Carpenter Ants

Do you think that this might be carpenter ant dust?? I did not see any wood damage or body parts. Some wood rot in this area on the exterior?


got any other pictures Buck? where was that shot in the house…basement? attic?..almost looks like blown in insulation to me in that picture…jim

In the corner of the basement, behind the insulation at the rim joist. Only pic I have.

well in that location you well may be right Buck…especially if there are exterior signs, probably a safe bet…

Yes, it does look like carpenter ant frass.


I call it! Thanks!

Buck, you only need to remember that Carpenter Ant Frass will be the color of whatever they are tunneling into, cause they don’t eat wood and moisture is a problem because that is why they are there to begin with. Look around for more clues.
Recommend further evaluation by WDO specialists rather than call it wrong.:slight_smile:

Hi all! Sorry if this is hitting on an older post


While replacing some water-damaged siding and trim, I found some insect damage to the framing of our house. Based on the location, this is probably the exterior side of the “minor” carpenter ant nest our inspector notice before we bought the house about a year ago. The ants were killed / treated before we purchased the house, there is no evidence of an active problem.

My question is: can I fix this damage, and if so how? I was OK replacing the damaged trim and siding, but I’m not sure how to deal with damage to the house’s framing.

We are in NE Mass.

  • House was built in 1984, the exposed damage is behind a layer of both siding and plywood.
  • The damage is to the Sill Plate, which is made up of 3 2x6s laid flat and stacked on top of each other. The damage goes about halfway through the Sill Plate in a few places.

I also read some articles on and to get an broad idea on DIY Pest Treatment…

Thank you for any insight!

This is not a DIY forum. This is for home inspectors. You are dealing with structural issues. Hire a pro.

Hi Virginia!
From looking at your photographs I agree with Stephen! Unless you and or your husband are professional carpenters……I also recommend that you need to “hire a professional”.

Do not be the least bit surprised if they find more damage than you did. {I am retired now but when I was inspecting I used an instrument that looks like a extra long ice pick to AGGRESSIVELY probe the wood. {This was restricted only to unfinished boards that you would find in the attic or basement. If they were painted and or inside the house I did not “probe them”.}
Some boards will look “perfectly normal” but when you hit them with the wood probe you will see that they are “soft” and or you will be able to penetrate them 1,2 or 3 inches! This type of “wood inspection” will damage/marr the area that is probed. Home owners do not like strangers coming into their house and “Tearing up their property”. Over the last 42 years I have seen several inspectors get hit with a “lawsuit” for property damage. Remember….You did not own the property at the time of inspection. It is for that very reason that the majority of home inspectors will not “probe the wood”. }

Also as a retired WDI/WDO inspector I would recommend that you have your house “treated” once a year for the next 2 to 3 years. Some ant infestation’s are really difficult to eradicate.

Don’t forget that you can have massive SEPARATE and DISTINCT colonies that live in your yard and or in the nearby trees/woods. They can range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands!
Cutback any bushes or trees that are touching your home. Carpenter ants and indeed all other ants and or insects well use them as a “highway to your home”.
I have seen homes that were “bug free” on the day of the inspection only to have ants swarming all over the entire house in less than 30 to 45 days.
That is not “the inspectors fault” that is just….Mother nature at her best!

If it makes you feel any better… Although I have 42 years in this industry this April I found that I have carpenter ants throughout my attic
And I found some in my kitchen and bathrooms. I have been putting out poison and “fogging the house” for the last 2 to 3 months and it seems that maybe, just maybe I have eradicated them.

Anyway….Stephen has given you some good advice I suggest that you follow it and I wish you good luck!:slight_smile: