There are several ways you can detect a carpenter ant problem. Some are very helpful to know. Others are going to do very little to help you protect your property. It is important to know them all.

carpenter ant on a rock
carpenter ant frass

1. Winged Ants

This is probably the worst warning sign, especially if you see winged ants on the interior of your home. Winged carpenter ants aren't a species of carpenter ant. They are a type of ant created in a carpenter ant nest. The purpose of winged ants is to leave the nest, mate with each other, and establish new nests. If you see these insects on the interior of your Mooresville home, it means you have a mature nest in your home. It can be several years before winged ants are created inside a nest. The queen will not begin producing these female and male, winged reproductives until her nest has reached its maximum population. That means carpenter ants have been damaging your property for some time.

Is it bad to see winged carpenter ants on the outside of a home? Usually it is. Winged ants are more likely to emerge outside of a nest because they're drawn to the sunlight. It is much brighter on the outside of your home. That's why you'll see them crawling on your interior window panes when they emerge inside. When they emerge outside of a nest that is on the inside of your home, they may crawl around on your exterior during the mating process. Once they mate, the swarm will disperse and the couples will look for appropriate areas to nest. This is why two ants (not hundreds) are a warning sign of an impending infestation.

We don't recommend waiting to see winged ants as a warning sign. Not only will this allow these ants to damage your home for years, it is quite likely that you'll miss this warning sign altogether. Carpenter ants don't swarm for more than about thirty minutes. They can appear and disappear in the time it takes you to make a grocery run.

2. Frass

You are probably aware that carpenter ants don't eat wood. They shave wood with their mandibles. The sawdust created is pushed out of tunnels along with ant droppings and the body parts of dead ants. This material is called frass. The appearance of frass is a helpful and important warning sign. But there are a few things to consider.

  • Frass can be pushed out inside wall voids or in secluded locations such as attic spaces, basements, cellars, crawlspaces, and underneath exterior structures.

  • Frass can be pushed into workrooms where woodworking is done, and may blend in with sawdust.

  • Frass can be pushed out around woodpiles and be hidden in plain view.

3. Wood Damage

Carpenter ants can damage the wood of your home. They often target door and window frames because these can be high in moisture or humidity. If you see pest damage, you should have your property inspected and assessed by a licensed pest management professional to determine which pest is doing the damage. Most of the damage caused by carpenter ants will be hidden. You'll need to inspect:

  • Dark, shaded areas around your home.

  • Any crawlspace under your home.

  • Voids under your deck, porch, stairs and exterior structures.

  • The base of fence posts and wooden supports on structures.

  • Wooden pallets, crates, and other objects in your yard that are made of wood.

  • The sole plates on your home. These are the horizontal wooden members just above your foundation wall.

4. Carpenter Ant Workers

If you walk into your kitchen and see big black ants walking lock-and-step to and from your pet's food dish, there is a good chance your home is infested with carpenter ants. You may also find them:

  • In your pantry.

  • In your food cabinets.

  • In food-storage rooms.

  • In the cabinet under your sink.

  • In your kitchen.

What To Do When You Detect Carpenter Ants

At the first sign of carpenter ant activity, contact Lake Norman Pest Control. These ants can be very difficult to control, and if you fail to get control of them, your property can continue to be damaged. Our licensed pest management professionals know how to target carpenter ant colonies and monitor to make sure that no ants remain. Reach out to us today to schedule service in Mooresville.


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