Carpenter Ant Identification

IDENTIFICATION & GENERAL INFORMATION

Most ant species are only a nuisance to have around, but Carpenter Ants can pose a serious threat to a building. Carpenter Ants are classified as the primary wood destroying organism in Western Washington. They are capable of hollowing out large portions of wood during the development of their nest.

Contrary to common belief, Carpenter Ants cannot digest the wood they burrow into; they are simply tunneling through it.  This behavior helps to decompose fallen trees in the forest, but it is not welcome in our homes. It is not uncommon to find large mounds of sawdust-like material called frass near the wood they are tunneling through. Carpenter Ant frass is usually easy to identify, due to the small bits and pieces of insects you will find mixed into it.

The parent nest is almost always located outside in an area of constant moisture, like an old stump or fallen tree; however, they are capable of establishing very large satellite colonies within structural wood beams. These satellite colonies can be up to 300 feet away from the parent nest.

There are several things a homeowner can do to help prevent Carpenter Ant infestation.

  • Keep your home and yard free of excessive or prolonged moisture/standing water.
  • Remove old tree stumps, fallen trees, wood piles, and other wood debris.
  • Trim back trees and foliage so that it does not make contact or hang over your home.
  • Repair/correct water damage and moisture conditions.
  • At the first sight of Carpenter Ants call a professional for assistance.
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