What Does Carpenter Ant Damage Look Like?

a carpenter ant crawling on a leaf in jackson mississippi

First Of All, Are These Large Ants Really Carpenters?

According Mr. Noah Webster, the definition of a carpenter is an artificer who works in timber; a framer and builder of houses, and of ships.  Considering that, I think we can all agree that carpenter ants are not skilled craftsman that are focused on construction of structures but rather the deconstruction. 

These large red, brown or black ants love wood that has been damaged, is rotting or dead.  When they find it, they start excavating in order to create tunnels and nesting galleries.  These efforts lead to damage. Damage that could result in hefty repair bills for unsuspecting property owners.

The best way to prevent carpenter ants from damaging your home is to know what these ants are capable of and what carpenter ant damage looks like.  Read on to learn more.

Visual Characteristics of Carpenter Ant Damage

Wood that has been damaged by carpenter ants is not often visible.  That’s because carpenter ants tunnel within the wood and not on the surface.  Carpenter ant damage occurs when these pests are creating galleries.  Damage is typically smooth looking, almost like sandpaper was used and does not contain mud-like material as termite infested wood does. 

Unlike termites, carpenter ants don't eat wood. They tunnel through it and push the sawdust out of tiny kick out holes. This production of sawdust is why they're called carpenter ants. If you see sawdust stuck to the wood or piled up underneath the area of damage, you can rule termites out. Termites don't produce sawdust

Signs of Carpenter Ants

Though not a sign of carpenter ant damage, seeing carpenter ants foraging in or around your home is a possible sign that they are active and damaging your home.  As previously mentioned, carpenter ants do not consume wood so they still have to forage food. 

Outdoors, carpenter ants feed on living and dead insects as well as honey dew, the sweet liquid that aphids and scale insects produce. 

Inside homes, carpenter ants enjoy a diet of meats and sweets as pet food.

Another clue that carpenter ants may be on your property or in your home are discovering flying ants.  The reproductive members of carpenter ant colonies, their job is to find and mate for the purpose of establishing a new colony.  If winged carpenter ants are on your property, it’s likely that a carpenter ant nest is nearby. If you discover flying ants inside your home, then the possibility of an active carpenter ant infestation is very high.

What You Should Do If You Discover Carpenter Ants On Your Property

If you’re concerned about carpenter ant activity in or around your home, contact Havard Pest Control. 

Offering comprehensive pest control services in Hattiesburg, Gulfport, and throughout Mississippi as well as parts of Alabama and Louisiana including Mobile and NOLA respectively, our team is ready to identify and eliminate carpenter ants that are threatening your property.


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