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Up close of black ants. Antworks serving Vancouver WA and Portland OR talks about damage ants can do to a home.Ants are tiny social insects known for their strength and ability to quickly swarm a food crumb. But did you know some ants can actually cause damage? It’s true! If left untreated an infestation can lead to big problems. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the damage ants can do to a home, and talk about the most destructive ant that lives right here in the Pacific Northwest–the carpenter ant!

The Problem with Ants

Although having a few ants in your home is a nuisance, you shouldn’t have to live with them! Many ants here in the Pacific Northwest like pavement ants and odorous house ants don’t pose health threats but they may infest your food and contaminate it with the waste they leave behind. The carpenter ant is of bigger concern.

What is a Carpenter Ant?

As far as ants go, the carpenter ant is the most destructive. They are larger than other ants. In fact, they’re the largest ant species in North America. A worker carpenter ant is about one-quarter of an inch while queen carpenter ants are about three-quarters of an inch–about the size of a quarter!

Although most carpenter ants are black, they can also be red, brown, or a combination of these colors.

The trouble with carpenter ants is that they build nests in wood, whether old stumps or wooden beams. Using their powerful jaws, they’ll excavate (not eat) wood to build networks of tunnels which over time can weaken the beams supporting your home. This kind of structural damage is expensive and preventable by following Integrated Pest Management techniques like eliminating standing water and sealing cracks.

How Do You Know if You Have an Ant Infestation?

  • You see ants in your home regularly
  • You see small piles of wood shavings (carpenter ants leave “frass” by the wood they excavate)
  • You discarded wings (all ant species may have “swarmers” which have wings. They typically fly out in spring with a mission to reproduce. Discarded wings is a sign of a mature infestation)
  • You hear sounds within your walls (ants commonly build tunnels within your wall voids, if you hear movement it’s likely an ant infestation)

Dealing with Ants?

Ants are often not easy to get rid of. Not only do you have to eliminate the ones within your walls, but you also have to locate their nest which can be as far as 700 feet away from your home. Remember, these tiny pests use pheromones to find their way back to the nest, so if you don’t eliminate all of the ants, they’ll just keep returning to your home.

It’s estimated that carpenter ants cause around $5 billion worth of damage every year! So if you believe you have carpenter ants or any other ant for that matter, you should act fast, contacting your local pest control company to quickly take care of your ant problem. Most pest control companies, like us ant Antworks, use IPM techniques that are safe, effective in the long-term, and only require very few products if necessary.