August 25, 2022

Carpenter Ant Frass | Locating Pesky Infestations

Can carpenter ant frass help you find an active insect problem?

Like termites, carpenter ants are responsible for thousands of dollars in home damage across the country. Many homeowners in Washington state report finding these pests living in dead trees, logs, or even within their walls and floors!

Keep reading to learn more about carpenter ant droppings and if frass is the best way to locate insects!

Droppings and Pest Infestations

When you find your home littered with unsightly droppings or feces stains, it’s right to assume there are creepy crawlers nearby. 

If you notice a sudden or increased appearance of insect frass, you probably have an infestation inside your home. A handful of bugs or pests can make a mess, but insects or animals that quickly reproduce can make small messes into a larger problem. 

Mice and rats leave their mark behind in most spaces they enter, contaminating food and clean surfaces. Cockroaches will similarly leave waste as they forage and around where the larger colony resides. 

Identifying the type of feces helps you discern the kind of infestation in your home and the severity of your insect issues. However, it’s not always easy figuring out what pest is responsible for the droppings you see. 

Besides differing sizes, many pest feces look remarkably identical. It’s not an easy task discerning roof rat droppings from your average house mouse! Plus, termites and carpenter ant feces share a similar appearance, leaving you wondering what insect is in your home. 

Carpenter Ant Frass Apperance

Carpenter ant feces is sometimes hard to spot, unlike termite frass. As drywood termites tunnel through your home’s wood, they’ll kick out sawdust debris and frass to keep their inner cavities clean. 

Termite droppings are primarily composed of the wood they consume, looking like the wood’s dark or light grain. Carpenter ant frass lacks the same consistency as their diet hinges on other organisms or sweet substances. 

While they’re responsible for home and wood damage, carpenter ants won’t eat anything they burrow through. Instead, they typically utilize these areas for adjunct colonies separate from their original nests. 

Around carpenter ant and termite infestations, homeowners find a sawdust-like substance littering the floor, walls, or inside cabinets. 

Carpenter ants disperse their waste alongside the discarded sawdust, so it is often difficult to locate the ant’s feces. Ants are small creatures, so their droppings may look like insignificant specks surrounded by piles of wood shavings. 

Look at this article to see the difference between termite and carpenter ant droppings. Termite frass is larger than carpenter ant feces and is typically formed into pellets. 

Can Carpenter Ant Frass Help Locate an Infestation?

Yes! But not in the way you think. 

You can find carpenter ant droppings intermingled with sawdust or wood shavings. You're more likely to spot the fine dust instead of seeing the smaller feces particles on the ground. 

Areas with fresh frass can help you understand the location of the carpenter ants, but don't use this as the sole identification method whenever you suspect an insect infestation. 

Because of its small size, you might not recognize carpenter ant droppings unless you also spot additional insect particles intermixed. Their waste may even resemble termite droppings when spotted in large quantities. 

Regardless, the presence of droppings or sawdust can help you identify an infestation hotspot. Many ant species discard their waste away from the main colony to make room and prevent cross-contamination. 

Surprisingly, ants operate like humans and avoid defecating in areas where they consume food, frequently cleaning out their colonies. If feces pile up around your baseboards, cabinets, or floors, carpenter ants may be within the wooden structures. 

Check out this video to learn more about how some ant species use ‘toilets’ to keep their waste separate from their food!

You Found Carpenter Ant Frass. Now What?

After you’ve found signs of an insect infestation, fast action can prevent further home damage. Unless you’ve seen the ants exiting their colony to forage, it is challenging to distinguish what bug is inside your home without a pest control professional. 

Here are some other common signs of carpenter ants you should keep an eye out for!

  • Ants with wings
  • Loud rustling in your walls or floors
  • Large black ants roaming around your home
  • Baseboard, window sill, door borders, and flooring warping 

Carpenter ants are usually indications of other structural problems within your home. Because carpenter ants flock to water-damaged wood, their presence suggests unseen moisture inside your walls or under flooring, according to Iowa State University.

Addressing your home damage is as vital as curtailing insect infestations. Because these spaces are vectors for insects, you could continue to have problems inside your home without repairs. 

Check your home for roof leaks or dripping pipes to remove water from entering your home. After you’ve fixed the moisture-causing problem, focus on eliminating the ants.

Because these pests burrow deep within the wooden structures in your home, carpenter ant control is a difficult task. Many DIY pest control options can work for general pest concerns, but these methods might not work for carpenter ants. 

Some store-bought options like diatomaceous earth or borax can eliminate visible ants and even a portion of the colony but cannot accurately reach the larger group of insects inside your foundation or in your backyard. 

Plus, many pesticides or pest solutions on the shelf are hard to apply for hidden pests! Baits and sprays can fight back against foraging ants but won’t make a dent in the ants hiding elsewhere. 

Powder treatments work wonders but require access to the entire colony. Unless these pests have caused extensive damage, you’ll have to create holes in your wall to reach their ranks. 

A carpenter ant infestation is tough, but it doesn’t have to be! When you have a challenging pest problem, trust Zunex Pest Control to eliminate the pests for you.

Our trusted technicians can handle the hard work and find the source of any pesky pest infestation. Contact us today to schedule a pest control appointment!

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