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Carpenter Ant

Size: 1/2 inch

Color: Black

Where found: wood structures and insulation

Potential treatment: Exterior spray

Carpenter ants are generally about 1/2 inch long, with queen ants being up to 3/4 inch long. In Northeast Ohio, they typically are black, but their coloring can range into combinations of red, orange and brown.

These destructive insects are named for their habit of nesting in wood, actually creating hollowed out areas that lead to serious structural damage to homes and buildings that are infested.

Colonies of carpenter ants usually number about 3,000 with one queen. Growth of the colony extends over several years. Eggs develop to adult workers over 60 days.

Habits of carpenter ants leave minimal evidence of an infestation. Large numbers of workers in and around your home is one sign. Debris near wood trim and on window sills is another. Debris may appear to be wood shavings or sawdust. These insects may start out nesting outdoors in rotting wood, but they will often move indoors, especially as weather cools, nesting in both wood and insulation. Damp, soft wood is attractive to those seeking to establish a nest, so a minor water problem can encourage an infestation.

They gain access through tiny gaps around window frames, eaves, and plumbing and utility lines. Swarms find easy means of locating these gaps when shrubs and tree limbs rest on or against buildings.

Carpenter ants eat insects, plant juices and other arthropods, but also are attracted by sugars, grease and meats.

What you can do

  • Keep trees and shrubs trimmed back from your home.

  • Seal food and keep counters clear.

  • Clean up spills on patios, walkways and driveways, especially sugary foods and drinks.

What we do

  • Inspect your home for evidence of infestation-debris piles, rustling sounds within walls, foraging trails around your home.

  • Check structural wood in your home for hollow sounds indicating nesting cavities.

  • Treat the colony or colonies directly with residual and non-residual insecticides.

  • Power spray the exterior of your home at the base and soffits to prevent entry.