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Carpenter Ants
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Carpenter Ant Identification & Prevention

Large, shiny black ant that is more active in the early evening hours.


Carpenter ants excavate galleries in wood and are considered wood-destroying organisms because of this habit. Carpenter ants construct their colonies in areas with excessive moisture such as spots where your roof or pipes have leaked. Colonies are difficult to locate because they are located in hard-to-reach areas and by separate, smaller satellite colonies. Seeing foraging ants in homes and buildings does not necessarily indicate an active carpenter ant infestation within the structure. Many times carpenter ants foraging within homes are originating from outside sources, such as woodpiles and trees.

Biology and Behavior

  • These large, black, shiny ants can range between 1/4 and 1/2 an inch long.
  • Polymorphic: meaning ants of the same colony can vary in size.
  • Excavates galleries in the wood but does not use the wood as a food source.
  • Chewed-up wood pieces and dead insects indicate the presence of nest(s).
  • You will find nests in areas with excessive moisture or water leaks.
  • They can be found in solid, sound wood but prefer water-damaged wood.
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Carpenter Ant Prevention Tips

  • Identify nest locations. Nighttime inspections are best.
  • Keep shrubs, vines, and tree limbs trimmed away from the structure.
  • Mulch should be less than 3 inches deep. However, gravel perimeters around a structure are best.
  • Remove garbage daily and store refuse-holding containers outside.
  • Fill window and door frame gaps, utility openings, and cracks with a sealant.
  • Remove leaf litter and yard wastes from around a structure's foundation.
  • Don't stack lumber, firewood, bricks, or other debris next to the foundation.
  • Treat plant-feeding insects with an appropriate insecticide.
  • Wash ant trails with a mild detergent to eliminate pheromone cues left for other ants.

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Helpful Articles About Carpenter Ants