Carpenter Ants, 3 Signs that you have carpenter ants in your home

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Are you worried that you might have
carpenter ants in your home?

Let’s go through the top three warning signs that you might have carpenter ant issues. Carpenter ants can do much damage, and as summer approaches and the heat starts to rise, it can be a prime time for carpenter ant issues in your home. We’re going to cover some different warning signs of the top three warnings that you might have carpenter ants in your home.

Early Signs of Carpenter Ants

Contrary to popular belief, carpenter ants do not eat wood, but they do burrow through it to build their nests and shelter for themselves. The first warning sign that you have carpenter ants are areas of wood damage and what looks like sawdust piles around your home. These ants don’t eat wood as termites do, but they do tunnel through it.

Many structural areas can be target points for carpenter ants, areas like your deck, the interior walls of your home, trusses in your attic, and floor joists in your basement or crawlspace and wood furniture. Carpenter ants damage to wood can weaken it’s stable nature and strength so that structural components become potentially dangerous. Especially if they’re targeting things like staircases or decks that get a lot of foot traffic. The most significant warning sign is going to be weak or flakey wood that will crumble easily in your hands. You’re going to find little sawdust piles where the ant’s paths have made entry points to those spots.

Carpenter ant, Camponotus vagus

Close up of Black Carpenter Ant or Camponotus pennsylvanicus (winged male) on white background

The first tip to help keep carpenter ants away and reduce this activity is going to be eliminating their food, water, and shelter sources. Thankfully you’re not going to have to tear down your house or take out your deck.


With proper treatment, the goal is to get rid of the ant’s paths or trails, and this happens by treating the wood around the home. Have a pest control company treat the wood, so it’s harder for these pests “carpenter ants” to get in.


Seal your deck and outdoor furniture many stains put a coating on the wood surfaces that can help to keep these pests away outside.

You’re going to want to eliminate food sources

In your home these create feeding paths for the carpenter ants, they typically eat things that contain sugary substances, crumbs, unsealed pantry items, pet foods, you know the stuff that’s left out on counters, under stoves and protein sources. Properly sealing food containers will help a lot.

Eliminating water sources is helpful too. Fix those leaky faucets, garbage disposals or again don’t leaving standing water out all the time as we typically do for our pets. Cleanliness is next to godliness. All these tips can help reduce carpenter ant issues as well as other pest issues.

Very important way to keep carpenter ants from thriving in your home.

The next warning sign of carpenter ants in and around your home is that lot of dead tree branches on the ground and fallen trees. You might see trees that are sagging or leaning in weird directions. Leaning trees happen because the carpenter ants weaken the trees when they burrow out space to create their colonies. If you see these signs, you’re going to want to get a pest control treatment before they seek out space for their nests inside your house.

Carpenter Ants on a tree

Finding them around outside your home is a warning they may be in your home soon or already are. Winged ants are a significant sign of severe carpenter ant problems. If you are seeing them around, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have an infestation inside your home. The colony sends out scouts over great distances to search for food and water sources and new places to build an adjacent territory.

If you are seeing the ants kill them right away, it is essential to reach out to a pest control service. They should be able to find entry points and trails and cut them off, so your food and water sources are not worth the risk.

So if you see any of these warning signs: weak, brittle wood around your home, small sawdust piles around entry points, the deadfall of trees and branches, and seeing giant black ants, and flying black ants, consider getting this taken care of immediately.

Three Carpenter ants, Camponotus vagus, carrying an egg

Hopefully, you got some benefit or value out of the video and the contents of this post. I feel like this is our most significant source of severe damage caused by any pest in Portland and the Pacific Northwest.


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Burton Pest Control, Contact Us: 503-645-5556