Carpenter Ant Frass

Carpenter ants eating wood

What is Frass?

Carpenter ant frass is the waste product the ants produce from feeding on their normal diet and their wood-excavating activities and is usually piled near nest sites.

The sawdust-like debris contains:

  • Fragments of chewed wood
  • Feces
  • Small pieces of soil and gravel
  • Parts of dead ants

What Does Frass Look Like?

Appearance: Primarily consisting of wood chewings, carpenter ant poop (frass) looks like soft, fibrous bits of wood loosely compacted together.

Color: The crumbly material will be the color of the nearby wood being excavated and is usually arranged into a cone-like pile.

Carpenter Ant Frass vs. Termite Frass:

Frass produced by carpenter ants may be mistaken for drywood termite frass. Close inspection is usually needed to tell the difference between the two.

What Does Carpenter Ant Frass Look Like? – Carpenter ant frass includes wood chewings and insect parts.

Termite Frass Appearance – Drywood termite frass consists solely of fecal matter.

Signs of a Carpenter Ant Infestation

Windows: Frass piles that appear near slit-like openings in wood are the most common indicator of a carpenter ant infestation. These slits, also referred to as windows, are used as garbage chutes for frass.

Windows appear smooth and oblong. Burrowed wood usually has multiple windows on the surface. Frass and windows are often the only external indicators of a carpenter ant attack.

Where to Find Windows: Common spots where carpenter ant windows may be found include:

  • Attics
  • Basements
  • Foundation walls
  • Porches

Moist wood provides an ideal environment for carpenter ants to nest. Due to New England’s weather, wooden structures often make preferred nesting sites for carpenter ants.

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