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Carpenter ant infestation photo guide: this article describes carpenter ants and how to inspect a building for carpenter ant damage. We explain and illustrate how to identify carpenter ants - what carpenter ants look like, why and where they attack buildings, and how to cure a carpenter ant infestation using pesticides or other methods. We describe and include photographs of building details that increase the risk of carpenter ant attack - which tells you where to look for ant damage as well as how to prevent carpenter ant infestations in buildings without reliance on pesticides. We also describe how to distinguish carpenter ants from termites and how to tell a carpenter ant from other ants. We include many photo-examples of building damage caused by carpenter ants. And we provide citations to authoritative sources for more carpenter ant identification & control information. Our photo at page top illustrates a closer to actual size view of carpenter ants found during demolition in an area where the evidence of carpenter ant activity and damage justified tearing some building surfaces apart. .
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Carpenter Ants Guide: what they look like, how to find carpenter ant damage, how to get rid of carpenter ants, how to prevent carpenter ant infestations
Here are the principal approaches to inspecting a building for carpenter ant activity & damage:
Below we illustrate further investigation of the carpenter ant attack whose clues were just above. At below left you can see much more compelling evidence of carpenter ant activity on the sill plate atop the same wall - a place no one might have looked without the first clue.
At below right you can see our disclosure of active carpenter ant activity and a sawdust trail (carpenter ant frass trail) that was located between the plywood roof deck and the wall top framing.
Signs of Carpenter Ant Activity: Exploring for Carpenter Ants at an Interior Wall at Floor Baseboard Trim
Our carpenter ant activity photos below illustrate the results of deciding to investigate further for ant activity and damage at the ground floor of a slab-on grade structure. After observing frequent carpenter ant traffic on the floor in this area we watched the ants to see where they seemed to be most busy (coming and going) at the wall bottom. That led to a spot between two sliding exterior doors and an area where there had been some leakage into the wall cavity. Pulling off a small section of floor baseboard trim (below left) we found the main entry/exit point for our carpenter ants (below right).
Probing into the wood post bottom in this location did not discover significant damage. We decided to address this carpenter ant problem by two simple DIY steps:
Below our photo at left illustrates a large area free of grass and other plant growth - a large red ant colony typical of what one might find in the Southwestern U.S. or in Mexico. These ants do not attack wood structures. At below right is a closeup of these ants.
Watch out: these ants are capable of a painful bite injecting a good dose of formic acid. If you are hiking in an are where these ant colonies are found, don't stand idly around atop the ant colony or you'll find yourself invaded and attacked.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Carpenter Ant identification, damage, infestation & prevention
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