How to Tell if Carpenter Ants Are in Your House

Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood. Instead, they create their nests within wooden structures, chewing through the wood to create a home. Generally, carpenter ants prefer moist, hollow, or decayed wood, but they also nest inside homes where there’s a ready supply of sweet food to be had.

Carpenter ants tunnel their way along the wood grain, creating passageways that allow them to travel between nests and food stores. The ants build satellite colonies and parent colonies. The parent colonies contain the queen, her offspring, and the worker ants. Satellite colonies contain worker ants, pupae, and older larvae.

Often, there are several satellite colonies attached to the parent colony, especially in locations where there’s plenty of food and water available. Colonies of ants can be many thousands strong, and the creatures can do considerable damage, weakening structures, and causing extensive, costly damage to your home.

How do carpenter ants get into your home?

Carpenter ants typically use unsealed openings around wires and utility pipes to gain entry to your home, as well as using overhanging tree branches as a bridge to your roof.

Do you need an exterminator for carpenter ants?

Carpenter ants are especially difficult to get rid of once they’ve established a colony deep inside a wooden structure. For that reason, it’s recommended that you use a professional exterminator to remove these pests. An experienced exterminator will have the necessary equipment and expertise to tackle these problem pests far more effectively than most DIY methods can.

The best way to prevent carpenter ants from inflicting damage on your property is to exclude them.

• Have all leaks fixed, including around pipes, drainage systems, and on your roof.

• If there are areas in your home where there are high moisture levels, take action to reduce moisture, such as installing dehumidifiers.

• Where possible, move wood stores or wooden structures that are in contact with the soil outside your home. If you have a firewood store, keep it elevated up off the ground.

• Cut back tree branches and undergrowth that overhangs or touches your house. That will remove potential bridges that could be used by carpenter ants to gain entry to your home.

• Make sure that any cracks in your home’s foundation are sealed.

A good pest exterminator will carry out a home assessment for you and will recommend a carpenter ant exclusion strategy.