Carpenter Ant Damage

Author: Kurt Treftz, Cascade Pest Control

Carpenter Ants and the Damage They Cause

Carpenter ants are major wood destroying insects in the Pacific Northwest.  Greater Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Everett, and Bellingham are all built upon the sites of ancient forests where carpenter ants helped return dead wood to soil for millennia.

Carpenter ants destroy wood as they tunnel, using their strong mandibles (serrated jaws) to create tunnels in which they nest.  Carpenter ants do not eat or digest wood, but only tear it off, bite by bite, and discard the sawdust like “frass” often outside in piles.  Unfortunately, much of this carpenter ant frass (wood bits) is deposited within wall voids within homes so it is seldom noticed.

Carpenter Ant Damage – can be undetected for years!

Carpenter ant damage can be costly sometimes damaging major structural timbers or wood framing of homes and other structures.  Carpenter ants can also tunnel into various forms of insulation, cedar siding and roofing, and also landscape timbers.  Damage is slow occurring over a number of years, however, because carpenter ant presence is often undetected it presents as a surprise quite often.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Getting rid of carpenter ants may be tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing. Carpenter ant activity is most obvious when the ants trail from the house (or other structure) to forage on the grounds or up into trees where they both eat smaller insects and tend aphids which provide them a “sugary water substance” called ‘honey dew.’

Spraying ants outside without proper training will only disrupt their trails and not eliminate the nests which are slowly destroying the home.  Also, some homeowners notice carpenter ants in the kitchen in early spring, spray, and when they no longer show up in the kitchen (or other interior location) the homeowner erroneously thinks they are gone…they are not, they simply are repelled by the bug spray.

A carpenter ant colony nesting in a home structure can have a number of separate nest sites and the worker ants travel back and forth between them.  They often carry their young–carpenter ant larvae–between nests.

Most of the time the main nest site for the colony is outside in a stump or log as they can travel up to 300 feet between their various nest sites!  This also means that two adjacent homes in a neighborhood may both be harboring carpenter ants from the same colony!

Professional Carpenter Ant Control – to the rescue!

Professional carpenter ant control consists of an initial treatment and ongoing periodic services designed to both slowly eradicate remaining ants nesting within the structure and prevent re-infestation from what has always existed around us—carpenter ants.

For professional carpenter ant control in the Seattle, Puget Sound, Pacific Northwest regions, call us today for a quote!

Western Washington 1-888-989-8979   


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