Tag Archives: Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants: Defeating the Army Behind Your Walls

Carpenter Ants: Defeating the Army Behind Your Walls

Have you ever wondered what a carpenter ant really is? We can guarantee you that they are not building beautiful furniture pieces. In fact, quite the opposite. You may think, “oh, it’s just an ant,” but these ants will give you something to worry about it if not taken care of.

Carpenter ants and termites look for new homes in the summer

Carpenter antLike termites, in late winter and early spring, young adult carpenter ants, known as alates, swarm to mate and start new colonies. Male and female reproductives mate and form new colonies. These new colonies need places to nest and raise their broods. Unlike termites, these sometimes large black and brown to reddish bi-colored ants do not eat wood, but burrow through it, creating galleries and tunnels, causing structural damage to homes.

Measuring from .25 inches to around .75 inches, carpenter ants need a constant source of moisture to survive. Attracted to damp wood around your property or constantly moist boards and siding, carpenter ants like to nest in the damp and rotting wood outside your home, but will move inside by burrowing through damp wood or finding cracks in wood on the exterior of your home. Sometimes, they even take over termite colonies or old termite galleries.

Carpenter ant colonies include a main/parent colony and can include several satellite colonies. While carpenter ants may nest outside and forage up to 100 yards in search of food, satellite colonies may exist in your walls, attics and around moist areas in your home.

Outside, carpenter ants prefer proteins, feeding on live and dead insects and they like the sweet honeydew produced by aphids and some scale insects. In your home, carpenter ants are attracted to fatty foods, meats and sweets like jelly and syrups, foraging between sunset and midnight in your kitchen.

Signs of a carpenter ant issue

Signs of carpenter ant infestations include:

  • Discarded wings of swarmers near windowsills, baseboards and vents.
  • Active swarming indoors.
  • Sawdust piles made by boring through wood, and the ant excavating remains of dead ants and frass (sawdust).
  • Irregular, wide, clean, ragged surfaced galleries in wood surfaces.
  • Active foraging in your home at night or other low-light situations such as early mornings.

Contact a professional pest control company to eliminate carpenter ants and termites

Carpenter AntsIf you suspect carpenter ant activity in your home, contact a professional pest control company, such as Truly Nolen to schedule a free pest inspection. Although carpenter ants and termites look similar, carpenter ants have a defined waist, between their thorax and abdomen, while termites are more broadly connected. Carpenter ant alates’ sport a pair of upper wings that are much larger than their lower wings, whereas both pairs of termite alates’ wings are relatively the same size.

Also, carpenter ants have bent antennae but termite antennae are straight with no bend in them. Because carpenter ants may be causing damage to your home that is expensive to repair, we recommend contacting a trained, certified pest professional to inspect your property and design a plan to eradicate carpenter ants from your property.

Truly Nolen targets nests with innovative IPM system

Truly Nolen’s innovative Integrated Pest Management systems (IPM) utilize people and pet friendly treatments and methods that address primary and satellite nests. Our technicians are trained to identify potential carpenter ant areas and use materials that not only address your current infestation but target nests to eliminate colonies at their sources, killing off the queen, the brood and many worker ants. Without queens or secondary reproductive to take the queen’s place, reproduction stops and the colony collapses.

Carpenter ant prevention guidelines

To prevent carpenter ant invasions, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Repair or replace leaky faucets and other moisture sources around your home.
  • Remove standing water from porches, decks and other poor water drainage areas.
  • Regularly inspect crawlspaces, attics and basements for moisture.
  • Seal or caulk all cracks and crevices around your foundation, as well as around windows and doors.
  • Remove all landscaping debris (leaves, litter, mulch) and construction materials that are against the house and stack firewood at least 20 feet away from your structure.
  • Keep tree branches and shrubs trimmed away from your house as they provide bridges for carpenter ants intent on moving indoors.
  • Regularly inspect decks, wooden storage sheds, old tree stumps and other wood on your property for signs of carpenter ant activity, like small holes in wooden surfaces.

This summer, when you are prepping your home for a new coat of paint and discover wood shavings or evidence of wood damage, contact your local Truly Nolen location to schedule a free pest inspection. Our innovative eco-friendly Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach arms our technicians with the knowledge and materials to protect your home from carpenter ant colonies.

While a fresh coat of paint creates great curb appeal and can help to weatherproof your house, it can also help protect your home from pests that are attracted to damp wood, such as termites, carpenter bees and carpenter ants. Ask about Truly Nolen’s Four Seasons Pest Control service approach to pest control that helps to identify and treat potential pest issues with seasonal visits that monitor and prevent pests from entering your home, creating a pest barrier around your property. Contact your Truly Nolen professionals today and enjoy your summer!

Carpenter Ants vs. Termites

It’s important to differentiate between two flying, wood-destroying pests – the carpenter ant and the termite. Many people will often confuse the two, as both pests are very similar in color, size, and shape. Knowing what pest you have will make getting rid of them faster, easier, and safer, saving you time and money in the long run.

According to the National Pest Management Association, termites cause an estimated $5 billion in property damage each year. Homeowners are generally aware of the devastation termites can leave in their wake, but carpenter ants can also prove to be destructive to the wood found both in and outside of the home. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t actually eat the wood they come in contact with but instead hollow out galleries inside the wood for nesting and living as they feeding on food left behind by people (especially meats and sweets). Carpenter ants are frequently mistaken for winged termites during mating season when the male and female ants leave the colony to find a suitable mate. If an infestation from either pest is left undetected for a prolonged period of time, they each can cause expensive damage. Treatments for either a carpenter ant or termite infestation should be handled by a pest control professional.

There are certain characteristics that can be used to differentiate swarms of carpenter ants as compared to termites, the most important being the appearance of elbowed antennae and small or pinched waist with wings that are longer in the back than the front pair.

carpenter ant vs termite

Carpenter Ants Termites
Bent antennae Straight antennae
Hourglass waistline No waistline; straight abdomen
Unequal wing length in the front and back Equal wing length in both front and back
Wings are partially translucent Wings are opaque or appear to be silver in color

Carpenter Ants


  • Carpenter ants are normally 5/8 inch long.
  • Carpenter ants have two small wings and two large wings (females only).
  • They also have very narrow, hourglass-shaped waists that separate their abdomen from their thorax and head.
  • Their antennae are elbowed.
  • Carpenter ants have reddish-brown thoraxes and heads with black abdomens.
  • They commonly nest around man-made structures and are the most common household pest in Florida.


  • Carpenter ants do not feed on the wood they remove. Their feeding habits are similar to other ants, favoring sweets.
  • Carpenter ants search for moist wood to build their nests, particularly in attics, ceilings, and floors.
  • Carpenter ants are not a typically a year-round concern for homeowners. However, during spring swarm season, carpenter ants travel en masse to find new nesting locations.
  • Their nests consist of an expansive network of tunnels and passages within the structure of your home. Over time, these nests can seriously weaken your home’s structural integrity.



  • Termites are normally 1/4 inch long. Termite swarmers range from 3/8 to 1/2 inch long.
  • Termites have four wings of equal length (reproductive only).
  • They have thick waists which are similar in size than the rest of their bodies.
  • Termites have two antennae that are straight.
  • They are characterized by thin white skin and are commonly light to medium brown in color.
  • Nests are either underground (subterranean) or in the wood of your home (drywood).


  • Termites feed on wood and some species build nests in wood.
  • Drywood termites, unlike subterranean termites, do not need contact with soil for their moisture needs. They get their moisture from the wood they eat.
  • Termites can be a huge problem anywhere. Also problematic are the nesting habits of many termite species which can make them difficult to spot.
  • Termites can cause serious structural damage to any home in a matter of months if left untreated.

The first step in controlling a pest problem is identifying the pest itself. If you are unsure which pest you’re dealing with or if you need help eliminating an infestation, Truly Nolen can help. Our Four Seasons Pest Control program will help prevent ant infestations in and around your home throughout the year, including carpenter ants. Our Total Termite Protection plan will eliminate termites and prevent future infestations. Most importantly, it’s backed by our Million Dollar Guarantee.