7 Common Signs of Carpenter Ant Damage to Look for in Your Home

7 Common Signs of Carpenter Ant Damage to Look for in Your Home

It’s that time of the week again when you perform your household cleaning chores.

As you go around the house, you notice sawdust-like material littered around. However, you haven’t done any construction or woodwork, so you start wondering where they may be from. To make matters worse, the following week, you notice more piles of what looks like wood shavings near wooden structures in your home.

Those are signs of carpenter ant damage. And unless you get these invaders out, they will continue destroying your home.

To that end, we created this guide detailing common indications of carpenter ant infestation and the damage they cause. So read on, as the sooner you can spot these signs, the sooner you can take the necessary steps to control and remove these pests from your home.

1. Frass or Wood Shavings

Like termites, carpenter ants also produce frass or sawdust. However, carpenter ants don’t eat wood like termites; they only excavate it to create nests. They chew the wood and then push it out of the galleries and tunnels they make.

What Carpenter Ant Frass Looks Like

Because carpenter ants don’t eat wood, their frass often has more wood particles than termite frass. It’s also light-colored, whereas termite excrement is more tan or brown. Moreover, it typically contains dead insects and their body parts, soil, and gravel.

It’s also worth noting that, of the types of ants considered pests in the U.S., carpenter ants are the largest. So, when you see sawdust around your house, inspect it for giant black ants and shed body parts. If you see these, then you likely have a carpenter ant infestation.

Where You’ll Usually Find Carpenter Ant Frass

Carpenter ants often start making nests through water-damaged or decayed wood. The latter can occur indoors due to poor ventilation, roof leaks, and plumbing leaks.

You’ll often see the frass of carpenter ants under materials or structures with such damage. These include the following:

  • Windows and doors
  • Areas where wood parts meet your home’s foundation
  • Wooden wall materials and wall voids
  • Ceilings and attic beams

If you have trees outside your home, check if they have decaying parts. Carpenter ants love to make parent nests in these places. These may even be the first nests they’ve made before moving into your home.

2. Holes in the Surfaces Above the Frass

Once you spot sawdust, inspect the area right above it for holes. At first glance, the wood surface may appear undamaged, but if you tap it with enough force, it may cause any frass blocking the holes to “leak” out. Please ensure you’re wearing goggles and a face mask before doing this to prevent debris from getting into your eyes, nose, or mouth.

3. Hollow-Sounding Wood

Since wood isn’t a food source, carpenter ants can take years to cause significant damage to these materials. Their colonies are also relatively slow-growing, taking up to six years to mature.

However, once established, carpenter ants can expand their nests from decayed or water-damaged wood to sound wood. Over time, all their chewing and burrowing activities can cause these structures to become hollow.

You may notice such damage by walking on infested wooden floors; you’ll likely hear a characteristic hollow sound. You may also discover this if you tap walls covering plumbing pipes or those near windows. These areas are prone to water leaks and damage that attract carpenter ants in the first place.

4. Sloping Floors

Over the years, carpenter ants can cause severe damage to and weakening of structural wood. This can lead to your home’s framing and supports warping and becoming misshapen.

Warped and distorted framing and supports can impact floors and cause them to slope. They may also develop uneven areas, such as sagging or protruding portions.

Not only do those issues cost a lot to repair, but they can also result in trip and fall accidents. Indeed, floors and flooring materials are among the most common causes of fall injuries. In the U.S. alone, they directly contribute to two million fall injuries yearly.

Trips and falls can cause severe, even deadly injuries, which is why sloping, uneven floors should never have a place in your house. So, as soon as you notice these, look for and partner with the best local pest control service.

The sooner the pros can eliminate the infestation, the sooner you can stop wood-damaging pests from creating more hazards in your home.

5. Doors and Windows That Stick

Weakened support structures in your home can cause your doors and windows to stick. You may find it difficult to open, close, or lock them.

Please don’t ignore those symptoms, as unlocked doors and windows can compromise your home’s security.

So, have a pest control professional inspect your home and eliminate pests. After this, hire the appropriate contractors to fix your sticking doors and windows.

6. Sinking Ceilings

Once carpenter ants chew through enough support beams and studs, your ceilings may likely begin to sag. This damage may appear as wave- or balloon-like sections. They may also have discoloration, especially if the areas have moisture damage.

Sagging ceilings are dangerous because they can collapse. To prevent such a disaster, consider hiring pest control experts as soon as you notice the symptoms above.

Likewise, get a building contractor to assess your home’s foundation and structural integrity and make the necessary repairs.

7. Bulging Walls

Weakened support structures can result in warped walls and make them bulge. Like sagging ceilings, this may cause portions of your walls to develop waves or protrusions. Depending on how far along the infestation is, they may become hollow and sound “empty” when you tap them.

Never Ignore the Signs of Carpenter Ant Damage

From frass to holes in wooden structures, sloping floors, and bulging walls, these are all signs of carpenter ant damage.

So, as soon as you notice them, please contact a reputable local pest control company. With their expertise, they can track down and eliminate the pests and their nests and prevent them from wreaking more havoc on your home.

For more home upkeep and improvement guides like this, check out our other informative blog posts!

Mark Thompson, a seasoned pest controller, is renowned for his expertise in keeping homes and businesses free from unwanted intruders. With a passion for environmental sustainability and a deep understanding of pest behavior, Mark has become a trusted authority in the industry.