Carpenter Ants are ¼ to ½ inch long black or reddish-black insects (there are also slightly larger, winged reproductive forms that leave the nests in spring and early summer) that damage wood and wood-like structures in and around homes, while also giving painful bites to humans.

Damage From Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants leave slit-like holes when they enter wood, which they use as a nesting spot. Piles of sawdust may be found around wood structures such as porches, decks, attics or support beams as Carpenter ants make their nests. While beneficial in nature, they can be very destructive to structural timbers, ceilings and floor areas. Carpenter Ants prefer moist, decaying wood. Look for foraging Carpenter Ants at night with a flashlight covered with red cellophane (they are less likely to scatter). 

While the insects can invade the home, nests of Carpenter Ants are usually located outdoors in moist wood, such as rotting trees stumps or firewood.  That is where the queen lays her eggs.

Where Carpenter Ants are Found Geographically

Carpenter Ants are common throughout the United States.

Related or Similar Pests 

Black Carpenter Ants. Red Carpenter Ants. Florida Carpenter Ants.



Cultural Controls

  • Remove old logs, stumps and woodpiles around your home.
  • Remove leaf litter, eliminating hiding places.  It will also hasten drying.
  • Make sure doors and windows are properly sealed.
  • For additional methods of controlling Carpenter Ants, contact your local cooperative extension service.