Why Carpenter Ants Are So Dangerous to North Carolina Homes

Carpenter ants have earned quite a reputation for wrecking our homes. If you ask some people, they'll tell you that these wood-destroying pests can completely total your home in just a few short years. However, this is actually not true. It takes time for carpenter ants to do the damage they do. But there are some conditions that can increase their ability to damage your North Carolina home. Let's take a look at them:

carpenter ant in north carolina home
carpenter ant

1. Time

They say, "time heals all wounds." However, in the case of carpenter ants, time actually allows the wounds they cause to multiply. An infestation that begins with a single female winged carpenter ant can develop into a colony of several thousand worker ants in just a few years. As the colony nears its max population, new male and female winged carpenter ants are created and released. Those reproductives then mate, the males die off, and the queens (females) go on to establish new colonies near the old colony, growing the infestation inside your home. If this is allowed to continue, an infestation that started with a single carpenter ant colony can grow to consist of several nests and lead to major damages.

2. Moisture

Carpenter ants don't actually eat wood; instead, they chew tunnels and cavities in it in order to establish their nests inside. In your yard, they'll do this in a stump, a dying tree, an old fence, and in pretty much any other decaying wood found on your property. When they are attracted to your home by a stump or other rotting wood, the next logical step is to get into your home. The secret to resisting carpenter ants is to reduce the moisture conditions in your yard that allow water damage and wood rot to occur. This moisture may be from excessive sprinkler activity in your yard. It may be due to excessive shade created by a thick tree canopy. It may be due to the presence of leaves which can trap moisture underneath. It could be from a broken gutter. There are many things that can cause excess moisture on our properties. To help solve your moisture problem, inspect your yard for moisture conditions and address them so that the wood in your yard and, more importantly, in your home, stays as dry as possible. This will help deter carpenter ants from being drawn to your property and home.
 
3. Water

Standing pools of water that form after it rains will not only increase the moisture in your yard, they can provide carpenter ants with plenty of water to drink. These pools can form for many reasons. It is important to search your property for these pools of water and address any conditions that are allowing standing water to accumulate.
 
4. Food
 
Carpenter ants subsist on a wide range of foods, but there are two they prefer: aphids and the honeydew created by those aphids. If you have lots of vegetation in your yard, you're likely to have lots of aphids. This will increase the population of carpenter ants in your yard, and increase the likelihood that they'll damage your home.
 
5. Lack of Knowledge
 
The biggest factor that leads to significant carpenter ant damage is a lack of knowledge. If you want to protect your home from carpenter ants, it is important that you understand that:

  • A single carpenter ant crawling around inside your home is a warning sign of an infestation in your walls.

  • Just because you only see one carpenter ant every once in a while doesn't mean your infestation is small. Carpenter ants are mostly nocturnal and only come out in large numbers when a food source is found.

  • If you find winged ants crawling on an inside window pane, it is unlikely that they accidentally found their way into your home from the outside. Winged ants are attracted to light. They will not be attracted to the dimmer interior of your home. They're crawling on your window panes to get out to the outdoor light. That means the nest they came from is probably located inside your home.

  • Carpenter ants are wired to be quite elusive. The galleries they create in wood are to protect them from predators. They aren't going to expose these tunnels to you or any other creature, if they can help it. The most you're likely to see of these tunnels are tiny kick-out holes, which they push out frass (fine sawdust) from.

  • While you see a fine sawdust-like material in your home, that is a warning sign of a carpenter ant infestation.

It is important to recognize the signs of a carpenter ant infestation and take action when you see them. If left untreated, these ants can do a lot of damage to a home over time. Therefore, when you find carpenter ants in your home, it's important to reach out to a pest control provider for professional home pest control.

If you find carpenter ants in your North Carolina home, reach out to us at A-1 Pest Control to make sure those carpenter ants are properly dealt with. We've been protecting the equity of homes from the threat of carpenter ants and other wood-destroying pests for over 50 years and we look forward to helping you protect yours!

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    [content] => <p><a href="/pest-library/profile/termites">Termites</a> are one of the absolute worst pest infestations that you can deal with, especially if you don&rsquo;t get it taken care of in a timely manner. The potential for a serious termite problem can cause a lot of stress and anxiety, which is why it makes a lot of sense that it&rsquo;s extremely common for people to be a bit on edge when they think they have termites. &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>While it&rsquo;s good to be on the lookout, this fear of termites can cause a lot of people to misidentify a bug as a termite. But don&rsquo;t panic! We&rsquo;re going to point to some of the common identification mistakes that people make, and show you how to tell the difference between an actual termite and a bug that just sort of looks like a termite. &nbsp;</p>

<h3>&nbsp;<br>Termite Vs. Carpenter Ants &nbsp;</h3>

<p>&nbsp;<br>It&rsquo;s pretty simple to mix up termites and <a href="/pest-library/profile/carpenter-ants">carpenter ants</a>: they&rsquo;re both small, winged insects, and they both cause wood damage. The important distinction between the two behaviorally is that termites can cause a whole lot more damage than a carpenter ant can. To tell the difference between the two, let&rsquo;s first take a look at each of them. &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>Here we have a termite: &nbsp;</p>

<p><img alt="Winged termite" height="303" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/Winged_Termite__Alate_Macrotermes_mossambicus___11691023983-min.jpg" width="550"><br>&nbsp;&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>And here we have a carpenter ant: &nbsp;</p>

<p><img alt="Winged carpenter ant " height="430" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/18754341506_9536640a1a_b.jpg" width="550"><br>&nbsp;&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br><strong>What are the main differences between the two? </strong>&nbsp;</p>

<ul>

<li>Termites are broad-waisted, while carpenter ants are narrow-waisted.</li>

<li>Termites have straight antennae, while carpenter ants have bowed antennae. &nbsp;</li>

<li>Termites have 2 sets of equal-sized wings, while carpenter ants have one set of large wings and one set of small wings. &nbsp;</li>

<li>Termites are typically only visible in a swarm, while carpenter ants are a bit larger and usually more visible. &nbsp;</li>

</ul>

<h3>&nbsp;<br>Termites vs. Citronella Ants&nbsp;</h3>

<p>&nbsp;<br>Citronella <a href="/pest-library/profile/ants">ants</a> and termites are a very similar color, a sort of reddish-brown. Let&rsquo;s instead focus on the differences, this time without wings. Here&rsquo;s a photo of a group of termites: &nbsp;</p>

<p><img alt="Group of termites, one of them winged" height="367" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/35303727436_c4757e4f12_b.jpg" width="550"><br>&nbsp;&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>Here&rsquo;s a group of citronella ants: &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>&nbsp; <img alt="Group of citronella ants" height="366" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/Citronella_Ants_-_Lasius_umbratus_Green_Ridge_State_Forest_Flintstone_Maryland.jpg" width="550"><br>&nbsp;<br>They look pretty similar, right? The main differences to note come down to those distinct shapes we talked about earlier: &nbsp;</p>

<ul>

<li>Citronella ants have narrower waists than termites. &nbsp;</li>

<li>Citronella ants also have distinctly larger abdomens than termites do.</li>

<li>Note again those antennae: the termites have straight antennae, while citronella ants have those slightly bent antennae.&nbsp;</li>

</ul>

<p>&nbsp;<br>These are two of the most common examples of termite misidentification! Keep in mind that if you are worried you have a termite problem, try to get a good look at the insect you&rsquo;re looking at, and try to note body shape or antennae characteristics to make a determination. Also remember that you will usually only see a termite in a swarm and that a solitary termite crawling around is relatively rare. &nbsp;</p>

<h3>&nbsp;<br>Having termite or ant problems?&nbsp;&nbsp;</h3>

<p>&nbsp;<br>A-1 Pest Control can help! If you&rsquo;re in need of <a href="/termite-control">termite control</a> or <a href="/home-pest-control">ant control</a> of any kind, we have the expertise to properly treat the problem -- or even prevent it from ever happening. Just <a href="/contact-us#schedule">get in touch with us for a free estimate</a>.&nbsp;</p>
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Termites are one of the absolute worst pest infestations that you can deal with, especially if you don’t get it taken care of in a timely manner. The potential for a serious termite problem can…

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    [content] => <p><br>&nbsp;<br>Some insects are just plain irritating. On the other hand, some insects can pose a real danger to humans through physical and economic harm. So which pests are significantly (or even life-threateningly) dangerous, and which are less dangerous? We put together what we&rsquo;re calling the &ldquo;pest danger index&rdquo; to help you determine that. &nbsp;</p>
<h3>&nbsp;<br>Level 1 - A Little Dangerous&nbsp;</h3>
<p>&nbsp;<br>Level 1 pests are the sort of pests that pose their own sort of danger, but they aren&rsquo;t the type to pose a major threat.&nbsp;</p>
<p><img alt="Ladybug on persons hand" height="366" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/ladybug-391310_640.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="550"><br>&nbsp;<br><a href="/pest-library/profile/ladybugs"><strong>Ladybugs -</strong></a> Ladybugs don&rsquo;t cause any sort of destruction, and they don&rsquo;t bite or spread disease. They can infest your home in large numbers, but their biggest crime is just being an annoyance and an unwanted guest inside your home. Ladybugs eat all sorts of harmful garden pests, so ladybugs in your garden can actually be a good thing. &nbsp;</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Indian meal moth close up" height="413" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/43890223691_60619bcb07_c-min.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="550"><em>("<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Plodia_interpunctella_-_Indian_meal_moth_-_%D0%AE%D0%B6%D0%BD%D0%B0%D1%8F_%D0%B0%D0%BC%D0%B1%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%BD%D0%B0%D1%8F_%D0%BE%D0%B3%D0%BD%D1%91%D0%B2%D0%BA%D0%B0_(43890223691).jpg">Indian Meal Moth</a>" by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/people/155939562@N05">Ilia Ustyantsev</a> is licensed by <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en">CC BY-SA 2.0)</a></em></p>
<p>&nbsp;<br><a href="/pest-library/profile/indian-meal-moths"><strong>Indian Meal Moths -</strong></a> Sure, you don&rsquo;t want Indian meal moths flapping around your home and causing trouble in your pantry. These moths can definitely be an irritant with their ability to contaminate food, but as far as pests go, they&rsquo;re a nuisance and nothing more. &nbsp;</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p><img alt="Stink bug on a leaf" height="413" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/640px-Stink_bug_7757617824.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="550"></p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><em>("<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/47108884@N07/7757617824">Stink bug</a>" by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/47108884@N07/">Ton Rulkens</a> is licensed by <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>)</em></p>
<p>&nbsp;<br><a href="/pest-library/profile/stink-bugs"><strong>Stink Bugs -</strong></a> Stink bugs aren&rsquo;t a direct threat to humans -- mostly they just, well, stink. It&rsquo;s a bit of a different story when it comes to agriculture, as stink bugs can be a serious threat to crops. But as far as house pests go? Stink bugs aren&rsquo;t much of a problem -- besides their smell.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Ant on a leaf" height="413" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/640px-Ant_on_leaf.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="550"><br><em>(<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ant_on_leaf.jpg">"Ant on Leaf"</a> by Luke Elstad is licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>)</em></p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><br><a href="/pest-library/profile/ants"><strong>Most Ants -</strong></a> Excluding carpenter ants and fire ants, the majority of ant species that occupy homes pose hardly any threat at all. You still don&rsquo;t want these insects wandering about your home, but they won&rsquo;t hurt you and they aren&rsquo;t big disease spreaders.&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;</p>
<h3>Level 2 - Somewhat Dangerous&nbsp;</h3>
<p>&nbsp;<br>Level 2 pests pose some threats to humans, but for the most part, they aren&rsquo;t major disease spreaders, health risks, or causing serious home damage -- although some can trigger allergies, which is no joke!&nbsp;</p>
<p><img alt="Carpet beetle crawling around" height="367" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/26103053207_b5fb73b305_c.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="550"></p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><em>("<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ajc1/26757955908/">Varied Carpet Beetle</a>" by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ajc1/">AJC1</a> is licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>)</em></p>
<p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;<br><a href="/pest-library/profile/carpet-beetles"><strong>Carpet Beetles -</strong></a> For the most part, carpet beetles aren&rsquo;t a big problem. However, they can contaminate food and cause damage to clothing, blankets, and carpeting. They can trigger allergies in some people, which puts them a tier above ladybugs, moths, ants, and stink bugs. &nbsp;</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p><img alt="Lunging wolf spider" height="413" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/640px-Wolf_Spider_rpp.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="550"></p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><em>("<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wolf_Spider_rpp.jpg">Wolf Spider</a>" by Rapha&euml;l Poupon is licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en">CC BY-SA 4.0)</a></em></p>
<p><br>&nbsp;<br><a href="/pest-library/profile/spiders"><strong>Most Spiders -</strong></a> Outside of black widows and brown recluse spiders, the vast majority of spiders found in North Carolina pose little threat to humans. In fact, these spiders can do a nice job killing any other, smaller nuisance pests that live in your home, because many of those pests are spider food. Still, as unlikely as it may be, there&rsquo;s a slight chance that some spiders will bite you, and even though bites from most common house spiders can&rsquo;t even puncture human skin, it still makes them marginally more dangerous than level 1 pests. &nbsp;</p>
<p><img alt="Fly resting on a twig" height="367" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/640px-Blue_Bottle_Fly_10.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="550"></p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><em>("<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blue_Bottle_Fly_10.jpg">Blue Bottle Fly</a>" by <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Azimronnie">Azim Khan Ronnie</a> is licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en">CC BY-SA 4.0</a>)</em></p>
<p><br>&nbsp;<br><a href="/pest-library/profile/flies"><strong>Flies -</strong></a> It&rsquo;s true that flies can spread germs and bacteria because they do tend to hang out in unsavory places like garbage cans and sometimes even on feces. So obviously this is gross, but is it actually a serious threat? For the most part, no. <a href="https://globalnews.ca/news/3883353/houseflies-bacteria-sick-reality-check/">According to a recent study</a>, the amount of bacteria a fly can transmit to a person isn&rsquo;t really enough to make them sick, with the exception being babies, the elderly, and people in hospitals with lowered immune systems. They aren&rsquo;t a non-threat, but they don&rsquo;t match up to the pests in our next section.&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;</p>
<h3>Level 3 - Dangerous &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;</h3>
<p>This group of pests moves out of the &ldquo;slight risk&rdquo; category and qualify as downright dangerous, capable of causing health problems for some.</p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Wasp climbing its nest" height="367" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/earth-wasp-5879353_640.jpg" width="550"></p>
<p>&nbsp;<br><a href="/pest-library/profile/stinging-insects"><strong>Stinging Insects -</strong></a> Although not every species of bee, wasp, and hornet are equally dangerous, on the whole, it hurts us to say that stinging insects are quite dangerous. Their stings can be quite painful and even life-threatening to those with allergies, and their nesting habits can at times cause serious structural damage to homes and other structures. They get a few bonus points for being the world&rsquo;s pollinators, but that fact doesn&rsquo;t make them any less dangerous. &nbsp;</p>
<p><img alt="Number of cockroaches crawling on branch" height="364" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/wildlife-insect-fauna-invertebrate-animals-hornet-1006014-pxhere.com.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="550"></p>
<p>&nbsp;<br><a href="/pest-library/profile/cockroaches"><strong>Cockroaches -</strong></a> Cockroaches might be one of the most hated creatures on this whole list, and for good reason: They are capable of spreading bacteria and disease because of their penchant for hanging out in dirty places, and can contaminate surfaces with that bacteria causing diarrhea, dysentery, and salmonella. They are also capable of triggering asthma attacks in asthmatic individuals, and top of all that, they&rsquo;re sort of terrifying. &nbsp;</p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Bed bug in hair" height="364" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/5975912718_af791e6685_c.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="550"><em>("<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/sanmartin/5975917188">Cimex lectularius (bed bug)</a>" by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/sanmartin/">Gilles San Martin</a> is liscensable under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>)</em></p>
<p style="text-align: left;"><strong><a href="/pest-library/profile/bed-bugs">Bed Bugs -</a></strong> While it might seem strange to loop bed bugs in with some of these dangerous insects- they don&rsquo;t spread disease, and their bites at worst cause an allergic reaction- we think the psychological effects of bed bugs make them nearly pretty dangerous. In fact, those psychological effects are significant enough that there have been <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22195533/#:~:text=Background%3A%20In%20some%20individuals%2C%20psychological,posttraumatic%20stress%20disorder%20(PTSD).">entire studies done on them and their potential to cause PTSD</a>. We think that&rsquo;s serious stuff. &nbsp;</p>
<h3>Level 4 - Very Dangerous &nbsp;</h3>
<p>&nbsp;<br>This category is reserved for the pests that can really do some real damage, whether that&rsquo;s to a person&rsquo;s health or to a person&rsquo;s living space. In our eyes, these are the worst of the worst. &nbsp;</p>
<p><img alt="Engorged tick " height="356" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/tick-2371782_640.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="550"><br>&nbsp;<br><strong><a href="/pest-library/profile/ticks">Ticks -</a></strong> Ticks are usually not all that dangerous to humans. In fact, chances are you&rsquo;ve gotten a tick before, and it hasn&rsquo;t really been much of an issue. However, ticks do carry a number of diseases that can cause various health issues- like Lyme Disease- and even some that can be fatal, like Tularemia. That doesn&rsquo;t mean you should panic if you get a tick bite, but it does definitely make ticks very dangerous on the whole. &nbsp;</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p><img alt="Mosquito sucking blood from a fingertip up close" height="359" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/PIXNIO-46056-725x473.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="550"></p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><em>("<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/oregonstateuniversity/14954552817">Dengue Mosquito</a>" by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/oregonstateuniversity/">Oregon State University</a> is licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">CC BY-SA 2.0)</a></em></p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/pest-library/profile/mosquitoes"><strong>Mosquitoes -</strong></a> Mosquitoes are a lot like ticks: usually not a huge problem, but on occasion a major problem. They transmit a whole host of serious diseases, most notably West Nile Virus and encephalitis. So, while those itchy bites do not seem serious at first, they are worth avoiding if you can.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p><img alt="Group of termites up close" height="366" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/CSIRO_ScienceImage_3639_Mastotermes_darwiniensis_Giant_Northern_Termite.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="550"></p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><em>("<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CSIRO_ScienceImage_3639_Mastotermes_darwiniensis_Giant_Northern_Termite.jpg">Giant Northern Termite</a>" by CSIRO is licensed by <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en">CC BY 3.0</a>)</em></p>
<p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;<br><a href="/control/blog/Termites%20-">Termites -</a> Termites are a strange case, because you can go years with a termite infestation without even knowing they&rsquo;re slowly gnawing away at your home. However, they are very dangerous insects for one simple reason: they can do serious and expensive damage to your home. It&rsquo;s even possible for a termite infestation to get so bad that a structural collapse occurs. That financial risk puts them in the &ldquo;very dangerous&rdquo; category for us.&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>Are you having problems with any of these dangerous (and not-so-dangerous) pests? A-1 Pest Control can help! We can help you with treatment for each and every one of these invasive insects; just <a href="/contact-us#schedule">get in touch with us</a> and we&rsquo;ll help you with any problem that you&rsquo;re having ASAP. &nbsp;</p>
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 Some insects are just plain irritating. On the other hand, some insects can pose a real danger to humans through physical and economic harm. So which pests are significantly (or even…

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Attempts to control pest populations is nearly as old as civilization itself. We educate readers on how some ancient civilizations dealt with pests.

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