Carpenter ants are somewhat unique among ant pests. These ants don't just get into man-made structures and invade stored foods, they can create a nest in the wood studs and support beams of structures. If left untreated, they can do a lot of damage over time. Fortunately, most residents take care of carpenter ant infestations early, when warning signs start to appear. But if you don't know the warning signs, these insects can be allowed to cause extensive damage. Here are four signs that show that West Chester carpenter ants have entered your property and what you can do about them.

carpenter ant in basement
carpenter ant on a rock

Wood Damage

When you begin to see small holes developing in window and door frames, or some other wooden building material, you could have a carpenter ant infestation. It is important to do routine inspections of your property to look for deterioration. Carpenter ant damage can look like wood rot because the tunneling these ants do can cause wood to split, splinter, or cave in. If you examine a damaged area, you may be able to tell that carpenter ants are to blame because just under the surface there will be tunnels. Wood rot doesn't cause tunnels to form.

Wood Holes

Carpenter ants don't eat wood. They shave wood and push the sawdust out of their tunnels, along with fecal droppings and insect parts. This waste material is called frass. They create tiny exit holes often referred to as kickout holes because they kick out this frass material. If you find wood that has tiny holes on the surface, and frass sitting below, it is a clear warning sign of a carpenter ant infestation.


Carpenter ants do most of their damage on the interior of wood where you can't see it, and they have a preference for being inside wall voids. If frass is kicked out on the interior of a wall void or behind a baseboard, you won't see the kickout holes, but you may be able to see the frass pouring out of a crack or crevice. Keep this in mind. You don't have to see kickout holes to determine that you have a carpenter ant infestation. You only have to see the frass. 


This is the most noticeable warning sign of a carpenter ant infestation, and yet it is often misunderstood and overlooked. Why? Here are a few reasons:

  • Some people think winged ants are a species of ant, but they are not. Ant colonies produce winged forms (called alates) to leave the nest and create new nests. If you see winged ants in your property, it is important to determine what ant species is producing them. Don't just suck them up with a vacuum and call it a day.

  • If you find a few winged ants inside your property, you may think they came in from the outside. This is rarely the case. Winged carpenter ants are attracted to light and prefer to be outside where it is brighter. That's why you find them on window panes and near sliding glass doors.

  • Carpenter ants only swarm and mate for a short period of time. Within 30 minutes, they'll shed their wings and disappear into the cracks and crevices of your interior. If you find wings on your window sills or near your sliding glass doors, be aware that those wings are a warning sign.

A  Warning Sign You're Not Likely To See

You may think that you'll see these big black ants crawling around inside your property in large numbers when you have an infestation, but don't count on it. This is actually not typically the case. Carpenter ants are nocturnal insects that usually come out after it is dark. You may see one scout every once in a while, but it is rare to see lots of these ants inside. Not only are they active at night, but they can infest man-made structures and feed on abundant food sources outside, like honeydew in landscaping. They don't need to feed on the food inside pantries or kitchens.

Do You Think You Have A Carpenter Ant Infestation?

If you do, we recommend professional pest control for these ants due to their destructive nature. When ant control methods fail to address these ants, you may not know it. They can be quite sneaky. It is best to have a trained and experienced pest technician evaluate your infestation and apply appropriate methods and products to eliminate these ants and protect your property.

For assistance with carpenter ants and other pests problems in West Chester, Pennsylvania, connect with Masters Touch Pest Solutions. We provide industry-leading solutions and friendly service every time. Reach out to us and tell us about your pest problem. We can help.


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