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What you need to know about carpenter ants

What you need to know about carpenter ants

An invasion of carpenter ants can cause significant damage to your home. These insects burrow into wooden structures such as furniture, staircases and door and window frames to build their nests. Moreover, their presence is particularly annoying. How to recognize them and what to do to eradicate them or prevent an infestation?

How to recognize a carpenter ant?

You will recognize a carpenter ant by the following characteristics:

  • Its imposing size: between 6 mm to more than 2 cm;
  • Its body divided into 3 parts, of which the middle one is very thin and can be black or red in color;
  • Its arched antennas.

In addition, both females and males are winged during the mating season.

What do you need to know about the life of carpenter ants?

Carpenter ants live in colonies. At the top of the hierarchy is the queen who ensures the demographic growth of the group, being the only sexual female of the group. She is able to lay several dozen eggs in a year and her life expectancy is about 17 years.

Then there are the workers, whose longevity is around 7 years. They are sterile and serve as nannies, guardians or scouts. They are also in charge of finding and bringing back food. The males are responsible for swarming during the spring. And in winter, they stay in the nest and are fed by the workers.

What attracts carpenter ants to a house?

Omnivorous, carpenter ants feed mainly on plants, insects, meat or honeydew produced by aphids. Also, they are particularly fond of sweet and protein foods.

In addition, they like to nest in poorly ventilated and humid areas. In short, food and damp corners are the main things that attract them to a home. They enter through gaps in doors and windows, ducts and cracks in walls. Since they live in trees when they are in the wild, they can also be found in firewood that you bring in and store indoors.

How to spot carpenter ants in a house?

Here are some signs that carpenter ants may have taken up residence in a home:

  • You often encounter large black ants indoors, especially in winter when they are supposed to be hibernating, and in damp corners. It is usually the workers who are looking for food;
  • You frequently find sawdust on the floor. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood. They just dig to build their nests;
  • Winged ants seem to emerge from your walls in the spring;
  • You hear unusual noises coming from the ceiling and/or walls during the night;
  • Your food is easily infested by ants.

What damage do carpenter ants do?

As previously mentioned, carpenter ants establish their nests by creating galleries in the woods. This creates a void inside the structures, whether it is a piece of furniture, a door frame, a floor or other, thus reducing their resistance and their lifespan. In addition, these pests are quick to pick up any food scraps you forget to put away.

Is it possible to spot a nest of carpenter ants? How do you do it?

It is possible to spot a carpenter ant nest with care and patience. Here are some interesting tips:

  • Follow the ants you encounter inside the house. They will lead you to their nest. Act at night, as this is when they come out to search for food.
  • Take a close look at all damp, poorly ventilated and poorly lit areas of the house, as there is a good chance that they have taken up residence there.
  • Be aware of the noises you hear during the night.

However, it should be noted that there may be several nests in the same building. At some point, queens do indeed lay sexed eggs. Once they reach adulthood, the females create their own colonies in the surroundings.

How to get rid of carpenter ants that infest the house?

Even after locating one or a few nests, it is usually difficult to completely eradicate carpenter ants from the home on your own. Insecticides are available on the market, but they usually only cover up the problem by making the animals flee to another place.

Therefore, we strongly recommend that you call a qualified professional to ensure an effective and permanent extermination. He has the knowledge and equipment to meet your needs and restore comfort to your home.

Call on us!

At Brisebois Extermination, we put at your service qualified, competent and well-equipped technicians who will know how to permanently eradicate carpenter ants from your home. In most cases, they come to your home the same day you call for an inspection visit. Note that you can get a transparent estimate of the intervention by phone in a few minutes.


A carpenter ant colony grows very rapidly and can have as many as 2,000 to 3,000 members within 3 to 6 years of establishing a nest. It is therefore recommended to take the necessary measures and call a professional as soon as you suspect the presence of these insects in your home. After extermination, adopt good habits to avoid recurrence:

  • Do not store your firewood indoors;
  • Find solutions to moisture problems;
  • Avoid leaving food around the house at all costs, especially at night, and store leftover food in airtight containers;
  • Empty the garbage every day.