A home is a big investment. It may often be part of your retirement plan, or you may want to pass it on to your children. With the soaring rates of property these days, people have become even more cautious about taking good care of their homes. While lots of things can wreak havoc in your home, the first thing you should be cautious of is carpenter ants.


Reading this, you might shrug and think that carpenter ants only attack rotting wood. However, we regret to inform you that they can move from softwood to hardwood in a very short amount of time when they infest.


Not only do these destructive pests weaken wall supports, but they can also cause heavy damage worth millions of dollars. Carpenter ants are hard to detect because they don’t chew the outer portion of your wood. Instead, you’ll find them deep inside your wood, barely coming to the surface. They can live there for years, and you wouldn’t know until it’s too late.


Every homeowner must know what carpenter ants are so that they can be detected instantly, and your home can be saved from further property damage. Here is a guide to help you recognize carpenter ants:


Identifying Carpenter Ants

Recognizing carpenter ants is super important. It may sound obvious but most people fail to distinguish these pests from common pests.


Carpenter ants are red, black, or a tinge of both. They are big, so make sure not to confuse them with ordinary ants. A distinguishing feature is that carpenter ants have two big antennas at the top of their heads. These look like inverted handlebars so they are hard to miss.


When in need of food, these big black-red ants tend to send one or two worker ants outside their nests in search of food. Hence, if you notice them crawling close to your house or inside your house, don’t simply ignore them. Realize that you have a big problem, and immediately contact a professional team to help guide you through the process of getting rid of them.

However, it is vital to note that if you see carpenter ants in your garden or several feet away from your house, don’t freak out. These ants feed on plant-damaging pests, so they actually protect your plants and garden.



Wood Shavings or Sawdust

As we mentioned before, carpenter ants chew the inner portion of your wood. However, it is important not to confuse them with termites.


When carpenter ants start to make their nests, they push the sawdust out as they crawl deeper into the wood. You can find the sawdust, also known as frass, underneath wooden areas such as baseboards, door jambs, garage spaces, window sills, and other isolated spots.


It is easy to miss frass as it appears in areas that might already be prone to dust. However, the sooner you notice, the lesser the damage to your house.



External Property Damage


It is important to note that termites are very different from carpenter ants. When termites build homes, the appearance of wood can seem somewhat gritty. However, the appearance of wood seems smooth when carpenter ants infest it.


Moreover, wood infested by carpenter ants may be uneven- you may notice dots or tiny dashes running through the wood irregularly, making it look splintered. Don’t confuse this for wood rot- carpenter ants cause structural damage, so this is them working their way into the intricacies of the wood.


Carpenter ants also normally feed in moist areas such as the base of doors close to the moist ground, railings in your garden that are exposed to water, wood decks that surround plant and flower beds, basement timbers, and other places that are sheltered, moist, and dark.



Appearance of Random Wings

Another sign of carpenter ants is the appearance of flying ants on your window panes- the inside or the outside. This means that there are carpenter ants somewhere on your property that you need to get rid of.


During the mating procedure, carpenter ants (the ones with wings) shed their wings. Homeowners might find a few shed wings on window sills, floors, or anywhere else on their property- this is alarming because mating equals more ants. Sometimes wings get stuck to spider webs so keep an eye out for those too.



Faint Noises

Now, if a few hundred carpenter ants are chewing out their home inside your wood, you’d be sure to hear them if you listen carefully.


When carpenter ants scrape out wood particles, there is a distinct rustling noise that can be heard if you shut off all the fans and air conditioners in the room. Don’t worry; you’re not overthinking this; the sound is real.


Moreover, if you notice long trails of big black-red ants going to and fro from your lawn, you have a problem. Please do not confuse these ants for termites; termites usually work in the dark as they cannot stand the light. In fact, they are very quickly dried out by the sun. Hence, pay close attention to ant trails. They make long trips to search for food and bring it back to their nests for their fellow workers.



Don’t Know What to Do?

There’s no denying that carpenter ants are scary- not literally, but the damage the way they can vandalize your property might end up costing you a lot more.


If left untreated, these ants can weaken frames and structures within your home. Doors or windows that get stuck, floors that look uneven, ceilings that seem to be sinking, and walls that show signs of apparent bulging are all signs of carpenter ants’ infestation.


To prevent further damage, get in touch with a pest control and extermination service as soon as possible. Our team at Ants Plus understands how urgent a pest invasion is and we do our best to solve the problem in a timely fashion. We are able to provide quick service in the greater Lewiston Auburn and Central Maine area. Don’t feel helpless or upset! Contact us today; we are here to help you. Not sure if we serve your area, give us a call anyway!