Do you have carpenter ants in your home?

April 27, 2022

Carpenter ants are destructive and can cause significant damage to a home or structure. These ants are industrious builders and build tunnels by drilling through the wood, creating a place for their nests.

What are carpenter ants?

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Group of carpenter ants on the wall. Close up

Carpenter ants get their name from their nest building, where they will excavate the wood and form smooth tunnels inside the wood. Carpenter ants do not eat wood; they only tunnel and chew through wood to create nests.

The western black carpenter ant colony, when mature, contains about 10-20,000 workers, with large colonies of more than 50,000 individuals. There is usually only one functional, wingless queen per colony. Swarmers are not produced until the colony is more than two years old. They are produced in the previous year and held over the winter in the nest for release the following year. Swarmers appear from May until August in the eastern United States and from February through June in the west. (

What do carpenter ants look like?

Carpenter ants are dark-colored and can be exceptionally large, up to 5/8” long! With more than 20 types of carpenter ants in the U.S., it is best to consult with a professional pest control service to identify and confirm the existence of carpenter ants.

How do I know if I have carpenter ants or termites?

Both are social insects and live in colonies and work as a colony to excavate wood.

According to Don’t confuse carpenter ants with termites. Termites are light-colored with broad waists and straight antennae. Winged termites are dark-colored; however, their sets of wings are of equal lengths, whereas the hind wings on carpenter ants are shorter than the front wings.

Carpenter ants do not eat wood as termites do. In the garden, carpenter ants feed on the honeydew (sweet, sugary excrement) produced by aphids, scales, and other plant-damaging insects. They also feed on dead insects for protein.

Do carpenter ants have wings?

Carpenter ants come alive in early spring, sometime in March or April. They remain active until early September to mid-October. The colony releases the reproductive swarmers in the springtime.

Swarmer carpenter ants or ants in flight have wings and are much larger than the carpenter ants on the ground, sometimes up to an inch! These swarming ants are mobile and sexually mature and are meant to mate and develop new colonies of ants.

What are the signs of an infestation?

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Carpenter ant carrying an egg

We have been called by homeowners after they noticed splintered and decaying wood and weakened steps on their wooden deck. The number of visible ants was not significant. Upon inspection, we uncovered the nests and began treatment.

Homeowners will notice piles of discarded wood shavings, and some have heard the ants chewing the wood, evidence of a large colony. Carpenter ant swarmers are an accurate signal of carpenter ant infestation. These winged relatives of carpenter ants are larger and more mobile than the regular carpenter ant.

How do I prevent a carpenter ant infestation?

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The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment created a list of quick tips to help prevent an infestation:

  • Correct roof leaks, plumbing leaks, and other moisture problems that attract carpenter ants.
  • Eliminate wood-to-ground contact, such as where landscaping has moved soil or mulch up against the wood siding of a home.
  • Clip back tree limbs and vegetation touching the roof or siding of the house. Limbs and branches serve as “bridges” between carpenter ants nesting in a dead tree limb and the structure.
  • Seal cracks and openings in the foundation, especially where utility pipes and wires enter from the outside.
  • Stack firewood away from the foundation and elevate it off the ground. Never store firewood in the garage or other areas of the home, as firewood is a prime nesting area for carpenter ants.

Hire a professional pest control company to eradicate carpenter ants.

Carpenter ants present a significant hazard to homes and property. Their nesting habits create weakened structures and opportunities for other pests to enter your home. Treatments are available and are successful when properly dispensed. Accurate pest control’s annual contracts ensure regularly structured treatments supporting colony removal. Homeowners can contact Accurate Pest Control for quick service when carpenter ants are seen on or around the property.

If you see carpenter ants in your home, call us at 518-374-0357 for 24/7 service.

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