Carpenter ants are well known for nesting within both natural and structural wood sources. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not consume wood; instead, they weaken structures by excavating nesting galleries within a home’s lumber components. Carpenter ants are not considered serious pests in yards, as they do not damage lawn grass, plants or create unsightly nesting mounds. In some cases, carpenter ants nest within dead trees in residential areas, sometimes causing tree branches to fall into yards. Carpenter ants will only nest within natural and finished woods that have become saturated with high amounts of moisture, and decaying wood sources are particularly attractive nesting sites to the ant pests.
In many parts of the country, especially in the east where the destructive black carpenter ant can be found, carpenter ants inflict a fair amount of damage to structural and/or cosmetic wood sources, but this is not necessarily the case in Texas. Although several carpenter ant species inhabit Texas, these species rarely infest the structural wood within homes, and when they do, the damage that they inflict is minimal. This is not to say that Texas carpenter ant species are not pests, as large numbers of carpenter ants enter Texas homes often in order to feed on human food sources, and these infestations start when ants in one large colony move into a house where they may establish a nest within an obscured location. Although carpenter ants do not infest structural wood often in Texas, homes with a history of infestations can be hard to sell due to the reputation these ants have for damaging indoor wood sources.
Carpenter ant colonies remain small for the first two to three years after a nest is established, but colonies begin to grow rapidly after three years. Within four to six years, nests can contain more than 3,000 ants, and these nests may be interconnected with other satellite nests, depending on the species. Carpenter ants enter homes through narrow foundation cracks, beneath doors, through windows, air conditioning ducts, and attic vents. In many cases, carpenter ants will establish a nest within moist wall voids or beneath baseboards located near tubs, sinks and any other dark area where moisture content is high. Carpenter ants may also nest within damp cosmetic or structural wood that makes contact with soil, and nests are often found within wall insulation, including foam board insulation.
Were you under the impression that carpenter ant infestations always see the pests nest within structural wood?