Carpenter ant infestations are indicated by piles of wood shavings, the presence of smooth holes in wood and the emergence of large, winged ants from the structure. Worker ants don't have wings and aren't necessarily a sign of an infestation since they may forage for food far from the nest.
Carpenter ants often gain access to the inside of the home through small cracks around pipes and wiring. They burrow into wood to prepare nests for their young, causing structural damage if not treated. Though the damage they cause is similar to the damage caused by termites, carpenter ants generally destroy wood at a slower pace.