Facts About Carpenter Ants (2023)

August 11, 2019

Carpenter ants are one of the largest ants in the United States, particularly in Texas. Compared to other species, Carpenter ants can grow up to 1/4 inch in length. You would be surprised how queen ants can grow. Queen carpenter ants can grow more than 9/16 inch long. The common species of carpenter ants are dull in colour, usually black or brown, with reddish legs and a lining of golden hair covering their abdomens. Some species, on the other hand, are black with a combination of red or a combination of brown.

Carpenter Ants: Interesting Facts You Should Know

Some of us do not know enough about carpenter ants, except that they can be damaging to homes and properties. To get to know this species better, here are some of the most important facts you need to know about carpenter ants.

1. Carpenter Ants are hard-working ants can carry more than seven times their own weight. The crazy part is, they can do this with their teeth!

2. If we think about pests, we often think of them as dirty, and messy insects. However, Carpenter Ants are very different than the rest. These creatures are very tidy. They have the instinct to dispose of old food and dead ants from their surroundings.

3. Did you know that carpenter ants have the ability to disinfect their food? You got that right! The resins they collect from their travels are used to disinfect their nests along with their potential food. Now we know that Carpenter Ants can be as sanitary as humans and are less likely to transmit bacteria.

4. Just like other ant species, Carpenter Ants do not need to see to travel or forage food. They secrete different types of pheromones to signal one another where to go and what to do. There is a specific pheromone for each event such as danger, food, potential shelter, and mating.

(Video) 15 Facts About The Carpenter Ant (featuring Camponotus Herculeanus)

5. Carpenter ants can be quite dangerous to human beings when the bite. Did you know they can inject some form of acid to your skin which could trigger an irritation? This is one of the reasons to avoid carpenter ant infestation.

6. Carpenter ants live in colonies. They are also divided into castes that define their responsibilities. Each colony can reach a population from 2000 to 3000 ants.

7. When a colony reaches this many ants, they start to produce winged male and female swarmers for mating. These winged ants are sexually mature ants that will soon start their own colonies. Mating for Carpenter Ants is the same as the others. They swarm in a specific time of the year, usually summer or spring or to mate.

8. If you see large, black ants in your home, this is one of the preliminary signs o a carpenter ant infestation. It means that capable ants have created an entrance somewhere around you and it has given way to more ants to infest.

9. Another common signal of a pest infestation is the observation of numerous winged ants in your environment. If you ever see signs of infestation, it is best to call for a local exterminator in Denver to help you solve your problems.

10. Some people think that Carpenter Ants eat wood. Actually, they only create a tunnel through it. So, if you observe sawdust all over your porch or windows, keep a good watch for other signs. Better yet, do the necessary measures for prevention.

11. Carpenter ants produce frass - a term to define the sawdust they leave as a trail during an infestation. You can find frass around areas where carpenter ants are infesting and doing damage.

12. Carpenter ants are often likened to Subterranean Termites which damage wooden homes and furniture too. However, there is something that makes these species unique from each other. Did you know that Subterranean termites die when they are exposed to air for a long period of time? This is the reason why they need to dig holes immediately to save themselves from the damage that air causes to their body. In contrast, Carpenter ants do not have that kind of limitation. They can come out and enjoy the wind and sun whenever they want to. They can crawl outdoors whenever they want.

13. When carpenter ants crawl, they can cause serious damage to their surroundings. It usually looks like knife carvings on wood.

(Video) 5 CRAZY Facts About Carpenter Ants

14. Carpenter ant is attracted to damaged wood. They love to start infesting wooden areas recently damaged by water. This helps people track down carpenter ants faster than termites.

15. Unlike termites, the symptoms of ant infestation can be very obvious. For termites, the infestation could get so much worse and the homeowner still cannot notice it. This makes the structures irreparable.

16. Carpenter ants usually start on exterior structures and they work their way inside. If you see damages on your fence posts, deck, patio, or borders, better watch out for more signs before you take the necessary precaution to prevent infestation.

17. If carpenter ants infest your home, you will often hear “rustling” or “crackling” sounds coming from your walls, doors, or other wooden structure or furniture.

18. You can also find carpenter ants outside your house, especially around areas of full of moisture such as stored trash, water fixtures, and moist landscaping.

19. Outdoors, carpenter ants can be found on rotting fence posts, stumps, fallen logs, dead trees, and old firewood. They can also be found under stones and logs.

20. Carpenter ants create smooth and clean tunnels on wood. These tunnels allow these ants to move safely from one place to another.

21. Carpenter ants are very destructive, especially in Texas. They hollow out wood, damaging it completely, and making it useless.

How To Eliminate Carpenter Ants

Despite the positive facts about the species, you do not want these ants on your property. Our homes are our best investment and we must do everything we can to protect it and maintain its strength and stability. Here are some of the most common ways to get rid of carpenter ants:

(Video) Interesting Facts About Carpenter Ants

  • The first step is to find the nest. This is the most important way to remove carpenter ants. If you find their nest, you will know which areas to target with several exterminating activities. Finding the nest requires keen observation. It is not just about glancing or seeing a place. It means turning every rock to find their nest. If you do not find it, it could lead to a very serious situation. They can be as damaging as termites. Who knows how fast they can work on your wooden structures?

  • As we have discussed, carpenter ants love moisture very much. So, to eliminate these species, maintain a correct moisture condition that will not make your environment conducive to Carpenter Ants.

  • Treat carpenter ants with a bait. This is one of the greatest and cheapest ways to get rid of carpenter ants. Since they love moist, you can set traps using wet cardboard and leave it around areas where carpenter ants are common. Leave it there before sleeping and dispose of in the morning. This might not eliminate Carpenter Ants for good but it will help lessen their population.

  • You need to remember to monitor the use of pesticides as a DIY treatment. This could do more harm than good to your environment. Pesticides consist of harmful substances that can cause illnesses to humans and animals especially when administered properly. If you plan to use chemicals for pest control, make sure to follow the directions by the manufacturer.

  • To be sure, you can always call for Lake Norman Pest Control - the best pest control service in North Carolina. This company has been proving top-quality service for more than 50 years. If you want safe and competent extermination and prevention, this is the best company to call.

How To Prevent The Infestation Of Carpenter Ants

Why exterminate if you can prevent? Here are some ways to prevent the infestation of ants inside and outside your home.

  • Conduct a weekly or monthly inspection of your home. Inspect the whole perimeter and look for possible entryways of insects. Inspect the gutters for any damage. Plus, you can also observe the walls for any cracks, crevices, or fissures. These are the main entryways of carpenter ants.

  • As we have discussed, carpenter ants are attracted to moist. To prevent any infestation, fix spigots and leaky hoses or pipes.

  • Trim the trees and bushes around you to allow sunlight to reach your home. This is a natural way to fix wet wood.

    (Video) Carpenter Ants (Camponotus) | AntsCanada Tutorial

  • Also, remember to remove food sources in your garden or lawn.

  • Another way to prevent a Carpenter Ant infestation, move firewood and wooden construction materials at least 20 feet away from your home properly.

  • Store your trash as far away from your home as possible. The crumbs and leftovers could attract ants and other insects.

  • Lastly, you can maintain a border of 2 feet between your mulches and your home foundation. You can also consider replacing the mulches with crushed stone.

Tags: ant control ant prevention ant management

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(Video) Fact about carpenter ants


How long do carpenter ants stay around? ›

Carpenter ants have a life expectancy of six to 12 weeks as they develop from eggs to adulthood, however cold weather can extend a carpenter ant's life cycle to as many as 10 months. Because of their short life cycle, it can take anywhere from three to six years to develop a sizable, thriving colony.

How big is a colony of carpenter ants? ›

A mature carpenter ant colony may contain as many as l0,000 individuals. Typically, only 10 percent to 15 percent of the workers are outside the nest searching for food including insects and a variety of human foods such as meats and sweets.

Where are carpenter ants most common? ›

Carpenter ants prefer to nest in moist wood or structures already damaged by other insects. As a result, most carpenter ant nests are found in decaying wood in areas such as windows, chimneys, sinks, doorframes or bath traps and in hollow spaces such as wall voids.

Do carpenter ants pick up their dead? ›

Cleaning Up

Actually, the ants are out to pick up their dead family members, the very ants you killed. Ants keep a fairly clean house. They carry their waste matter outside of their nest and dispose of it in a pile called a midden. As well as being a kind of dumpster, the midden also functions as a cemetery.

Do carpenter ants remove their dead? ›

Ants, bees, and termites all tend to their dead, either by removing them from the colony or burying them. Since these social insects form densely crowded societies that face many pathogens, disposing of the dead is as a form of preventive medicine.

Is there a queen carpenter ant? ›

A carpenter ant colony can consist of thousands of workers, but typically only one queen. Like other ant species, the carpenter ant queens are responsible for laying eggs. Winged male swarmers exist to mate with the female swarmers. Shortly after mating, male carpenter ants die, having accomplished their only task.

How strong is a carpenter ant? ›

Carpenter Ants Are Strong

They can lift things which are seven times their weight! That's how strong these species are. In some studies, they are known to carry 50 times their weight which makes them amazing. With their small bodies, they have muscles that allow them to lift heavy things.

Do carpenter ants eat sugar? ›

These large ants feed on sources of protein and sugar. Outdoors, they eat living and dead insects and are also fond of honeydew. Indoors, carpenter ants will feed on meats and pet foods and syrup, honey, sugar, jelly, and other sweet foods.

Can carpenter ants fly? ›

Flying Carpenter Ants

Both the worker ants and queen are wingless, but the swarmers possess wings. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see “flying ants” around your home if you are dealing with a carpenter ant issue on your property. Carpenter ant swarmers have two sets of wings.

Are carpenter ants poisonous? ›

Carpenter ants can bite, but they rarely bite humans and they are not venomous. When they do bite it does not cause any damage.

What happens if a carpenter ant bites you? ›

Carpenter ant bites aren't serious and don't appear as a distinct bug bite or sting. You may notice a bite if you've been outside and near a colony. There is a chance your skin could be a bit red in color from the bite, but it shouldn't be severe. You could feel a burning sensation after the bite.

Do ants get sad? ›

Turns out ants don't really mourn or grieve or even have graveyards for the same reasons we as humans do. It all comes down to chemicals and smells and pheromones.

Can ants feel pain? ›

As far as entomologists are concerned, insects do not have pain receptors the way vertebrates do. They don't feel 'pain,' but may feel irritation and probably can sense if they are damaged. Even so, they certainly cannot suffer because they don't have emotions.

Can ants fall to death? ›

Ants wont die from being dropped from any height, their weight to surface area is so low that the ant will never hit a velocity that is terminal. for an ant to die from a fall they would have to be falling somewhere with a lot less air resistance or a lot more gravity.

Do ants feel emotion? ›

Ants don't have complex emotions such as love, anger, or empathy, but they do approach things they find pleasant and avoid the unpleasant. They can smell with their antennae, and so follow trails, find food and recognise their own colony.

Why do ants love sugar? ›

Sugar Equals Energy

Since sugar is the edible equivalent of energy, ants recognize this and will go farther and work harder to seek out sweet things more than other foods. Sugar, honey and other forms of sweeteners will give them the energy they need to keep being the nonstop workers that they are.

Are ants blind? ›

Compared to vertebrates, ants tend to have blurrier eyesight, particularly in smaller species, and a few subterranean taxa are completely blind. However, some ants, such as Australia's bulldog ant, have excellent vision and are capable of discriminating the distance and size of objects moving nearly a meter away.

How smart are carpenter ants? ›

These ants are very smart, and their life's purpose is to forge for food and to build nests. Carpenter ants are pretty easy to identify.

What is the biggest carpenter ant in the world? ›

The black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) is one of the largest and most common species of carpenter ant native to the central and eastern United States as well as eastern Canada.

Can carpenter ants live in dirt? ›

Do carpenter ants nest in the ground and leave mounds in the soil? They do not. Rather, carpenter ants build their nests in pieces of dead wood either outside or inside your home. If you are seeing mounds in your soil, you likely have a different ant species in your yard.

Do carpenter ants walk fast? ›

BIOLOGY. Carpenter ants are fast moving and stop only to feed or share food with other ants. They are most active at night.

How painful is a carpenter ant? ›

Carpenter ant bites feel like sharp pinches because they are and may be quite painful. The same acid found in bee stings, formic acid, might be injected into the wound during a bite, making the pain worse. The bite pain, felt immediately, is accompanied by a prolonged burning sensation if formic acid is involved.

What eats a carpenter ant? ›

Carpenter Ants are a main source of food for young grouse and pileated woodpeckers. Smaller woodpeckers, along with some songbird species, also eat ants. Now for some not so well-known animals that eat ants: toads, frogs, lizards, and at least one species of salamander like to eat ants!

Do carpenter ants eat salt? ›

Do ants eat salt? Ants do eat salt; in fact, some studies even suggest that they prefer salty snacks to sugary ones. This means that the 'line of salt' method is highly unlikely to work, and may even attract more ants into your house.

Do carpenter ants eat clothes? ›

They chew holes in our clothes. They stain our furniture. And they can even eat away at the structure of our homes.

Do carpenter ants eat plastic? ›

Carpenter ants have even been known to chew through certain types of plastic.

Are carpenter ants active all year? ›

Yes, carpenter ants in the wild will go dormant in the winter to survive the cold. However, if during the summer or fall the carpenter ants found a warm place to nest, such as your home, they will stay active during the winter.

Do carpenter ants leave on their own? ›

If you're dealing with a carpenter ant infestation, you may be wondering if there's any way to get rid of them without resorting to chemicals or calling in an exterminator. Although carpenter ants will eventually die off on their own if their food source disappears, this process could take months or even years.

Do carpenter ants come back every year? ›

Yep. Don't think that just because your nostril hairs freeze every time you walk out into the winter chill that your home is safe from carpenter ants. Ants come back every year, no matter how much snow you get. That means they know how to hide from the winter chill.

How do you get rid of carpenter ants permanently? ›

The most common solution is to use an insecticide that contains pyrethroids. The trick is getting insecticidal spray or dust into the nest. You should never spray liquids around electrical outlets or junction boxes, but insecticidal dust can be used in these areas.

Can carpenter ants see in the dark? ›

Unlike their pharaoh and Argentine cousins, carpenter and sugar ants keep their colonies running at full speed 24/7. You rarely see them in the moonlight, but they can see you. The insects have remarkable night vision because their huge eyes are filled with wide photoreceptors.

Can carpenter ants jump? ›

They can jump into your food as some of these ants have wings.

What kills carpenter ants inside? ›

A simple mixture of soap and water is toxic to carpenter ants. Mix one part natural dish soap to two parts water in a spray bottle. Spray as needed to kill ants and eliminate their pheromone trails. Continue to treat problem areas until the ants no longer return.

Does rain Bring carpenter ants? ›

Rain and moisture attract many unwanted pests

Here are some of the pests and bugs that are significantly motivated to locate a moisture source in and around your home to live and breed: ants. carpenter ants.

How fast do carpenter ants multiply? ›

It takes about sixty days for new eggs to become full grown workers according to the carpenter ant life cycle.

What temperature do carpenter ants live in? ›

Ants from outdoor nests are limited by temperature – they are not active until the ground temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Periods of rain in the spring may lead to increased activity indoors.

What kills carpenter ants the best? ›

Among the many carpenter ant pesticides available in stores, boric acid is one of the most readily available products for controlling carpenter ants and other ant species. Although boric acid can be an effective killer of carpenter ants, the bait mixture must be applied according to the label.

What does the queen carpenter ant look like? ›

The carpenter ant queen is a fertilized, functional female of the colony. She is wingless, about 13 -25 mm long, colour is dependent on species but often range from dark brown, reddish, yellow, or black tones. Similar in appearance to worker ants, the queen's body is divided into a head, thorax, and abdomen, or gaster.

What trees do carpenter ants like? ›

Carpenter ants love logs and stumps, but they also love to nest in trees, especially older ones that have a lot of wood that is dead and/or decayed. When nesting, carpenter ants use trees with wood that is already decayed because of the high amount of moisture found in those trees.


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