Carpenter Ant Damage: Is It Structural?

Often times when carpenter ants build a nest within a home the damage that they cause can be devastating. Carpenter ant damage in a home is usually located around an area where there’s some type of moisture penetration.  A common area that this takes place is where a wood deck attaches to a home.

A home can be badly damaged in this particular area when there’s no flashing installed between the deck header and the home.  Without flashing the moisture is allowed to seep behind the deck and house.   Over a period of years moisture softens the wood and makes it ideal for a carpenter ant colony .   If this happens at your home you’ll be shocked to see  what carpenter ants can actually do to moist wood.

Carpenter Ant Damage or Water Damage?

Carpenter ant damage is differentiated from water damage by several characteristics.

The first being the presence of frass. Frass is the technical name used to describe the garbage from the colony. Contained within a pile of frass you’ll find bits and pieces of insects, insulation and of course sawdust.

The second way to distinguish the two is by the presence of smooth galleries. These galleries are created by the carpenter ants chewing through and removing the wood to build the colony.

So, what does water damage look like? Typically, water damaged wood will be dark brown to a rust color and it may have chunks of square pieces of dried wood that are easily removed.

Water damaged wood door frame.
Water damaged wood door frame.

Last, water damage is likely to be spongy or wet to the touch. The only true way to tell if your dealing with carpenter ant damage or water damage is to have an inspection by a professional who can tell the difference.

If you have carpenter ants, call Envirocare Pest Control at 1-888-879-6481. We can help.