Everything You Need To Know About Carpenter Ants

One of the largest ant species in the United States, the carpenter ant is a frequent guest in many homes. This is not the type of carpenter that brings hammers and nails to your house for some quick fixups, but rather the kind that can cause damage to your house. Learn all about carpenter ants, how to stop them from ruining your property, and how to get rid of them once and for all!

What Do Carpenter Ants Look Like?

Carpenter ants are one of the largest ant species and can range from 1/4-inch to 3/4 -inches long. Depending on the colony species, they can range from black to a variety of different colors like brown, red, yellow, orange, or a mixture of colors combined.

Some carpenter ants have wings. These are carpenter ant swarmers, which are winged adult ants that leave the colony to mate and create new colonies. If you spot these ants, then a colony is probably close by. These ants tend to be bigger than the normal carpenter ant workers.

Normal carpenter ant workers are usually in the colony and are responsible for providing food to the queen and larvae, while also protecting the nest.

How To Identify Carpenter Ant Damage

Although these ants might seem small, they can cause major damage and destruction to your home. Their damage often gets mistaken for termite damage because both pests are associated with wood destruction. Here are some ways that you can identify that your problem is carpenter ants:

  • Clean, hollowed-out wood – These ants keep wood polished and cleaned, unlike termites which might bring dirt into the tunnels.
  • Shavings of wood – When tunneling, carpenter ants can leave shavings from the wood in front of tunnels and also in tunnels, where they might store debris and excess supplies. Carpenter ants don’t eat the wood, so it’s often found in piles below the tunnels, on the walls, or floors.
  • Noise – Crunching sounds can indicate that these ants are tunneling throughout your home.

Carpenter ants are attracted to moist softwood. Typically, in the spring or the summer, they emerge from vents, windows, or the baseboards of your home. Drawn to damp areas, they can build colonies in vents, attics, basements, pipes, wiring, or any hollow places in your walls. They also build their colonies in places that are more decayed, damp, or damaged as it’s less work for them to build their colony!

The damage that can result from these ants can range from being harmless to costing thousands of dollars for your home. If ants target the beams and the foundation of a structure, it can weaken the home as a whole and can cause extensive damage.

These ants can go unnoticed for the most part because the damage might be hidden, and you won’t see them in your kitchen or near your food. Traveling up to 100 feet, they often search for their food and other things they need to survive outside your home.

When you start to notice these signs, it’s important to make sure you act. An infestation of carpenter ants can get out of hand fast. The appearance of larger ants with wings around your home(usually around windowpanes)usually means there’s an infestation and that you may have more than one colony on your hands. The more ants and the larger the colonies, the higher the likelihood of damage.

colony of ants

How to Prevent Carpenter Ants

The best thing that you can do to stop carpenter ants from coming into your house and destroying the wood is by taking preventative measures.

Here are some ways that you can stop these pests before they make an entrance into your home:

  • Make sure that you don’t have leaky pipes or vents
  • Seal cracks along the perimeter of your home
  • Store firewood away from your home
  • Check that your gutters aren’t collecting moisture
  • Get rid of decayed wood in your yard
  • Trim trees and vegetation so that they aren’t touching the house

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Getting rid of carpenter ants might seem overwhelming, especially if you know that you’re dealing with a colony (or perhaps more than one colony). But don't fret, we have some tips that can help you eliminate these ants from your home.

Baiting is a great way that you can lure ants out of their colony while learning where their colony is located. Terro® Perimeter Ant Bait Plus is a great way to eliminate ants before and after they enter your home. Use around the perimeter of your house for lasting protection of up to 4 weeks!

Once you know where their colony is, or the most frequent paths they travel, cleaning these areas essentially erases the scent trails they use to get around your home. Carpenter ants rely heavily on pheromones to find food and ways back to their colonies. Wiping down these surfaces that you’ve seen them travel across can get rid of the scent trail.

Solutions like Terro® Carpenter Ant and Termite Spray eliminates ants on contact. Apply this spray around doors, windows, behind appliances, and anywhere else you might find ants. This spray can last up to 4 months and can be used inside or out. Sprays can easily get into the crevices and spaces that you might not be able to reach so easily.

You can learn more about carpenters ants and how to control them at our learning center!

Stop Ants from Marching into Your Home

Check out more of our ant products that you can use at home to make sure you’re the only one making your house a home. Here at Terro®, we know that it might seem impossible to keep your home all to yourself. However, with our products, we aim to stop insects from crawling (or flying) into your home before they have the chance to pester you or cause damage. Be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter to get the latest and greatest information for your home defense against bugs!

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