A: I have carpenter ants and have heard that they eat wood. Is this true?
Q: Carpenter ants get their name because of their habit of hollowing out wood to build a nest. Carpenter ant workers have powerful mandibles that enable them to gnaw at surrounding wood and remove small pieces bit by bit. By doing so, they create tunnel like galleries which are ideally suited as a nesting site.
While serious damage can and does occur, most structural infestations of carpenter ants involve little or minor damage. If left undisturbed however, carpenter ants can cause damage that can threaten the structural integrity of a home. Typically, the problem begins with a moisture condition, and the carpenter ants exploit the situation.
Only termites, however, are able to "eat" and digest wood, thereby utilizing wood as a source of energy. If you are unsure which insect is invading your home, remember that carpenter ant damage shows smooth galleries (like sandpaper), while subterranean termite galleries are generally coarser, with heavy signs of "mud" or debris.