One by one, or 600 by 600. No matter how many ants you may see around your home, it's good to know what kind of ant may be plaguing you. These industrious little creatures are found all around the world, except maybe Antarctica, in every size and color. In Indiana alone, there are 136 types of ant species! Yikes! The species we are most concerned with as a home inspection company is the Camponotus pennsylvanicus, more commonly known as the black carpenter ant.
Unlike termites, the carpenter ant doesn't eat the wood in and around your home. It chews it up and spits it out to create smooth tunnels inside the wood to make their nests. This destruction can lead to as much damage as a termite colony.
So, how do you tell the difference between a regular old picnic ant, or as some call them, sugar ants, and carpenter ants? It can be very difficult for the untrained eye. Black carpenter ants have a dull sheen with white or yellow hairs on their abdomen. They have six legs, one node between the abdomen and thorax, a heart-shaped head and can be anywhere from 1/4" to 1/2" in length.
The little black ants, aka sugar ants, are very small and have a shiny sheen. While these ants typically live outside under pavement, rocks, or in decaying wood, they can make their way into a house creating a cozy home in the woodwork, behind baseboards, or under the carpet.
Now, to determine if you have a carpenter ant infestation, you will need to look for a few tell-tale signs. Worker ants can be seen foraging for food. Workers do not have wings like the swarmers. When you see swarmers, you likely have a well-established colony living under your roof for free. If these two signs of infestation are not easily noticed, piles of sawdust are a clear sign of infestation. This is the debris they push out as they are creating the nests in your home. And, if the colony is large enough, you can hear a rustling sound as they go about their business of destroying the wood.
When you see ants strolling around your house, casing out the place, it's time to call a professional to take care of the situation.
At Mejaro, all of our home inspections include a WDO (Wood Destroying Organism) inspection and all of our inspectors are licensed WDO Inspectors.