Three Ways To Identify Carpenter Ants

2 October 2015
 Categories: , Blog


It is important to be able to identify carpenter ants because when they infest your home, they can be confused with termites, and the latter is a worse problem for a homeowner. Carpenter ants can do damage to your home over a long period of time, but nothing like that seen with termites. In addition, in cases where you can find their nest, you can often be successful at eliminating these ants. Termites, on the other hand, if left alone can destroy a house and always need the attention of a professional pest control company to eliminate the infestation. The following are three ways to distinguish a carpenter ant problem from a termite problem.

Spotting dust piles

Most people are aware that termites eat wood, but carpenter ants do not. They feed on meat and sweet, sugary substances. When they infest your home, they do so by setting up a nest inside an area of wood. Because they are not eating the wood, they will burrow into the wood and extract it. This results in a small pile of wood dust. Seeing this wood dust is a classic sign of carpenter ants.

The movement of the carpenter ant

You may never see a termite, but because carpenter ants are not eating wood, they can often be seen crawling on the outside of a piece of wood. Like other types of ants, they will move in a single file on trails carrying the scent of other ants. When you see these ants, they are not likely to be confused with other species of ants. They can be anywhere from a third of an inch to as large as an inch. Visually, they are black or a dark brown in color.

Flying carpenter ants don't shed their wings

Both carpenter ants and termites have a subgroup within their population that have wings. These insects can be seen during the mating cycle, but there is a big difference: carpenter ants do not shed their wings. When you spot small insect wings near a wooden area such as a window or door frame, you need to call a pest control company to inspect for termites. Carpenter ants do not lose their wings.

If you have determined that your issue is with carpenter ants, then you may be able to handle the issue yourself. There is usually a nest; this is where most of the ants can be found, so if you can locate the nest, you may be able to eliminate the ants with off-the-shelf products at your local hardware store. However, if you have a persistent problem or cannot find the nest, don't hesitate to call a professional pest control company for ant control.