Identifying Carpenter Ants: A Quick Guide

Worried those might be carpenter ants munching away on your home or garage? That’s certainly a good possibility, and until you know for certain, you should be quite wary of the little creatures. Here’s a quick guide that may help you tell whether your home is in serious danger or you’ve just spotted a passing ant or two.

What They Look Like


Carpenter ants are some of the biggest ants you’ll find. While there are several different species around, you’re usually going to see the ones that are red or black in color, and they range in size from 3/8  of an inch to 5/8 of an inch.  The queens, though, can be as large as an inch. In most cases, however, you won’t actually spot a queen. These ants typically have a waist with one node and a thorax that’s evenly rounded.

What They Do

Despite a number of misconceptions, these guys don’t actually feast on your house. Instead, they eat primarily protein and sugar. If you see them outside, you might see them consuming dead insects. They’re also attracted to the honeydew from aphids. If you’ve left the remains of your picnic outside, you may also find they’re attracted to the sweets. They typically forage for food between sunset and midnight during the warmest months, and workers can travel up to one hundred yards in search of food.

Where You’ll Find Them

Carpenter ants love moist wood, so if you have a problem with them, you’ll most likely see them in spots that have been damaged by moisture recently. The tunnels they make are actually for nesting purposes. You could find them behind a bathroom tile, around the tub, or even near the dishwasher. If you’ve had a roof leak, you could even find them in your attic beams if they were damaged by the leak. It’s also possible to find them inside wall voids or in foam insulation.

What’s the Worry?

Carpenter ants, once they invade, begin to create galleries and tunnels in the wood. The longer they’re present, the more damage they can do, and if they’re invading, the structural integrity of your home is most certainly at risk.

Worried that you may have carpenter ants in your home? Contact us today to learn more.

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