Carpenter ants are swarming! This picture was sent to me by a new client that saw these buzzing around her bathroom. Turns out they had a carpenter ant infestation and the swarmers (i.e. ants with wings) were coming out in their bathroom. Unfortunately carpenter ants are wood destroying insects so you don’t want to leave them alone for long or they’ll do a number on your property.
Swarming carpenter ants are capable of reproduction and each year take a coordinated flight in search of mates. We wrote extensively about this and other carpenter ant behaviors and biology in another post called “Have You Seen These Flying Ants?”. Read that post for further detail.
Of course the best way to determine if you have a carpenter ant infestation is by having a highly trained professional perform a thorough inspection. However, there are three main signs you can look for if you suspect carpenter ants. Remember, only the reproductive ants will have wings as you will often see many more without wings.
- Live Ants or Dead Ants
- Obviously if you can see them with your naked eye, then you can easily suspect a problem.
- Check our Pest ID page for some examples.
- Carpenter ants are very large, queens can be up to ¾ inch long.
- Sawdust or “Frass”
- Carpenter ants remove their waste, loose particles, and dead bodies out of openings to their nest (see picture to the right).
- Piles of bug parts and wood chips can be found in corners of rooms, windows, or baseboards.
- Moisture damaged wood or limbs touching your house
- Moisture damaged wood is an intoxicating lure for carpenter ants, this is the first place to look in many cases.
- Tree limbs and shrubs should all be trimmed back away from the house to prevent easy access to your home.
Anytime you have a source of high moisture around your home, it’s going to bring a variety of problems, not just pest problems alone. Carpenter ants are certainly one of the problems that follow moisture, but we haven’t even started talking about termites yet! It’s always a good idea to have your home inspected for wood destroying insects once a year by a pest management professional. It could end up saving you tons of money and heartache in the long run!