Carpenter ant, Camponotus vagus, carrying an egg

Carpenter ants are large ants often found inside wooden homes or buildings and can result in structural issues if they form colonies inside your house.

To avoid damage to your house, you must identify their presence as quickly as possible.

To help you spot carpenter ants in your home, this guide will take you through some information on their appearance, behavior, risks, and signs they leave behind.

We will check out how to figure out the signs of carpenter ants in your house.

Understanding Carpenter Ants

Here is some vital information on carpenter ants so that you know what to expect.

1. Appearance and Behavior

Carpenter ants are black and/or red/brown. They are larger than the average ant and usually form much larger colonies too. They are attracted to wet and rotting wood and tend to burrow through the wood over several years.

They are usually found outdoors where they build nests and lay eggs, but smaller nests are also present indoors. They prefer warmer temperatures and dark areas, making them more active at night.

2. Carpenter Ants vs Termites

Carpenter ants are bigger than termites while also being blacker and darker in color. However, termites damage wood much more quickly due to their humongous colonies and burrowing abilities.

Termites are quite messy too. Termites eat wood whereas carpenter ants will burrow into wood.


3. Dangers of Carpenter Ants to Your Home

Carpenter ants do not cause immediate structural issues to your home. If left unchecked for years, they can damage the wooden structure of your house by burrowing through the wood.

4. Common Areas in a Home Where Carpenter Ants Nest

  • Decaying and rotting wooden pieces
  • Attics or basements
  • Near windowsills
  • Creaks in wooden floors
  • Gaps or cracks in wooden doors
  • Old furniture

Signs of Carpenter Ant Infestations

  • Large black ants in or around the home, usually moving around in a trail or near certain parts
  • Wood shavings or sawdust near nests and wooden parts of the house, such as doors, windows, and furniture
  • Hollow or rustling sounds inside walls or woodwork when they move inside the material to build nests and burrow
  • Presence of dead ants or their wings that they usually discard
  • Sagging or discolored wood marks their presence since they are attracted to rotting wood
  • Observing ants swarming or moving along specific routes for food or nesting
  • Damaged wooden structures or furniture in the form of tunnels, holes, bite marks, and burrows
  • Identifying satellite nests by looking for smaller nests around relatively drier parts of the house

Using Professional Exterminator to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are tough to get rid of, so if you spot large infestations or colonies, it is best to call a professional exterminator.

1. When to Consider Professional Help

Opt for professional help if the colonies are large and you spot some major damage. Bites, allergies, food damage, and illnesses are some situations in which you will need professional solutions, especially when chemical treatments do not work.

2. What to Expect from a Professional Exterminator

Professional exterminators will inspect the infested area and consider the best solution to get rid of them. They will then make use of advanced equipment and tools along with strong sprays to destroy colonies. They can also access otherwise remote areas that you might not be able to reach.

3. How to Find a Reputable Pest Control Company

Find a reputable pest control company by looking for options online and going through their reviews and ratings. You can also simply ask around. Make sure you consider the costs, methods, safety, and durability of the treatment.

Chemical Treatments for Carpenter Ants

Natural remedies are usually not enough for carpenter ants due to their size and power, which is why you should opt for stronger treatments.

Our Pick

Carpenter Ant Kit


If you need to get rid of carpenter ants then this kit will work for you. It comes with 12 bait place stations, bait from Maxforce, Temprid spray, and gel bait single tube.

Make sure you follow the directions and protect yourself when working with chemicals.

  • Ant bait kit has 2 unique baits to kill ants
  • Temprid knocks them down and it is a residual repellent
  • With ant bait, the ants spread it through the ant nest
  • Chemicals are toxic wear rubber gloves

Tips for Preventing Carpenter Ant Infestations

  • Seal all gaps and cracks in your house.
  • Repair leaks in pipes.
  • Get rid of trash frequently.
  • Clean the house often.
  • Seal and store food properly without leaving it out.
  • Never keep rotting or wet wood in the house.
  • Deal with firewood quickly.
  • Use caulk for small gaps.

How to Locate and Destroy Carpenter Ant Nests

Use the rustling sounds and follow trails to locate the satellite nest. You can then destroy them using:

  • Slow bait
  • Insecticides
  • Silica gel

Natural Treatment Options

  • Boric acid or borax
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Baking soda
  • Sweeteners
  • Herbs and spices
  • Essential oils

Note that some of these are not made to get rid of colonies. This may kill some carpenter ants but it will not kill them all.


Carpenter ants are common around wooden structures and damp wooden areas of your house. You will want to look for crawling ants, wood shavings, rustling sounds in walls, discarded wings, or dead ants to locate the infestation.

Use chemical treatments to get rid of carpenter ants and keep things cleaned up around the home. If you do not want to deal with it you can simply call a professional pest control company.


How long do carpenter ants live?

Carpenter worker ants tend to live for 12 months if left untouched. The queen carpenter ant can live up to 10 years. It takes 3-6 years to build a large colony.

Do carpenter ants bite or sting?

Carpenter ants do not sting but might end up biting you if they feel threatened, resulting in an itchy and painful mark on your skin.

Are carpenter ants attracted to certain types of wood?

Wood that is damp or wet, soft, rotting, and moldy tends to attract carpenter ants.

Can carpenter ants cause structural damage to a home?

Carpenter ants can cause structural damage to a home since they bite and burrow into wood to build their nests and colonies. However, this takes several years.

What is the difference between black ants and carpenter ants?

Carpenter ants are larger than black ants and have a single element between their head and thorax, while black ants have two. The head is rounder in black ants too, not to mention that black ants do not cause structural damage.

How can I tell if I have carpenter ants or termites in my home?

Take a look at the pictures we show above to see the physical differences.

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