Carpenter Ant


Actual Size: ⅝”

Characteristics: Large; red, black or a combination of both.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Carpenter ant swarmers have two sets of wings.

Habitat: Prefer damp, moist wood, constructing their nests in hollow trees, logs, posts, landscaping timbers, and wood used in homes and other structures.


  • Carpenter ants prefer to nest and excavate water-damaged wood.
  • Heavy carpenter ant activity in the home can indicate a moisture issue within the structure.
  • Carpenter ants don’t actually eat wood but prefer sugary solutions, especially honeydew produced by aphids.

Carpenter Ants in Virginia

Carpenter ants are wood-destroying insects and are sometimes confused with termites. Tunneling out support beams and making their way through entire buildings, these wood-destroying pests sometimes cause entire walls to collapse. The difference between carpenter ants and termites is that carpenter ants do not eat wood, they simply tunnel and nest in wood, excavating cavities to raise their young. Finding piles of wood shavings or sawdust beneath baseboards, door jambs, and window sills is a sign of an infestation.

Carpenter Ant Habitat

Carpenter ants prefer damp wood, nesting in rotting tree stumps, firewood, and wood fencing.  Once they make their way inside, they infest building materials such as wood or foam insulation and can occupy cavities like those found in hollow doors or window frames. Although carpenter ants are often found outdoors, they typically make their way inside a building through cracks in foundations, or even by climbing through plumbing or electrical openings into the home.

Carpenter Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Although they rarely bite and are not typically thought of as dangerous, carpenter ants are a serious pest. The real issue with an infestation of carpenter ants is their ability to damage and weaken the structural integrity of homes and structures. Carpenter ant populations can reach tremendous numbers and production satellite nests will branch out from the original colony. Similarly to termites, carpenter ants swarm in the spring to mate and establish new colonies. Seeing large, winged, flying ants in your home is a sign of an infestation and it is recommended to contact a professional ant exterminator.

Don’t wait until your home is overrun by ants. Contact Ehrlich Pest Control, formerly Connor's today!