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.