Damage Under The Surface: Carpenter Ants

4 Minutes

Why Seeing “Big Black Ants” In Your Home Could Be More Than Just An Inconvenience.

“I keep seeing these big black ants around my house, they’re usually in the kitchen and sometimes even in the bathrooms, what are they and how do I get rid of them?”

We get this question a lot, and almost always the answer is the same, Carpenter ants. These are one of the most common types of ant found in Pennsylvania, in fact they are so prevalent here that the scientific classification for the species is Camponotus Pennsylvanicus. They’re also one of the most difficult to control.

Carpenter ants vary in size and can be anywhere from ½” to ⅝” long. While the black ones are most common, these pests may be a combination of black and red, or completely black, red or brown. They get their name from their nest building, where they will excavate the wood and form smooth tunnels inside the wood.

Carpenter ants actually don’t eat wood, they only tunnel and chew through it to create nests. An average colony can range between 10,000 and 20,000 ants with large well established colonies being over 50,000 ants!

Since they’re not consuming the wood, just simply burrowing through it and living inside it, they can potentially do more damage in a shorter amount of time. In some cases they can even cause more damage than Subterranean Termites.  If you’ve dealt with them already you are well aware of the havoc they can cause, and if you haven’t, you never want to. And you won’t — not if we can help it!

How do I know if I have Carpenter Ants?

If you’re seeing ants in your home like we described above, chances are they are carpenter ants. Seeing a few around is a sure sign that there is a much bigger problem lurking behind your walls. Typically you will find them in areas with high moisture like kitchens and bathrooms. They will also be attracted to food that is easily accessible.  Carpenter ants are nocturnal, so it’s not uncommon to only see a couple during the daylight hours, don’t dismiss them just because you only see two or three a day.

Believe it or not, you can actually hear them working inside your walls. Think of that breakfast cereal that goes Snap, Crackle and Pop… if you’re hearing that inside your walls you’ll want to give us a call as soon as possible.  As carpenter ants burrow through the structure of your home you can actually hear them at work, this can be heard more prominently at night.

You also might be noticing a few things that are unexplainable, such as small piles of sawdust or holes in the surface of wood.

At worst, you will see significant damage to the wood of your home. Interior or exterior wood could collapse, become soft. This is why early detection is so important in any type of home pest infestation.

Pay special attention to areas where you have had moisture issues or water leaks. While carpenter ants do not like wet wood, they love wood that’s been damaged by water. It is easier for them to burrow through as well as provides a higher moisture level for them to thrive off of.  Roof leaks, areas that once had a broken water pipe, bathroom floors around the tub and toilet as well as kitchen floors under the sink and dishwasher are all prime areas for carpenter ants to find water damaged wood to make their home.

How do I get rid of Carpenter Ants?

Oftentimes, it will be difficult or impossible to locate and destroy the nest(s). In this case, the homeowner may wish to call a professional pest control operator, like Procor Pest Control.  If an infestation is suspected, we can assess the situation for no cost and give recommendations and a price to eliminate the carpenter ants from your home. We will also point out things that you can do to help reduce the chances of being re-infested in the future.


Call us today for a no cost and no obligation quote or inspection for carpenter ants or any other pest concern you may have.