An insect that can damage wood structures and homes

Carpenter ants are drawn to rotting wood in trees and stumps. Carpenter ants do not digest wood like termites. They take advantage of decaying wood in trees, but do not cause or promote further decay in trees. Wounds to tree bark and broken limbs often lead to attack by decay fungi. A carpenter ant colony consists of a primary nest in a decaying tree near a home or in a moist stump up to 300 feet away.

Infested trees and homes should be treated for control
Primary colonies should be treated to prevent the establishment of satellite colonies in homes or other structures. Over the counter insecticides are often repellants or kill ants on contact. These insecticides do not effectively reach the ants at their source; the nest. Time-released, non-repellant insecticides target the entire colony as it is transferred from ant to ant.

What to look for
• Black or reddish-black ants from 3/8 to 5/8 inch long, some may be winged
• Sawdust-like “frass”: chewed wood particles expelled from the nest
• Carpenter ants are nocturnal: you can follow them at night with a flashlight as they move between your home and the primary nest

Treatment and Prevention
• Keep wood structures protected with proper stain or paint to prevent decay
• Keep gutters clean and in good repair
• Replace any damaged and decaying wood within your home’s structure
• Do not store firewood near your home

Maintain at least 6 feet tree branch clearance from structures to prevent carpenter ant access

Carpenter Ant
Carpenter ants move between the primary and satellite nest sites, creating a constant cycle of movement. It can be difficult to locate the primary nest, making it important to target all the nest sites.
Worker carpenter ants in the satellite nests forage food and deliver it to the larvae in the primary nest.