Carpenter Ant on Your Property? | The Effective Guide

You can see ants in different colors. Apart from being annoyed at some species like Argentine ants, odorous house ants, and pavement ants, you don’t worry about any threats.

It’s a different story when it comes to carpenter ants. As the biggest ant species, they can bring problems, and worse, they cause serious damage to houses and other buildings.

What should you do if you find a carpenter ant on your property? You have to destroy the nest by applying liquid residual or dust insecticide. It’s the main goal, so you have to observe carpenter ants and locate the nest.

These are the recommended measures as the activities of carpenter ants are similar to termites. But they don’t eat wood as the latter does. They excavate wood to establish their nests resulting in a smooth tunnel.

If ever this happens, you will wonder if the damages are covered by homeowner’s insurance. The policies are not the same for all places, but it’s not common to include damages caused by carpenter ants.

Instead of worrying about whether your homeowner’s insurance covers damages made by carpenter ants, it’s best to know more about them. Learning about their behavior is one way of being vigilant to keep them from destroying your property.

Where Are Carpenter Ants Found?

Where are Carpenter Ants Found

Nine types of carpenter ants are found all over the US. They prefer to inhabit northern regions due to their cool, damp climates. Moreover, they build their nests in tree stumps, firewood, fence posts, or landscape.

You’ll likely find them in wood that got wet because of leaks and water splashes. Thus, damages occur in crawl spaces under roofs, chimneys, soffits, porch supports, bathtubs, sinks, and doorframes.

A long-time colony of carpenter ants can have 10,000 workers or more. So, there are numerous nests whether they settle to live indoors or outdoors. They can pass through holes in wires, cracks on windows and doors, and wet, damaged wooden surfaces. However, they can build tunnels within undamaged wood.

Carpenter ants will find their way into a house or building that is distant from the ground through tree limbs, shrubs, and wires that touch the wall. They can also nest in foam insulation and fiberglass.

Are Carpenter Ants Dangerous to Humans?

Are Carpenter Ants Dangerous to Humans

Carpenter ants are not dangerous to humans.

What Do You Do if You Find Carpenter Ant in Your House?

If you find a carpenter ant in your house, your goal is to destroy its nest. The main target is the queen, so reproduction starts and the colony will no longer prosper. Insecticides will help you resolve this problem.

Syngenta is a good brand, and it makes a formula that is in a plunger and water-based concentrate. If you prefer dust insecticide, you can check Delta Dust and TERRO Ant Dust. 

No matter how effective an insecticide is, it won’t be beneficial if you don’t apply it in the proper place. You just don’t put the insecticide in the middle of the attic or the foundation of an infested structure.

To destroy the colony, treatment must be done directly to the nest. Therefore, the very first step is to find the nest’s location.

Some cases require drilling through the voids of window frames, doors, walls, and other sections in your house. This is to ensure that liquid or dust insecticide can get into the nest.

Before using the pesticide, you have to check the label for instructions. If you ignore this step, you might do the wrong procedure that is against Federal law.

Related: How to Get Rid of Ants in Walls? | Identification and Control Guide

What Not to Do if You Have Carpenter Ants?

Once and for all, you have to find the nest to eradicate the whole colony. But there are things that you shouldn’t do to accomplish your plans.

1. You’ll need patience on this part. First and foremost, you don’t have to spray on the carpenter ants right after you see them. Rather feed them with honey that you have to dab on the non-sticky part of the tape. Lay down this trap at night when these ants are active.

Watch closely because the ants will go back to their nest after consuming the honey that you set as a trap. You need to be patient to discover their nest. The ants will eventually be gone behind the cabinet, baseboard, or concealed areas where their nest is located.

2. If you have a suspicion that the nest is behind the wall, the treatment should be done behind pipe collars. Don’t do it on the junction box for the plates and receptacles of the electrical switch. It’s harmful to spray or insert metal devices in electrical outlets.

Carpenter Ant Prevention Tips

Getting Rid of Moisture

Carpenter ants need constant water for survival. By adding a dehumidifier in attics, basements, and crawl spaces, no standing water or moisture will linger.

You can choose from the portable hOmeLabs dehumidifierWaykar dehumidifier for home and basements, and Yaufey dehumidifier. They’re the best pick in the market. Regarding this concern, you should also resolve moisture problems such as plumbing leaks and roof leaks.

No Wood Contact

Firewood and other pieces of wood should be stored five inches above the ground and 20 feet away from your house. Furthermore, a stock of wood should be elevated above the ground so mulching and moving soil and the landscape won’t be near the house or building.

Sealing Cracks and Openings

The cracks and openings that need sealing are usually found in the section where wires and utility pipes pass from the outside.

Taking Care of Vegetation and Plants

You have to cut vegetation and tree limbs that get in contact with the house’s roof and siding. Branches and leaves are the bridge for the carpenter ants to get into your house or other buildings and build their nests.

How Do I Spot Carpenter Ants?

The nest of carpenter ants needs to be taken out from the inside of your house to completely remove them. In most cases, the nest is well-hidden, and it’s a challenge to find it. But be patient enough to track down the workers. They’re active between sunset and midnight in spring and summer.

Red Light

You don’t have to grope in the dark as you can use a flashlight with a lens covered by red film. This is done as ants can’t see red light, so they can’t notice that they’re being followed. You may also just cover the light part to lessen the brightness.

Food Bait

To easily find them, you can make bait out of tuna that is soaked in water and not oil. It can be based on the cravings of carpenter ants for foods rich in protein during spring.

Apart from tuna, other kinds of food can attract them, like honey and sweet foods. You have to put food in the area where you can easily find the ants.


Coarse sawdust tells you that there are carpenter ants.

Other Signs to Check

Starting late winter to spring, you may find numerous large winged ants inside the house or building. Also, there’s a frequent sighting of around 20 or more working ants. You have to check the wood stocked beside the wall, basement, and garage.

The search can go on with the branches touching wires or parts of the house. Professionals use a moisture meter to find the nest. You can also get this device. If the suspected area is tapped then you have to listen for some sounds. Dry and rustling sounds can be heard once the colony is disturbed and it becomes louder.

How Do You Get Rid of Carpenter Ants Permanently?

Based on the statement of Iowa State University, a single treatment doesn’t permanently get rid of carpenter ants. Retreatment in the following year or more can make it happen.

Do I Need a Professional to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants?

Do I Need a Professional to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

If you fail to get rid of carpenter ants, you need a professional to do it for you. Remember that this problem needs to be taken care of as soon as possible to stop further damage.

Do Carpenter Ants Go Away on Their Own?

Do Carpenter Ants Go Away on Their Own

Carpenter ants don’t go away on their own as their colonies are mostly long-lived. A single, fertilized queen ant builds the colony by herself with a few workers that she feeds with salivary secretions. She doesn’t leave the colony but only the workers to look for food.

When the food supply in the colony becomes constant, colony growth succeeds. Even though it’s not mature, it can have more than 2,000 workers. Carpenter ants can reach this stage in three to six years. There will be continuous production of males and winged queens.

Are Carpenter Ants Good for Anything?

Are Carpenter Ants Good for Anything

Carpenter ants contribute to the natural decay of logs, stumps, and dead limbs. They help to clean up your yard with dead, organic matter. To clarify things, they don’t directly kill the parts of the trees.

They take advantage of the existing softwood with moisture as it’s the ideal place to establish their colony. The wood softens due to environmental conditions, stress, diseases, other insects, or mechanical injury.


Carpenter ants will be attracted to your house and other buildings for moisture and food. They reside in wooden objects, and you’ll likely find them in crawl spaces. Thus, it’s a challenge to find them as it’s necessary to find their nest to eliminate them. You can set a bait for the workers to let them lead you to the nest. It’s crucial to find their nest if you want them to be gone for good. 

List of Sources

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants in Trees

Carpenter Ants