Ants are nuisance insects that can easily invade your home and set up shop in the nooks and crannies of your house. One specific type of ant, the carpenter ant, targets the wooded areas of your home.

A mature carpenter ant colony can contain 50,000 ants. This many ants can cause severe damage throughout your home and property.

Similar to termites, carpenter ants are attracted to wood. But unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat the wood. Instead, they merely use it as their home.

If you suspect a carpenter ant infestation in your home, contact professionals right away before too much damage is done.

How to Identify Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are typically reddish-black and have segmented bodies like other ants. They have six legs, antennae, and oval-shaped segments.

To begin their colonies, carpenter ants attack wet or moldy wood. Once the wood has dried, they will continue burrowing and creating tunnels. 

The mating process begins with swarming. Males with wings will find mates and form new colonies, often near the original location. However, it takes a few years for carpenters to establish an entire colony.

How to Know if You Have Carpenter Ants

many carpenter ants on wood

Carpenter ants have a few identifiers that help you catch a problem early.

Because carpenter ants attack wood, there are a few tell-tale signs of an infestation. These include ant gallery walls, small openings on various surfaces of wood in your home, and wood shavings that resemble sawdust.

If you have a large enough infestation, you may also hear a faint rustling sound in your home. The affected wood area may also sound hollow when you knock on it.

Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat the wood, so they have to venture out for food. Like many other ants, this species enjoys sweet, sugary food. So, you may also see workers roaming around your home.

Are Carpenter Ants Dangerous?

Carpenter ants can be dangerous. These ants have stronger jaws than other ants so they can chew through wood. Therefore, their bites are more painful.

A carpenter ant’s bite can also inject formic acid, which causes a burning sensation. It’s not severe, but it’s definitely uncomfortable.

If left unnoticed, carpenter ants can also cause significant damage to homes and wood structures. The more there are, the faster they can weaken wood, so it’s critical to get professional help as soon as you suspect an infestation.

How to Find Carpenter Ant Nests

carpenter ants entering their nest

In nature, it’s common to find carpenter ants in various wood sources, including: 

  • Rotting fence posts
  • Damaged tree branches
  • Tree stumps
  • Old firewood
  • Under stones

Additionally, these ants may nest in chimneys, door frames, windows, sinks, and bath traps – all of which are exposed to moisture. 

5 Helpful Tips for Controlling Carpenter Ants

So, how do you control carpenter ants? Check out these five helpful tips.

Eliminate Access Points

The best way to control carpenter ants is to keep them out. Perform a thorough check of your home to ensure there are no gaps or cracks that these insects can enter through. Seal up any cracks you find with caulk.

Address Excess Moisture Issue

a plumber fixing a leaky pipe

Carpenter ants love moisture, so ensure your home has no leaking or damaged pipes, clogged drains, or moist wood. To cut down on moisture, use a dehumidifier.

Maintain Your Yard

Yard maintenance can help eliminate potential homes for carpenter ants. Trim down any branches or plants that grow near your house. Be sure to clean up fall limbs, sticks, and old firewood. Maintain vegetation and don’t let tree stumps sit.

Properly Store Firewood

close up of carpenter ants on a piece of firewood

Firewood is an easy target for carpenter ants because it’s stored outdoors. Cover your wood with a tarp and keep it off the ground to keep it dry. Only bring the wood inside your home when you’re using it for a fire.

Hire Pest Control Experts

Last but not least, let the experts do their jobs. If you have a carpenter ant problem, one of the best things you can do is contact professional pest control.

With Stampede Pest Control, we “Identify, Treat, and Prevent!” Call us today to learn more.