More than ninety percent of homes in the United States are timber-framed, and therefore, ninety percent of homes in the US are vulnerable to termite and carpenter ant attacks, except for homes in Alaska, of course. In case you do not know, homes are vulnerable to attacks by these insects because they damage wood. However, it would be more accurate to say that virtually all homes within the US are vulnerable to structural pest attacks, as termites and carpenter ants still infest and damage the wood in homes made from stone masonry and steel. Although termites should be recognized for their destructive habits, the carpenter ant is responsible for a greater amount of wood damage within Massachusetts and the rest of New England. In fact, carpenter ants are recognized by experts as being the most damaging structural pests in the state. Carpenter ants can infest and damage the lumber within all homes in the state, but these insects are particularly problematic on the coast and in Cape Cod.

According to researchers with the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, carpenter ants prefer to dwell within cool damp climates, thus explaining their abundance on the northeast coast and on northeast US islands. While carpenter ants don’t consume and digest wood, as termites do, infestations of these ants do weaken home and building structures, as these ants bore tunnels into structural wood. Despite the damage that carpenter ants are capable of inflicting on structural woods, the ants are more commonly documented as nuisance pests within Massachusetts. Unfortunately, carpenter ant infestations are one of the most common, yet one of the most difficult types of infestations to eradicate. Homeowners can often tell if they have fallen victim to a carpenter ant infestation, as piles of sawdust can often be found near structural lumber that has been excavated by these ants. But the ants themselves are not easy to spot within an infested home, as only five percent of individual ants within a colony can be found outside of excavated wood within a home. It should be noted that carpenter ants are nocturnal, making the nighttime the best time to inspect a home for an infestation of the bugs. The vast majority of carpenter ant infestations must be addressed by a trained professional.

Have you ever spotted an ant excavating natural wood, decorative wood or lumber?