What Are Signs of Carpenter Ants In The House?

What Are Signs of Carpenter Ants In The House?

We often notice small black ants and big black ants. You’re right, these two are not the same species. The small ones are house ants that are attracted to household foods (eg. fruits, sweets, food waste). The big ones are Carpenter Ants — these you want to worry about. 

As the name suggests, the Carpenter Ant uses wood to make its home; it does not feed on wood like termites. However, they are known for constructing extensive tunneling systems within the timber. If left alone, Carpenter Ants can cause enough damage to affect the structural integrity of items or even buildings. 

How Carpenter Ants Get Around:

Carpenter Ants are attracted to moist wood because it is easier to chew through. This means their nests are usually found in wood that has been dampened by water leaks, for eg. around sinks, pipes, bathtubs, windows and door frames, and hollow spaces like underneath wooden decks or behind washers. image of a carpenter ant tunnel system

Unlike termites that consume wood, Carpenter Ants are unable to digest cellulose. They don’t eat wood; Carpenter Ants create tunnels and nests within the wood that enable movement between different parts of the nest and food sources. 

These big black ants build nests in multiple locations. They construct 2 kinds of nests: 1 for the primary colonies that house an egg-laying queen, her brood, and 2000 or more worker ants; the other for satellite colonies with large numbers of worker ants only. These nests can be both inside and outside the structure, above and underground.

What Carpenter Ants Feed On:

Considered both a predator and a scavenger, the Carpenter Ant feeds on insect parts, “honeydew” produced by aphids (insects that feed on plant sap), and sugary liquids like juices, honey, or syrup. Carpenter Ants mostly forage at night when they collect and consume dead insects. When the worker ants find food sources, they use biochemical pheromones to mark the shortest path between the nest and the food source. This path can be both above and underground and lasts for as long as the food source is available. 

ants carrying a dead insect

What to Watch Out for When You Find Carpenter Ants:

Based on all the above, when you spot Carpenter Ants around, here are the 3 things you want to look out for: Untitled design (29)

If you can’t find any of the above, don’t disturb the ant trail by stamping on them or spraying, etc. Follow the ants until you can tell where they’re coming in from so that you can take the suitable next steps without disrupting them. Remember that when disrupted or threatened, insects will instinctively rebuild their pathways. They will not just go away. 

Prevention measures against Carpenter ants:

It is rarely effective to simply spray insecticide or dust around an infested area without locating and destroying the nests. Carpenter ants inside nests won't be affected by the insecticide much, even though foraging workers will come into contact with the insecticide and die.

Integrated pest management, which combines inspection, prevention, and insecticide treatment, is the most effective way to get rid of carpenter ants.


It's often the most difficult and important part of the carpenter ant control strategy to find both the parent satellite nests. There may be more than one colony in the structure or on the property. To have a thorough inspection, follow the below methods-

  • Find signs of an infestation near isolated areas since this is what attracts carpenter ants.
  • Verify typical nesting locations in buildings.
  • Verify typical nesting locations in landscapes or natural settings.
  • Look for any paths inside or outside the building.
  • Determine which direction the food is traveling by keeping an eye on activities along those routes
  • Observe with red light after sunset.

Control measures can be implemented once the nesting areas have been located. 


Carpenter ants can enter your house through any crack or small aperture, even if it is located many stories above the ground. They do not always achieve this by gnawing their way through the wood. While using preventative strategies, keep a close eye out for these items-

  • Reduce moist conditions as predominantly that is what attracts carpenter ants in a home.
  • Take care to clean up any food particles that have been scattered. Do not leave sugary foods lying around the house.
  • Repair leaky roofs, chimney flashing, blocked gutters, poorly ventilated attics, and faulty plumbing.
  • Get rid of rotten or water-damaged wood. Make sure all wood-to-soil contact is eliminated.
  • It is advisable to cut off tree limbs that are broken and to seal holes in the trunks of trees.  

Insecticide treatment:

It's always advisable to get in touch with a certified pest control specialist as they know exactly what are carpenter ants attracted to. They understand how to inspect properties, locate nests, bait the nests, and apply pesticides correctly. One or more of the methods listed below can be used by the trained pest control specialist-

  • Spraying aerosols over the nest can be effective, especially if there is a lot of insulation there.
  • Using vapors of insecticidal chemicals to penetrate inaccessible areas of a nest, eradicates the colony.
  • The application of perimeter treatments to prevent ant ingress around the building.
  • The use of liquid and granular bait formulations is effective in controlling carpenter ants near entrances and foraging trails

Carpenter ants are an annoyance in our daily lives and their presence in and around our home is neither hygienic nor pleasing. The above-mentioned best practices will greatly assist you in fending them off. However, you may always rely on us if you feel overpowered by their presence and need help right away. We're here to assist you in leading a pest-free life.

What Would ORIGIN Do?

Carpenter Ants are one of the pests people tend to try to live with while hoping that they go away. This is mostly because the impact is usually “manageable”, that is until it’s too late. 

Unfortunately, most of the time, the reality is best to get in a professional. Especially when you or your loved ones are feeling the adverse effects of Carpenter Ants in your life, for example, waking up to bites. 

Our team will conduct a thorough inspection of your premises to find the entry points, and identify ways you can realistically keep them out. And if the situation calls for it, we have the equipment and products to carry out effective treatment for you. 






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