There are over 10,000 species of ants in the world, and a handful can be found inside your home. Fortunately, most of them do not cause any harm to people or damage to structures. However, carpenter ants are a notable exception. As their name implies, these ants have an affinity for wood, and if they find their way into your house, they can cause structural damage to the interior and exterior of your home.
What Does Damage From Carpenter Ants Look Like?
It's a common misconception, but carpenter ants don't actually eat wood. Rather, they excavate wood and form tunnels as they build their nests. Depending on the number of ants and their level of activity, damage can range from minimal to severe.
Carpenter ants can cause damage both indoors and outdoors.
Indoors, carpenter ant damage is commonly found around skylights, chimneys and sill plates, as well as in subflooring underneath bathtubs and other areas where plumbing exists . These are areas that generally provide the moisture that carpenter ants are attracted to. Signs of carpenter ant damage around these frames include tiny holes, bubbling or cracking.
Outdoors, carpenter ants tend to infest porch columns, firewood stacks, reclaimed wood, old wood laying around the outside of your home, tree stumps, trees that are dying and even fence posts.
Keep in mind, though, that it's not common to find visible carpenter ant damage, as it's usually hidden behind the surface, like behind a wall. If you do see a larger black ant in your home, it's important to take action immediately, as there may be a carpenter ant colony hiding and causing damage. You may also see frass, which are small wood shavings they leave behind as they tunnel through and excavate wood.
How Long Does It Take for Carpenter Ants to Cause Damage?
Similar to most termites, it can take a while for carpenter ants to cause any significant damage. However, the issue is that a carpenter ant colony is usually hidden, and so is their damage. So by the time the first instance of damage is noticed, or you start to see other signs of carpenter ants, significant damage to your home's wooden structure may already be done.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if there's a carpenter ant infestation in your home, then there's likely a moisture problem somewhere. So their presence could be a sign of a water leak or something else causing damage to your home.
Is Carpenter Ant Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
According to Allstate, homeowners insurance companies won't typically cover damage from termites or other pests, like carpenter ants. The only exception in which an insurance company might cover damage is if the pest chewed through a wire that then causes a fire.
How Do I Get Rid of Carpenter Ants?
If you have a carpenter ant infestation or are worried that you might, the pest control professionals at Terminix® can help. While some people may want to try DIY treatments to get rid of the carpenter ants, it's not recommended that you do.
The carpenter ant colony inside your home is likely just a satellite colony coming into your home from the main colony. There can actually be several satellite colonies inside your home. And the main colony could be outside, yards away from your house. Without treating the main colony and all of the satellite colonies, the problem will persist.
Our trained ant control professionals know how to identify and find carpenter ants, and they know how to effectively treat them when they find them. Contact us today to get started.