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Carpenter Ants

What do carpenter ants look like?


carpenter ant on a rock in il

Carpenter ants can be black, red, yellow, or a combination of those colors depending on the specific species. Adult workers can grow to between 1/8th and 1/2 of an inch in length; queens often grow to between ¾ and 1 inch in length. They have an oval shaped, segmented body, six legs, and antennae; and workers have large, strong mandibles. These mandibles are strong enough to cause a painful pinch to a person. Carpenter ants can be distinguished from other ant species by their one node waist and their thorax that has an evenly rounded upper surface. The most common species of carpenter ant found in our area is the black carpenter ant; adults grow to between ¼ and ¾ of an inch and are completely black except for the yellow hairs coming off their abdomen.

Where are carpenter ants found?

Carpenter ants are attracted to wood that has been previously damaged by water. Outside, these ants are found creating their nests in tree stumps, in fallen trees, in piles of firewood, and in landscaping timbers. They often invade homes while foraging for food sources, entering inside through cracks found in the foundation and exterior walls, gaps found around windows and doors, and through the spaces found around utility lines and wires. Once inside, the carpenter ants start to invade a home’s structural wood, especially if it has been previously weakened by water damage. They tunnel through the wood and create nesting galleries. Once the colony is established, they won’t hold back and will begin attacking sound wood as well as water damaged wood.

What do carpenter ants eat?

Carpenter ants prefer proteins and sugars; and it is important to note that they do not feed on the wood they are invading. They simply excavate through it. Outside, carpenter ants find and feed on insects and honeydew that is left behind by aphids and scale insects. When foraging for food inside homes, they feed on a variety of things but favor sweets and meats. Workers generally only travel about 100 yards from their nest while foraging for food.

Because of this, finding carpenter ants in or around your home is a very good indicator that there is a nesting site located inside or close to your house.

DIY carpenter ant prevention and control tips

Carpenter ants can cause extensive structural damages to homes and other properties that can become very expensive to repair. The following tips can help to prevent and control these damaging pests in and around your home.

  • Keep branches from trees and shrubs trimmed back away from the exterior of your home.
  • Remove areas of standing water found near your home.
  • Replace structural wood that has been damaged by water.
  • Help to prevent water damage inside your home by fixing leaky pipes and fixtures, and use de-humidifiers in the damp areas of your home like crawl spaces, laundry rooms, and basements.
  • Place firewood up off the ground and keep it a distance away from the outside of your home.
  • Remove tree stumps and fallen trees from your property.
  • Seal cracks and crevices found in your home’s foundation, caulk gaps found around windows and doors, and seal spaces found around utility wires and lines.

Professional carpenter ant control

Quik-Kill Pest Eliminators offers effective carpenter ant control services that eliminate existing infestations and that prevent these wood destroying ants from returning. Our team of pest control technicians have the knowledge and experience needed to combat carpenter ants and will conduct a thorough inspection of your property to identify nesting areas and other sensitive spots. Based on the assessment, we’ll recommend a treatment plan. Contact us today to discuss your carpenter ant problem and how we can help! 

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