Carpenter Ants

Camponotus species

Carpenter ants get their name because they excavate wood in order to build their nests. They burrow into wood and create smooth tunnels inside, leaving sawdust-like shavings outside their nests. Contrary to popular belief, carpenter ants do not, in fact, eat wood.

Carpenter ants range in size from one-quarter inch for a worker ant up to three-quarters of an inch for a queen, and they come in a variety of colors, depending on the species.

Carpenter Ants
Color Varies depending on species, from red to black or a combination. The two most common species are black.
Legs 6
Shape Segmented; oval
Size 5/8"
Antennae True

Carpenter Ant Habits

Carpenter ants build their nests inside wood, carving out their own tunnels to create habitable space. These ants mainly attack wood that is or has been wet and damaged by mold, as they are attracted to moisture. However, though they invade wet, decayed wood first, they may soon begin building paths through dry, undamaged wood. They find their way inside through cracks around doors, windows, or holes used for wiring. They also tend to gain access to structures using overhead wires, shrubs, or tree limbs that touch buildings far above the ground.

Where Do Carpenter Ants Nest?

Carpenter ants have two types of nests: parent colonies and satellite colonies. Parent colonies are found mainly outdoors in various moist wood sources, including tree stumps, firewood or landscaping. These ants need a constant water source to survive, so their nests are likely to be near standing water. However, these parent colonies can also occasionally be found indoors in damp spaces, such as kitchens, around bathtubs, and inside foam insulation.

Satellite colonies are mainly found in drier locations, such as dried insulation, hollow doors, sound wood, and wall voids. Most carpenter ants will travel back and forth between two colonies. Swarmers, however, generally emerge from the satellite colonies.

What do Carpenter Ants Eat?

Carpenter ants are avid eaters. They enjoy proteins and sugar, finding them in living and dead insects, honeydew, meats, pet food, syrup, honey, etc. However, they do not eat wood.

How to Identify a Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ants are often confused with termites, as both spend a lot of time in wood. However, Carpenter ants have elbowed antennae, a narrow waist, and unevenly sized wings. Carpenter ants can be found in a variety of colors, including black, red, brown, yellow, orange, or red and black. Identification by size is not reliable in this species, since the workers can vary significantly in size.

Signs You Have a Carpenter Ant Infestation

The presence of worker ants inside a building or home can point to an infestation. If you find piles of wood shavings beneath wooden items, there are almost certainly carpenter ants inside. If large, winged ants emerge from any area, an infestation is certain.

How to Prevent a Carpenter Ant Infestation

Because of their attraction to wood and moisture, be sure to check all of the wood around your home. Replace any moisture-damaged wood and keep firewood far away from buildings. Eliminate standing water around your home and trim branches that touch your house.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants forage for food and bring it back to their nests. Lay bait traps around your home, especially in areas where you’ve seen carpenter ants, and let the workers bring the toxins back to the nest. Liquid and granular poisons are the most effective.

For a thorough carpenter ant removal plan, seek the help of a professional. Our team of experts can treat your infestation no matter how bad it has gotten. Contact us using the form below.

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