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What is a carpenter ant and what can they do to my home?

Abell Pest Control

Not all ants are the same. Take carpenter ants for instance. While this pest is often confused with other ant species, it stands all on its own. If people spot a colony of these ants in their home, they could be in trouble. Get to know this type of ant and figure out why they might be problematic if found near your house.

What are carpenter ants?

Carpenter ants are a species of ants that eat away at any and all wood they come across. They are one of the largest ants in size. Usually they are black or red in color. They can be as large as a half an inch, and queen winged ants can even be one inch.

Carpenter ants are often confused with termites because of their size and the fact that they can be found inside the walls of houses. Carpenter ants usually have two nests, a main nest and a satellite nest. The main nest is usually well established, meaning there are several tunnels inside the wood and hundreds of carpenter ants working on them. Satellite nests have fewer carpenter ants and usually are outside, such as on the ground or near another area of wood, like a wood pile. These nests are used to check out possible future main nests that the colony can thrive in. If the ants find anything they like, they will report back to the main nest and begin the journey. This is effective if the colony is growing and thriving, which usually happens in the warmer months of the year.

Pest control tips

Follow these suggestions to stop carpenter ants in their tracks.

  • Keep wood piles far from the house:
    Wood piles frequently attract unwanted ants, regardless of whether they're carpenter ants or not. Keep all ants out by taking wood to the farthest part of the yard. If you want to keep wood dry in the cold, wet months of the year, cover it in a tarp, or keep dry wood in your garage.
  • Cut back trees and bushes:
    Don't place any shrubs directly up against the house. While carpenter ants might not find a home here, they will try to establish a satellite nest and use the bush or shrub as a form of shelter.
  • Paint all exposed wood:
    If you have a deck or porch, be sure to paint it. Paint will protect the wood from getting wet and will deter carpenter ants from nibbling at it.


About the author:

Abell Pest Control is a family owned Canadian company dedicated to providing effective, professional and courteous service in pest management.Started in 1924 with one office, Abell now employs several hundred people with branch offices across Canada and the United States.

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