Chicago Pest Control Blog

Carpenter ant extermination. Know why they're there first!

Posted by Janelle Iaccino on Tue, Apr 03, 2012 @ 05:30 PM

Carpenter ants.

They're the big black ones, right?? They eat wood?

Not exactly!

Carpenter ant extermination begins with understanding the much bigger picture.

  1. They come in different colors and
  2. They don't eat wood like termites.
  3. They chew through wood.

Why are they in your house?
What do they want in your house that they can't find outside?
Those few stragglers you see crawling around your kitchen are just a teeny fraction of the colony population.

Let's learn some ant facts!

These are carpenter ants.

carpenter ants resized 600

So are these!

ants resized 600

If you're wondering if they bite, DON'T experiment by picking up a handful of them.
Those little ant mandibles can hurt!


So, let's say you keep seeing one or two carpenter ants crawling around your dining room window. WHY?

They're after water sources.

Here are some things to think about that commonly get overlooked:

  • Are there any tree branches touching your roof or hanging over the roof?
  • Are there any water damaged surfaces on the exterior of your home?
  • Are your gutters backed up with gunk and not flowing properly?
  • Do you have any dead trees around your house?
  • Are any of your window frames rotten or water damaged?
  • Do you have a woodpile close to your house?


Carpenter ants get their name for their ability to tunnel through wood to build their colonies. They leave sawdust-looking particles behind as they clear out these tunnels. This is called frass. This is what it looks like.

carpenter ants entry063006 041 resized 600


Picture what an ant farm looks like. Here...let me help you picture it.

ant farm resized 600Carpenter ants make tunnels like the ones in the ant farm above, only they prefer rotting wood, rooflines under shingles, waterlogged decks, etc. You can only imagine once these tunnels are established how it compromises the strength of the wood structure. This is why it's so important to get a professional out to your house to inspect suspicious ant sightings. They're notorious for creating multiple satellite colonies close to water sources, but finding the main colony is the tricky part.

Carpenter ant extermination is no simple task!

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Topics: termites, ant info & tips

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