Carpenter ants are well known for damaging the structural and cosmetic wood sources within homes for nesting purposes, and the ant pests are easy to recognize in the northeast since the primary species in the region, the black carpenter ant, is jet black and exceptionally large in size. It is not uncommon for residents to find large black ants crawling about within their homes, particularly kitchens. In such cases, some homeowners panic over the safety of their home’s structural timber-frame. However, according to experts, the presence of carpenter ants is more likely a sign of a nuisance infestation rather than a structural wood infestation.
Carpenter ants certainly cause economic damage to structural wood sources frequently, but not all types of wood within a home are vulnerable to carpenter ant damage. For example, carpenter ants seek out excessively damp, and especially, rotting wood sources to nest within as opposed to new and/or dry structural lumber sources. That being said, many valued and important structural wood sources in, on and around a home, may have high moisture levels that carpenter ants would not hesitate to infest. This is especially true of porch-lumber, and structural and cosmetic woods that makes contact with the ground soil. It is for this reason that many wood porches are located on concrete stilts, and modern homes are no longer built in a manner that allows structural or cosmetic woods to make contact with the ground soil where carpenter ants can access them. Carpenter ants within a home often damage insulation board, and other soft structural materials, so the presence of carpenter ants within a home should not be taken lightly.
The reason why carpenter ants are not likely to infest harder woods is because they are relatively lazy, and do not want to expend the energy necessary to bore into wood sources that are not relatively soft, according to a Pennsylvania State University entomologist. While carpenter ants are second to termites in terms of annual structural wood damage in the northeast, the pests rarely damage sound dry structural wood sources.
Have you ever spotted large black ants within your home?