1. Your Food Has Been Overrun by Ants
The easiest way to see if you have ants is to look at any food that you have left out. While you should always cover your food, you may forget to if you have never had an ant infestation. If ants are present, they will quickly sniff out the leftover food and start to carry it away. Dog food dishes will also bring ants into the home.
2. You Noticed a Colony
Take a walk around your yard. If you notice an ant colony anywhere in your yard, you are going to have a problem. Ants will travel long distances to look for food, so walking across your yard to the kitchen is not a problem. While there may only be a few ants on the surface of the colony, do not be fooled. Beneath the mound of dirt, thousands of ants are lurking.
3. Listen to the Walls
For carpenter ant infestations, you should start by listening to your walls. Carpenter ants are primarily active at night, so you may hear rustling noises as they build their nests. You could also try knocking on your walls to see if they sound hollow. If you know that the wall was once made of solid wood, a hollow sound indicates a carpenter ant or a termite infestation.
4. Look for Wood Shavings
As carpenter ants burrow into the woodwork, they will leave a trail of wood shavings and sawdust in their wake. Whenever you clean your floors, take time to closely inspect what you sweep up. If you are finding wood shavings without an obvious cause, you may need to call the exterminator. Carpenter ants do not actually eat wood as termites do. Unfortunately, this does not stop them from being exceptionally destructive.
5. Check Damp Areas
Carpenter ants prefer wet wood, so any moisture-prone area in your home can attract them. Look for carpenter ants near your bathroom and your kitchen. They will also hide anywhere that has a leak like a faulty faucet or outdoor pipe. These ants love to be around rotted wood, so remove any rotting lumber or firewood from around your home.
While storing your food safely and removing rotting wood can prevent ants, there is no way to ensure that your home is perfectly safe. If you see any ants in your home, there are most likely hundreds or thousands more that you cannot see. Once you have an infestation, the best treatment option is to hire a professional pest exterminator.