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Carpenter Ants

What Do Carpenter Ants Look Like?

Carpenter ants are one of largest ant species found in the United States.

Carpenter ants are usually most active during the spring and summer months and forage for food at night. They vary in color but are generally black or dark bodied and range in size from ¼ - ¾ inch in length.

Although they’re generally larger than other ants, size can’t always be used as an identifying feature with carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are polymorphic which means they can come in a variety of sizes.

For the most part there are three size classes, each with different job classifications. The major workers are the largest ants in a colony and contain most of your large soldier ants.

Media carpenter ants are mid-sized ants and minors are your smallest size category. Media and minor ants do most of the food gathering and colony construction.

Winged Carpenter ants (also known as ‘swarmers’) are sometimes mistaken for termites.

Carpenter ants feed on living and dead insects as well as anything people consume.

an ant

Signs of Carpenter Ants in Your Home

There are a number of signs, which may indicate a Carpenter ant problem in your home.

Winged Carpenter ants (swarmers)

emerging from around baseboards, window casings or vents. They usually emerge in spring or summer and if you see any more than 20, it may indicate the presence of a large colony.


if you hear a crunching sound it could be the sound of rustling from their nests in wood in your home. Nests are usually built in wood structures and can also be found in wall or ceiling voids.


as nests become established in wood, carpenter ants often leave behind a trail of sawdust, which usually leads back to the nest.

Damaged wood

carpenter ants tunnel through wood to create their nests, creating ‘galleries’ in wood, which have a clean, smooth and sandpapered appearance.

To learn more about ant infestations and how to get eliminate them safely from your location, contact a CJ Pest Solutions specialist for a free assessment.

Tips To Prevent Carpenter Ants:

  • Always cover food and store food in containers.
  • Clean up food and liquid spills immediately.
  • Seal any cracks and crevices in your home which may serve as entry ways.
  • Eliminate moisture problems in and around your home – carpenter ants prefer moist places to dry environments.
  • Replace any decayed wood – nests are often found in rotten wood.
  • Store fire wood away from your home and keep it dry and elevated to allow air circulation – firewood is one of the easiest ways to carry these ants into your home, so make sure you check the wood for signs of infestation.
  • Remove nearby rotting or dead trees in your backyard – these often provide ideal conditions for a carpenter ant nest and a good base from which they can explore the area closer or even inside your home. Carpenter ants are known to travel great distances for food.

How To Get Rid of Carpenter Ants in Your Home

The most effective way to get rid of Carpenter ants is to find the nest and destroy it.

Common places to find Carpenter ant nests include hollow doors, window sills, roof areas and wall voids. However, it can sometimes be difficult to find the nest for a number of reasons:

  • Carpenter ants are nocturnal, you will often have to wait for night time to find a trail, which could lead to the nest. To make this more difficult, Carpenter ants do not tend to travel in large numbers, so a trail may be even harder to spot.
  • Carpenter ants don’t usually just set up one nest, but a whole series of ‘satellite’ nests too, which ensures the colony’s survival even if one nest may be destroyed.
  • Carpenter ants can do considerable damage to timber in your home – it may be necessary to replace timbers if they have been very badly damaged. You should ensure that all the ants have been destroyed, before you begin to replace damaged wood in your home.

For these reasons, we recommend that you contact a professional pest controller with years of experience, CJ Pest Solutions 617 285-1000, to get rid of the Carpenter ants for you with a guarantee they will not show up for the remainder of the year.

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