in your home, they can be a real nightmare. It’s important to know the signs of Carpenter Ants in your house. They are a nuisance and a destructive species that can significantly damage your home.

And although they may not cause as much damage as termites, Carpenter Ants still cause considerable wood destruction that may jeopardize the integrity of your structures. Therefore, these creatures’ presence in your compound is not something that should be taken lightly.

As a homeowner, you need to know what signs may indicate the presence of Carpenter Ants in your home. But before we delve into identifying Carpenter Ant infestation signs, let’s try to understand these creatures.

What Do Carpenter Ants Look Like?

A Carpenter Ant can be differentiated from the rest of the ant species by its color and size. Carpenter Ants are the largest ants measuring about 0.25 to 0.5 inches in length. These ants can be black and brown or combine the two colors. If you come across an insect that looks like this, it might be a carpenter ant.

To be sure if a pest is indeed a Carpenter Ant, you need to take a closer look to be sure. Check to see if the ant has a heart-shaped head. Carpenter Ants have a massive and round head pointed at the mouth region. And since Carpenter Ants are often confused with termites, there are few features that you can use to differentiate them. For starters, you should look at their waists. Ants have a thin waist while termites don’t.

You can also inspect their antennas. Carpenter Ants boast bent antennae while termites’ antennas are straight. Now that you know what these pests look like, you can go ahead and look for signs that may indicate their presence in your home.

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5 Signs of Carpenter Ants In Your House

Carpenter Ants are attracted to dry wood that has come into contact with excess moisture. Therefore, when inspecting for their infestation, check for these signs.

1. Big Black Ants Wondering Around Your Property

Since carpenter ants don’t feed on wood, you’ll likely see them lining up and walking straight into your house to look for food. Often, their convoy heads straight into the kitchen or any place to find food and water. It might seem like the ants are eating wood when they are carving through the wood, but they are just creating tunnels that they use as their nests.

Carpenter Ant colonies are active 12 months out of the year. In fact, the majority of the Carpenter Ant Queens egg laying occurs during the first three months of the year in New York State carpenter ant colonies. This means the workers are up for a big workload to find food and moisture when the spring weather comes.

The most common Carpenter Ants are mostly black. However, brown and red ants also exist. At times, you might even spot winged Carpenter Ants flying around your property. This is a common phenomenon in spring and summer, which is the time when they scour new surroundings looking for new nesting sites. Cornell Cooperative Studies, located in Ithaca, NY, says that winged Carpenter Ants (swarmers) will only develop in mature colonies. These swarming ants tell us that there are anywhere from 5,000 to 25,000 ants in your home. It takes at least 3-5 years for a Carpenter Ant colony to mature and develop winged reproductive stages.

2. Check For “Frass,” A Sawdust-like Material

Carpenter Ants make pathways by carving through deadwood. They leave a sawdust-like substance called “frass during this process.” If you always find trails of sawdust every day before you sweep the floor, this might indicate an infestation. You can also check out tracks of sawdust-like material in the basement, near the foundation, and along the outside walls.

3. Listen for Rustling Sounds from the Walls

Carpenter Ants chewed through this wood
Structural Wood Damage From New York Carpenter Ants

When there’s a heavy infestation, you may start hearing faint sounds emanating from the walls. If you listen closely and hear rustling sounds, it might indicate that you have a whole colony nearby. The sounds are usually due to the commotion when the Carpenter Ants are moving around or eating the wood to make tunnels. Many homeowners describe the sound of crinkling foil in the walls.

4. Wood Damages

When piles of frass and rustling sounds become a norm, you need to start inspecting your house for damaged wood. Look for small circular and rectangular holes that delve deep into the wood. Their presence is an indication that carpenter ants have severely damaged the wood around your house.

5. Inspect Damp Areas

If you have been seeing carpenter ants around your home but haven’t figured out where they are hiding, you should check damp areas in your house. Carpenter Ants love wet wood since it is easy to eat through it. So, it is common to find them in moisture-prone areas. Inspect the wood near your kitchen and bathroom or any other place that has experienced leakages in the past. You can also find moisture around windows or door framing, as this is a favorite and convenient spot for carpenter ants to nest.

What Are the Dangers of Finding Signs Of Carpenter Ants In Your House?

Structural Damage

The most significant danger that Carpenter Ants can bring to your space is structural damage. These invasive creatures’ lives revolve around making tunnels through soft and moist wood. When the ants eat through the wood in your house, they make it weaker, thereby lowering its resale value. And if you don’t act immediately, they can continue impacting your home’s structural integrity to a point where the structure can come crumbling down.


Another danger of having ants in your home is that they can cause a lot of disturbance. Nobody likes to wake up and find Carpenter Ants around the kitchen window or walls. The creatures can also dirty your space with frass, thereby adding to your cleaning problem.


While Carpenter Ants are not a health hazard, they can inflict pain if they bite you. When you gaze at them from a distance, you’ll discover that they have very powerful mandibles and jaws for their size. Their bites may be painful and may result in some minor irritation.

What Do you Do Once you Find Signs of Carpenter Ants In A House?

Once you’re sure that Carpenter Ants are in your home, the best thing to do is call a professional. Usually, ants are hard to get rid of by yourself. Only a trained and experienced pest control specialist can help you address the issue once and for all. Don’t let your largest investment lose its value due to these small pests. Call a professional carpenter ant pest control company today, and let the experts help you exterminate these intrusive creatures from your home.

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