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You might think that seeing carpenter ants is how you'll know you have a carpenter ant problem. Unfortunately, there are many ways carpenter ants might outsmart you. This is where we are going to start our conversation today. Here's what every Portland resident should know about carpenter ant detection.

Carpenter Ants Are Big Ants, Right?

If you know that carpenter ants are the largest ants that will get into your Portland home, you might see carpenter ant workers and not realize you have a carpenter ant problem. In a carpenter ant nest, there are minor and major workers. The minor workers can be as small as ⅜ of an inch long. This could have you mistaking them for other black ants.

Carpenter Ants Are Black Ants, Right?

The carpenter ants you're most likely to see in your Portland home are black carpenter ants, but not all carpenter ants are black. It is possible to have carpenter ants in your Portland home that are dark red with a black abdomen. If you think all carpenter ant species are entirely black, you might miss these species.  

Carpenter Ants Raid Pantries, Right?

If you know that carpenter ants don't eat wood, and that they are more than happy to feed on human food, you might think that you're going to see them in your pantry or kitchen when you have an infestation in your Portland home. But, don't count on it. Carpenter ants can infest your home by the hundreds of thousands and never feed on a morsel of food in your cabinets or on your shelves. This is because carpenter ants can find many food sources on the outside of your home. One example is honeydew. If you have plant-damaging insects feeding on the plants in your landscaping, carpenter ants could be feeding on their sweet excretions. These ants love honeydew so much they are often observed protecting the insects that produce honeydew, such as aphids.

You'll See Carpenter Ants Around Your Home, Right?

If you knew (or now that you know) carpenter ants eat honeydew, you might think you'll see them in your landscaping if they're living inside your home and damaging your property. You may also think that you'll see them crawling on your back deck, especially if you know that they infest decaying boards in decks. But carpenter ants are mostly nocturnal. They're probably not going to be active during the day. This can cause them to go undetected.

You'll See Winged Ants, Right?

If you know that carpenter ant colonies produce winged ants that swarm together, you might think that all you have to do is wait until you see a swarm of big ants with wings. While you certainly may see them, it is also possible to miss these winged ants. A carpenter ant swarm doesn't last for more than thirty minutes. After that, the ants disperse and begin to look for locations to create more nests. In less than an hour, they could already disappear into cracks, crevices, holes, or right into the ground. This could cause you to miss them.

Carpenter Ants Create Sawdust, Right?

Yes. If you see sawdust around, or inside, your Portland home, this is a helpful warning sign that you could have a carpenter ant infestation. Unfortunately, carpenter ants don't always push sawdust out into areas where it can be seen. Carpenter ants tunnel through the timbers of your home. When they create kickout holes to eject their sawdust (frass), they often do it within wall, ceiling, and floor voids. So, you really can't count on seeing this warning sign when carpenter ants start damaging your property.

You'll See Carpenter Ant Damage, Right?

Probably. But you should know that the vast majority of the damage carpenter ants do is within the wood timbers of man-made structures. When you start to see small holes developing, such as at the bases of your exterior door frames, you should know that you're probably only seeing the tip of the iceberg. At the first sign of visible damage, you should contact a licensed pest management professional and request an inspection. Carpenter ants can feed on your home until your deck floor starts to sink down, without ever seeing any changes to exterior wood. We don't recommend taking that chance.

Proactive Carpenter Ant Control

If you live in Portland, Maine, contact Big Blue Bug Solutions and ask us about our residential pest control services. We can guide you in selecting a year-round pest control plan that includes early detection of carpenter ants and targeted treatments to address carpenter ant colonies. You don't have to wait for carpenter ants to damage your Portland home and eat away at the equity of your home. Get proactive carpenter ant control starting today. 

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