Carpenter Ant Behaviors
As their name suggests, carpenter ants build their homes in wood, digging smooth-sided tunnels in order to maneuver and find food. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood—they simply chew it with their mandibles and discard it as waste. One of the largest species of ants, these pests are also the most problematic because of how much structural damage they can wreak.
Carpenter ants usually reach about ⅝ inch in length, and are red, black, brown, or a combination of the two. Like other ants, they have segmented bodies. The main indicator of their presence is the holes they create in wood when burrowing.
Carpenter ants need a water source to survive, which is one reason why the primary kind of wood they target is dead, rotting, or damp. It’s easier to dig into and provides them with a source of moisture. Outdoors, they may be found creating nests in tree stumps, fence posts, firewood, or landscaping. Indoors, they may be found digging into damaged windows and door frames, crawlspaces, attics, chimneys, sinks, bathtubs, and old wooden siding.
Since carpenter ants are larger insects, the damage they create may be more obvious and more destructive. They regularly leave their nests to forage and return to continue digging. If you find small but obvious holes in wood on your property that appear to be tunnels, especially if it looks like a small pile of sawdust is collecting under them, you may have discovered a carpenter ant infestation.