Skip to Content

How To Tell When You Have Carpenter Ants

up close image of a carpenter ant

As a homeowner, it is likely that you will see ants in your home at one point or another. While an ant may just appear to be an "ant" on the surface, there are different species of ants. Most ants are just a nuisance but their are some that can cause extensive damage to the wood of your home. The carpenter ant is a fairly large ant that, unlike other common ants, excavate wood to make room for their nests.  A carpenter ant can grow up to an inch long and is a larger specimen of ant.

Carpenter ants eat other dead insect parts, “honey dew” produced by some aphids and some plant secretions as well as human foods – particularly sweets and meats.

As a carpenter ant colony grows, they will need more and more space for their galleries. Since carpenter ants eat other dead insects, their presence in your home may indicate a secondary pest problem. Carpenter ant damage can be similar to that of termite damage. The major difference between the two is that termites actually "eat" wood while carpenter ants merely remove it to make space for their nests.

Have you seen a winged ant? These are the swarmers or reproductive ants. You won’t see these unless you have an already well established colony that is branching out to create another colony. You are more likely to see workers ants looking for food sources. You may see some wood debris caused from the excavating of the wood as they create their galleries.

If caught early enough, carpenter ant damage may be well recoverable. A colony that is well established and not detected for a long time can cause extensive damage. If you suspect a carpenter ant problem, you will want to contact a professional pest control company. Identifying the ant is important to the elimination process. Once a professional knows it is carpenter ants causing the problem, they will then need to locate the nest. After treating for the current infestation, your professional pest control technician can also give you some key tips on preventing a future infestation. Learn more here!