Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are well known as wood-destroying insects. From tunneling out support beams to collapsing wall supports, carpenter ants will remove wood from an entire building if left alone. Carpenter ants do not eat wood but simply remove it, which is a crucial behavior that can help identify a carpenter ant infestation. There are over 1,000 species of carpenter ant.


Pest Description

Carpenter Ant Habits

Carpenter ants begin in damp or soft wood. In the wild, they prefer rotting or dead trees. Once they begin a nest in a damp location, they can slowly hollow out areas surrounding the nest, even tunneling through dry or hard wood. They have colonies with single queens, but once they have grown to a certain size, they will begin to establish satellite colonies outside of the nest, each with their own queen.

This is the true danger of carpenter ants. Their capacity for taking over an entire house should not be underestimated.

Carpenter Ant Identification

Because there are so many species, accurate identification should be performed by a professional.

Carpenter ants don’t eat wood; they create small holes called “kick-holes” and shove wood shavings out of the tunnels. This holes and corresponding sawdust, or “frass”, are both great ways to identify a wood-destroying organism problem, even if you can’t identify the exact insect.

You will occasionally see carpenter ants outside of their tunnels, because they have to travel outside of their tunnels for food sources. They will eat both protein and sugary substances.

Preventing and Eliminating Carpenter Ants

Prevention consists of relatively simple steps:

  • Fix leaks immediately, so they cannot dampen wood
  • Remove any damp wood immediately
  • Seal all utility pipe entrances or other entrances into the walls or home.
  • Commit to inspecting the exterior of your home four times a year. Professional inspections are a great way to make sure you’re protected.


Elimination may be more complicated. Once carpenter ants are within your home’s walls, professionals will need to remove them. Fully removing carpenter ants takes time, as all nests will have to be identified.

A licensed expert can determine the scope of the problem, the origin of the water source, and how best to proceed with removal. At Antworks, we use a variety of different treatment techniques, including wood injection and monitoring.