Similar to the termite in behavior, the carpenter ant is a common pest which can damage your home. They are a distinctive species of ant, and with a little effort they can be controlled. Signs of carpenter ants include damaged wood which has been hollowed out for nesting. Carpenter ant nests are smoothed out—not muddy like damage from termites. Other signs of carpenter ants include piles of excavated sawdust and wood chips. These are evidence of a nest and are often speckled with insect parts. Carpenter ants nest in the humid parts of a home, such as behind tile in a bathroom. They hide from the elements so carpenter ants found in the home during winter are evidence of an indoor nest.
Damage to Home
Carpenter ants will do more damage to a home the longer they are left unchecked. If the structure they inhabit is already compromised, the ants become a greater threat and can seriously damage the structure. Professional help may be needed to eradicate inaccessible nests.
Locating and Terminating
Carpenter nests can be found by carefully following ants along their trail. Place a piece of tuna packed in water (not oil) in one of these paths and follow the walking piece of tuna back to the nest. This method works best in the spring and summer, between sunset and midnight. Use a red light instead of white light to follow the ants. Carpenter ants can also be located by sound. They make a slight noise when disturbed. Tap a suspected area and then listen carefully for slight rustling sound. Boric acid powder is effective in destroying a nest. If you find ants in a wall, you can drill small holes on either side, 3 to 6 feet away from the nest, and insert the powder. Spraying insecticide along paths is generally ineffective.