Carpenter ants are surprisingly misunderstood insects. Many people don't consider carpenter ants to be a real threat. When a black ant appears every once in a while, they squish it and throw it in the trash. When swarmers appear on the exterior and interior window panes, they suck them up with the vacuum and shrug it off. But this is a pest problem you should never shrug off. When left untreated, carpenter ants can do as much damage to a home as subterranean termites. Here are some of the ways they can do damage. But, more importantly, what you need to know to protect your property.
Soft Wood Damage
The first way carpenter ants are going to damage your home is by chewing on any wood that has been softened by water or moisture. These ants prefer rotting wood. But, it is important to understand that other bugs and wildlife do this as well. If you have broken gutters that are allowing water to run down your siding and get into the cracks, you are inviting more than carpenter ants in near the perimeter of your home. But, carpenter ants are one of the most destructive of all the creatures that will come to nibble on rotting wood. And they will quickly turn a bad condition into something far worse.
If you have shaded areas around your home, where it is hard for the sun to dry things out after it rains, exterior damage can occur, especially if you have sections where the wood of your home is touching the soil. In these locations, it is sometimes possible to see exterior damage caused by carpenter ants. This can also occur if you have wood products near your foundation. Stacked firewood, construction materials, mulch, and other wood items are an incentive for these insects to come in close.
Most of the time, you're not going to see the damage that carpenter ants do because they do it on the inside of the wood. They chew galleries for their nests and tunneling for their workers. This damage usually begins in rotted areas but can proceed further. Carpenter ants are not limited to only chewing on rotting wood. And, when they feed almost entirely on the interior of the wood, it can be tough to detect them. The sawdust they kick out, called frass, can be pushed into many areas where it can be overlooked, such as crawl spaces under a home, behind woodpiles, in carpentry areas, in secluded basement locations, and more.
As carpenter ants do their work, it often leads to weakened support beams and studs. This can cause large structures to warp, like a porch, a deck, an exterior stairwell, etc. This will lead to bulging walls, sinking ceilings, dipping floors, and more. When this occurs, it can be challenging to fix the damage without completely replacing sections of your home.
Door And Window Frames
When a structure begins to warp and sink, it can cause doors and windows to stick or open and close freely. While this can also occur when a home settles over time, it is much more pronounced when it is the result of carpenter ant damage, mostly due to how quickly it can happen in the life of a home. No one expects to have a sticking window if their home is under 10 years of age.
What Carpenter Ants Don't Usually Damage
Many ants, and other pests, get into food storage and damage packaging. While it is certainly possible to have carpenter ants do this, it is much more likely that this type of ant will find its food sources outside of your home. This is something to keep in mind. If you only see one or two ants now and again, the frequency and size of these sightings are in no way a representation of how large your infestation is.
When carpenter ants start to appear, it is essential to have your problem looked at by a professional pest control technician. Your technician will give you actionable data that will help you address the damage being done by those ants, guide you in what measures are needed to arrest the infestation and help you assess any issues caused by water and moisture.
If you're in our New York service area, reach out to Parkway Pest services. We have the tools, education, and experience to help you protect your investment.