Serving Edmonton for over 120 years

Carpenter Ants


Size: Carpenter ants are one of the largest ant species in North America, and can range in size from ¼ inch to ¾ inch in length.
Color: Most carpenter ants have a combination of black, red, or brown colouration. The head and thorax of carpenter ants are usually black, reddish-brown, or yellow, and the abdomen is typically black.
Description: Carpenter Ants (Camponotus spp.) are large ants ranging in size from 1/4 to 3/4 inch in length. They are typically black, red, or a combination of the two colours. Carpenter ants are known for their ability to tunnel through wood and can cause significant damage to structures if left unchecked.

Carpenter ants are social insects that live in colonies. They are active during the spring and summer months when they forage for food and build nests. Carpenter ants are omnivorous and will feed on various foods, including insects, honeydew from aphids, and human food.

Carpenter ants do not eat wood, but they can cause damage to wood structures by excavating galleries to build their nests. They prefer to nest in moist or decayed wood, such as tree stumps, logs, or woodpiles. However, they can also infest homes and buildings, nesting in areas such as wall voids, attics, and crawlspaces.

The presence of carpenter ant workers or winged reproductive ants (swarmers) inside the home or building is a common sign of infestation. Carpenter ants are also known for producing piles of sawdust-like debris, known as frass, near their nesting sites. Other signs of infestation include rustling or tapping sounds inside walls, hollow-sounding wood, and weakened or sagging wood structures.

Controlling carpenter ants typically involves locating and treating the nesting site. This can be challenging, as carpenter ants often have multiple satellite colonies and may nest in hard-to-reach areas. Prevention measures include eliminating moisture problems, such as leaks or standing water, and removing potential nesting sites, such as tree stumps, logs, or woodpiles, from the property. Regular property inspections can also help detect carpenter ant activity before it becomes a major problem.

Identifying carpenter ants can be done by looking at a few key physical characteristics:

  1. Body Shape: Carpenter ants have a distinctive body shape, with a large, rounded thorax and a narrow waist. This shape is often described as being “hourglass-shaped.”
  2. Colouration: Carpenter ants are usually black, reddish-brown, or yellow in color, with the head and thorax being darker than the abdomen. Some carpenter ant species may also have a reddish coloration on their legs or other parts of their body.
  3. Mandibles: Carpenter ants have large, powerful mandibles that they use to excavate wood for their nests.
  4. Winged Reproductive Ants: Winged reproductive ants, also known as swarmers, are produced by carpenter ant colonies in the spring and summer. These ants have wings and are typically larger than worker ants.


If you spot ants in your home or on your property that match these physical characteristics, they may be carpenter ants. However, it’s important to note that not all large ants are carpenter ants, and it’s always a good idea to have a pest professional properly identify the ant species to ensure effective treatment.

Here are some signs that you may have carpenter ants:

  1. Sawdust: Carpenter ants excavate wood to create their nests, which can result in piles of sawdust-like debris, known as “frass,” near their nesting sites. If you see piles of frass in or around your home, it could be a sign of carpenter ant activity.
  2. Rustling or Tapping Sounds: As carpenter ants excavate wood, they can create rustling or tapping sounds that can be heard inside walls or other wooden structures.
  3. Hollow-Sounding Wood: When carpenter ants excavate wood, they create tunnels and galleries that can weaken the structure of the wood. As a result, the wood may sound hollow when tapped.
  4. Weakened or Sagging Wood: As carpenter ants continue to excavate wood, it can cause the wood to weaken or sag, which can be a sign of a long-term infestation.
  5. Ant Sightings: If you see large black, reddish-brown, or yellow ants in your home or on your property, it’s possible that they are carpenter ants. However, it’s important to note that not all large ants are carpenter ants, and it’s always a good idea to have a pest professional properly identify the ant species to ensure effective treatment.


If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to address the problem quickly to prevent further damage to your home. A pest professional can help to identify and treat a carpenter ant infestation.

Here are some steps you can take to prevent carpenter ant infestations:

  1. Eliminate Sources of Moisture: Carpenter ants are attracted to moisture, so it’s important to eliminate any sources of standing water or excess moisture in and around your home. Repair any leaks or drips, make sure your gutters and downspouts are functioning properly, and ensure proper ventilation in bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas where moisture is common.
  2. Remove Food Sources: Carpenter ants will also be attracted to food sources in your home. Keep all food stored in airtight containers, clean up spills and crumbs promptly, and take out the trash regularly.
  3. Seal Entry Points: Seal any cracks or gaps in your home’s exterior walls, foundation, and roofline to prevent carpenter ants from entering. Use caulk or weatherstripping to seal gaps around doors and windows, and install screens on all doors and windows.
  4. Store Firewood Properly: Carpenter ants can also be attracted to firewood, so it’s important to store firewood away from your home, elevated off the ground, and covered with a tarp.
  5. Trim Trees and Shrubs: Carpenter ants can use tree branches and shrubs to gain access to your home, so it’s important to keep them trimmed away from your home’s exterior walls.
  6. Schedule Regular Inspections: Finally, schedule regular inspections with a pest professional to identify and treat any potential carpenter ant problems before they become severe.


By taking these preventative measures, you can help to minimize the risk of carpenter ant infestations on your property.


est. 1900

Don't Let Bugs Get the Best of You


est. 1900

Don't Let Bugs Get the Best of You