When we think about ants, we think of insects that crawl around the kitchen looking for some sugary spills or some food crumbs. We may also think of them as these industrious insects that always find something to work on. However, there is one ant species which you need to be really careful of – the carpenter ant.

How carpenter ants start colonies

Carpenter ants are interested in woods of all kinds, but they prefer wood that is decaying or damp. If you have moisture issues that are caused by leaks, you are much more at risk of getting a carpenter ant infestation. Since they are small, they have many ways to gain access to the home, such as unsealed openings near utility pipes and wiring.

How serious are carpenter ant infestations?

Since carpenter ants infest wood, they can do quite a bit of damage, if they are left to their own devices. Long-term carpenter ant infestations will often lead to multiple colonies being built in the home, and they can cause serious structural and cosmetic damage.

The signs of a carpenter ant infestation

Unlike termites, carpenter ants have to leave their colony in order to find food. Oftentimes, homeowners will discover a carpenter ant infestation when they see large, black worker ants with big jaws crawling around the kitchen. You may also notice swarmers in the home – winged ants that fly around, or you may come across their wings placed neatly in a pile.

Carpenter ants also produce a lot of debris as they tunnel through the wood, and they will evacuate this debris through tiny exit holes. You may notice piles of what looks like rough wood shavings mixed with dead insect parts. Finally, if you suspect that a piece of wood is infested, you can listen for rustling sounds coming from the wood.


In order to deal with carpenter ants properly, you will have to destroy the entire nest, which means killing the queen. This is unlike dealing with other ant species, where you can use repellents to keep them out of certain areas of the home. To kill the queen, a pest control pro will lay out slow-acting insecticides around areas of the home that have high levels of ant activity, and then wait until the whole colony is destroyed. If you have any questions about this control process, or if you have a carpenter ant infestation that has to be removed, contact us today.