Carpenter Ant Facts

Carpenter ants get their name from their hollowing out galleries in wood as nests.


They can do serious damage to buildings when they cut extensive galleries in structural wood.

Carpenter ants do not sting, but many are rather large and can cause a painful bite if disturbed.. They also give off formic acid, often directed to the spot they are biting.

Signs :

  • Seeing several sizes of worker ants crawling along a counter top
  • Small piles of ragged “saw dust” mixed with dirt particles, fragments of insulation, and insect body parts.
  • Each pile of debris is usually directly below a small hole in some wooden part of a cabinet, window sill or structural part of a building.
  • A swarm of reproductives emerging..most common in Spring.

A mature colony may include 3,000 to 20,000 ants (depending on the species) and will be two to five years old before they produce their first swarm.

Even though these ants first invade wet, decayed wood, they soon begin expanding their smooth-walled galleries into sound wood.

Nearly every carpenter ant colony has two or more sub-nests, with the queen and most reproduction in one “main” nest. That main nest is often outside in a rotten log, tree, stump or post.

Workers often forage as far as 100 meters from the nest. They mainly feed on sweets such as honeydew, plant sap, cereal grains, other insects and even oily or fatty materials.

Carpenter ants can gain entrance into buildings through cracks around doors, windows, or through exterior holes for plumbing, electric wires, TV cables, or phone lines. They also crawl along overhead wires, shrubs or tree limbs which tough the building far above the ground.

Carpenter Ant Control: Determine whether the ants seen inside have a nest in your home or are merely foraging there from the outside.

Tell-Tale signs include:

  • Carpenter ant debris
  • Gallery openings
  • Foraging trails
  • Typical gallery cutting sounds

If they are only foraging from outside they can be excluded by:

  • Sealing, caulking or applying a good chemical barrier.
  • Closing all holes for pipes or wires, and cutting back all trees and shrubs so they don’t touch the building.

If carpenter ants have established a nest in the wood of a structure it is best to contact a pest management professional.


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