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Carpenter ants are destructive insects. When they get into a home or business, they can cause significant damage. Fortunately, that damage doesn't happen overnight. It takes time. Years, in fact. You have the opportunity to stop them when you catch them red-handed. Here are a few important warning signs carpenter ants might give you.

1. One Big Ant

Carpenter ants are nocturnal by nature. They aren't going to be crawling around in your yard, or all over your back deck, during the day—unless something has disturbed them. They're going to come out at night. Since you probably don't spend a lot of time out in your yard with a flashlight, you probably won't see them. But you might see a scout ant inside your home. This is a working ant searching for food and water sources. If you see one of these ants, you must be able to identify it.

Identification Of Carpenter Ant Workers

  • These are the largest ants that will get into your home. They are between 1/4 and 5/8 inches in length.

  • They are entirely black, or dark red and black.

  • They have three body parts, a head, thorax, and abdomen. Between the thorax and abdomen (at the waist) a worker will have one node.

2. Lots Of Big Ants

While carpenter ants can infest your home and never get into your kitchen or pantry food, when they do, you may have an opportunity to identify them. Use the identifications above, but also take note of whether or not the ants you're seeing vary in size. Carpenter ant workers are polymorphic. Within a carpenter ant colony, there can be workers of many sizes.

3. Frass

Frass is the sawdust and waste produced by carpenter ants. This material is pushed out of tiny holes. If you see frass in your home, you should contact a licensed pest professional and have your home inspected.

Where might you find frass?

  • On window sills.

  • Below window sills.

  • On the floor near baseboards.

  • On walls and floors in your basement.

  • Coming out of gaps, cracks, and holes.

  • Under exterior wood structures.

4. Wood Damage

Carpenter ants can visibly damage wood. It is important to do an annual inspection of your exterior and identify any changes you see. This will help you catch and correct an infestation before carpenter ants, or some other wood-destroying pests, eat you out of house and home.

  • Inspect door and window frames, especially near the ground where humidity and dampness will be greater.

  • Inspect visible sole plates.

  • Inspect exterior structures, such as decks, stairs, and fences.

  • Inspect exposed wood in your basement or cellar.

5. Big Winged Ants

If you see large ants with wings, take notice. Winged ants are reproductives. Their job is to make new nests. Here are a few things to consider about winged carpenter ants:

  • If you see several inside your home, you have an active and mature nest in your home.

  • If you see several on the outside of your home, you may have a nest in your home, or somewhere on your property.

  • If you see one or two-winged carpenter ants, you might be looking at an infestation that is about to happen.

What do winged carpenter ants look like?

Alates are much larger than workers. If workers in a nest tend to be about 1/2 inch long, the alates will be an inch. They are roughly twice the size of workers. As you can probably guess, you'll be able to easily see a winged carpenter ant if you're keeping an eye out for them.

6. Structural Changes

Over time, carpenter ants can do a real number on your home. If they have had the opportunity to secretly tunnel inside your home, you may begin to see structural changes, such as floors that start to sink. While water damage can also cause issues like this, wood-destroying pests and water damage go hand-in-hand. Whatever is causing the changes, it is important to find the cause.

What To Do When You See Carpenter Ants

If you live in our Frisco service area, contact All-Safe Pest & Termite. We specialize in wood-destroying insect control. We'll let you know what you're up against and give you the facts you need to protect your property. 

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