Wildwoods Pest Control is dedicated to making sure your home is pest free. Carpenter ants can cause a significant amount of damage to the wood in your house. Many will see an ant and not think it is a big deal, but if you see one ant, there are many more that are unseen. This is because Carpenter Ants typically have many different colony sites making them especially hard to get rid of.
Dr. Potter said the most common type of carpenter ant in the Northeast — Camponotus pennsylvanicus — is one-quarter to one-half inch long and “blackish.” Occasionally, he said, swarms of winged carpenter ants will emerge inside in the spring — an almost certain sign that there is a nest in the house.
It is also possible, Dr. Potter said, that homeowners will see a small number of ants wandering around the home — usually in the kitchen or bathroom — and that the nest is outside the house and the ants are foraging inside for food.
Unlike termites, which live in the ground but eat wood voraciously and can do considerable damage, carpenter ants prefer to establish their nests in hollow areas and inside moist wood. Rather than cause damage by eating the wood, they excavate it to create smooth-walled, hollowed-out galleries.
The excavation process results in a telltale sign that a carpenter ant nest is nearby. “Shredded fragments of wood are ejected from the galleries by the ants,” Dr. Potter said. Sawdustlike piles of wood intermingled with dead ants and other insect parts often point to a nest just above.
But if the nest is inside a wall, the sawdust pile is not going to be noticeable. Moreover, carpenter ants typically have several nests: a parent colony that contains the egg-laying queen and worker ants, and satellite colonies with workers and babies.
“The parent colony is usually outside, inside a rotting tree stump, broken limb or wood pile,” Dr. Potter said. “But there could be one or more satellite colonies inside the house.”