How Much Damage Can Carpenter Ants Do to Your House? (Top 9 Prevention Tips Explained}

Will carpenter ants destroy your property? How Much Damage Can Carpenter Ants Do to Your House?

Do you see wood shavings or rotting wood? Are you wondering why there are ants crawling in and out of wooden posts or walls?

In this article, we’ll find out how much damage carpenter ants do to your house.

How Much Damage Can Carpenter Ants Do to Your House?

Carpenter ants can do a lot of damage when they begin to feed on softwood and timber.  Rotting or moist wood invites carpenter ants in or out of the house.

Carpenter ants can cause support beams to weaken or warp. The damage that a carpenter ant can do is similar to that of a termite. Do not ignore the signs of carpenter ant damage.

What Are Some Signs of Carpenter Ant Damage?

Carpenter ants cause the most damage from all ant species that infest our properties. You can notice the darker colored ants who dig into wood to build their nests.

If the nest goes unnoticed for a long time, you will be faced with heavy structural damage to support beams or other wooded areas of your home.

Look for the following signs that carpenter ants may have infested the area:

  • Sightings of black carpenter ants with a single node between their abdomen and thorax
  • Black ants crawling out of holes or crevices
  • Rustling noises in between your walls
  • Wood shavings

The sooner you detect any possible signs that carpenter ants are invading walls, wood, support beams and the overall framing of your home, the faster you will be able to eliminate the infestation.

Are Carpenter Ants Dangerous?

Carpenter ants can bite humans and they are also known to be cannibalistic in nature. In order to preserve their colony, they will feast on each other to stay alive when food is scarce.

Carpenter ants are extremely dangerous but not in the traditional way you might be thinking. The real danger comes when carpenter ants begin to damage your home.

This danger may not only affect the structural integrity of your property, it will cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair fees. Carpenter ants enjoy chewing on wood that is soft and moist.

Where Do Carpenter Ants Like To Build Nests?

Carpenter ants like to build nests in holes or crevices in wood. They prefer soft wood or timber that is either rotting or moist. The softer the wood, the easier it will be for carpenter ants to dig into it to build their nests.

They can create extensive tunnels through the wood as well. Your aim is to notice any wood shavings, loose wood or carpenter ant “frass” that is created when they begin tunneling through the wood.

It may look like they are carving with a knife through the wood.

Look in the following areas where there may have been damage due to flooding or excessive exposure of water:

  • the bottom of fence posts
  • support beams on your deck or patio
  • the edges of flower beds
  • building foundation
  • sheds
  • banisters
  • any area exposed to water
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What do Carpenter Ants Look Like?

Carpenter ants are between half an inch to a full inch in length. They are black or dark red in color. Look for only one node between their thorax and abdomen.

Carpenter ants are known for being cannibals. Most species of ants would not resort to consuming each other, but carpenter ants will be ruthless in order to carry on with our goal of finding rotting wood to dig and build nests.

How Do I Prevent Carpenter Ants?

Prevention is always easier than treatment. It is also less expensive. Your aim is to control the moisture in your property and all around your surrounding yard space.

  1. Fix or replace leaky gutters.
  2. Replace leaky hoses or spigots.
  3. Allow rainwater to flow away from your foundation walls and fencing.
  4. Loosen soil to let moisture sink into the ground.
  5. Trim bushes and trees to allow for more drying sunlight and to reduce shade.
  6. Remove food sources such as seeds from your yard.
  7. Use stone instead of wood for borders of flower beds.
  8. Do not keep wood piled up near your property.
  9. Used crushed stone around your foundation.

Not all of these prevention tips need to be applied at the same time, but it’s best to be safe and prepared instead of resorting to treatment options after carpenter ants have already invaded.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants?

The fastest way to get rid of carpenter ants that have invaded your property is to get a professional over to determine the extent of damage they may have caused already. Insecticides or even a soapy water solution such as a window cleaner could kill carpenter ants on contact.

You can also use vinegar mixed with baking soda. Make sure to wipe away the long trails that carpenter tend to walk on. Carpenter ants could be hiding inside tunnels they have built through the wood in and around your house.

With many other ant species, we would recommend DIY solutions, but when it comes to carpenter ants, getting a licensed professional to assist you might be the best option.

It might get expensive, but when you are worried about the structural integrity of your home, it might be worth investing a little more money to make sure that they are completely exterminated.


Carpenter ants are easier to spot than termites. The latter hide well within the wood and do not wish to come out due to a quick death when exposed to air.

Carpenter ants will roam in and out of their nests they have dug deeper into the wood on your property. These ants don’t eat wood. They are merely responding to the opportunity you have given them when they discover soft, moist or rotting wood to invade.

Switch to stone for outdoor fencing or bordering. Lay some crushed stone around your foundation walls and keep firewood at least 20 feet away from your home.


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