What Does Carpenter Ant Damage Look Like?


Where to Look For Carpenter Ants

Most of the time, you're not going to see carpenter ant damage. These ants chew galleries inside areas of wood and use those galleries to establish their nests. And since it is impractical to leave their tunnels open and allow predators to get in and attack their nests, these ants try to avoid breaching tunnel walls. This makes it difficult to detect carpenter ants when they invade the wood of our homes. It does happen, though. Here are some places you can look for carpenter ant damage and what that damage may look like:


  • Carpenter ants love infesting fence posts, especially if those fence posts are in moist soil, and even more if they are old, unpainted, and untreated. If they attack your fence posts, you might be able to see damage close to the soil.
  • Dying trees makes a good home for carpenter ants. Though you may think nothing of seeing ants crawling around on a tree in your yard, it is important to take note that you have carpenter ants on your property and that they pose a threat to your home.
  • Stumps are another popular location for carpenter ants to establish their nests. If you have a stump with large cracks in it, you may be able to look into those cracks and see into the carpenter ants tunnels.


  • They will gravitate toward cool, moist areas. A frequent target is window and door frames as these areas are notorious for having high moisture levels. If you have carpenter ants inside your door or window frames, you may see cracking, bubbling, dents, or tiny holes that are about the size of those carpenter ants.
  • Carpenter ants are also prone to tunneling into water-damaged sills that are located just above your cement foundation walls. You may be able to see some holes and frass clinging to the walls below those holes or frass coming out of the gaps in those sills if you inspect exposed sills in your basement.

Warning Signs of a Carpenter Ant Infestation

Though there are rare circumstances that carpenter ant damages is visible, most of the time, you're not going to see them at all. When carpenter ants get into a home, they often stay inside wall studs and push frass out into wall voids, where it can't be seen. So it is important to be on the lookout for the signs of carpenter ant activity.

  • Big black ants crawling around outside your home should not be ignored. Have those ants checked out and find out where they're coming from.

  • A single black ant walking around inside your home can be an indication that you have an infestation. And don't assume that just because you're not finding ants in your home you don't have an infestation. Carpenter ants create their nests in our homes and find food resources outside where you’re less likely to notice them.

  • If you find large flying black ants inside or outside of your home, it is time to call a pest control company. These are a sign of a well-developed nest on or inside your property!

  • Where there is frass, there are carpenter ants. If you're seeing frass but no ants, let that frass be your warning that you have a carpenter ant problem.

Do's and Don'ts of Carpenter Ant Treatment


  • Keep an eye on where the ants are emerging, as this could be an indicator of where the colony is located.
  • Inspect the wood on your property, including trees and fallen limbs for any signs of ant activity.
  • Contact your local St. Louis pest control company so that a professional can inspect the area and identify the species of ant and then effectively get rid of the ant colony.


  • Try to rip apart wood objects that are infested with carpenter ants as you will only create further structural damage.
  • Attempt to kill the ants on your own with a store bought spray. Not only are these less effective but they do not get to the source of the ant colony, which means your problem will not go away.
  • Let too much time go by before calling in the professionals in ant control, because you could be risking a lot of money lost in structural damages.

Over time, carpenter ants can cause a lot of damage. They attack water-damaged and rotting wood first for maximum damage but are able to move on to sound timbers within your home as well. Reach out to a pest control professional as soon as you see carpenter ant activity or signs of a carpenter ant infestation to avoid further infestation and costly home repairs!

For assistance with carpenter ant control in Missouri, go here for trusted pest control advice and service from the professionals at Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions!