The Ultimate Guide to Carpenter Ants

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Carpenter ants are small but mighty but not in a good way. They are notorious for the significant damage they cause to homes across Canada. And can cause serious damage to wooden structures in your home if you fail to take action. To protect your home it’s important to take preventative measures and / or identify a carpenter ant infestation early on so that no significant damage is caused. This guide on carpenter ants includes how to identify carpenter ants, common signs of a carpenter ant infestation in your home, the best ways to prevent carpenter ants, and how to get rid of carpenter ants. This ultimate guide to carpenter ants contains all the information you need to keep your home safe and protected year round.

How to Identify Carpenter Ants

The 2 most common types of carpenter ants are the black carpenter ants and the red carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are larger than most, with their size ranging from 6 to 25 mm lengthwise. Their bodies are divided into 3 sections, with a slim waist separating the upper and lower body. Carpenter ant’s antennae are also sectioned and bent. When a colony is mature, a generation of swarmers is produced. Swarmers are both male and female and their purpose is to reproduce and form new colonies. 

Signs you Have Carpenter Ants in Your Home

The most common signs that you have a carpenter ant problem in your home are: 

  • Damaged wood  
  • Sawdust piles
  • Discarded wings: near windows.  
  • Forager ants
  • Audible sounds: rustling in the walls or hollow sounding wood when tapped.


You may see more live ants in the evenings as that’s when they are most active.   

Best Ways to Prevent Carpenter Ants

It’s vital to take preventative measures so that you minimize the risk of  infestations. The following are preventative measures you can take: 


  • Eliminate moisture: Carpenter ants are attracted to damp wood since it’s easier for them to chew through, so it’s best to repair any leaks or moisture problems within your home. 
  • Trim vegetation: Keep tree branches, shrubs, and vegetation away from your house to prevent ant highways. 
  • Seal entry points: Seal cracks and gaps in the foundation, walls, and windows to prevent ants from coming into your home. 

Remember to also store firewood away from your home and inspect it before bringing it indoors. Make it a point to regularly inspect wooden structures for signs of damage so that any issues can be resolved immediately.   

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants?

Locating and treating the main nest is the first step in effectively eliminating carpenter ants. Some of the most common ways to get rid of carpenter ants on your own is to use bait specifically made for carpenter ants, and mix it with a sweet substance. The worker ants will bring it back to the colony, where the other ants will eat it and die. 

If you suspect an infestation it’s best to call your local pest control professionals so you get the most accurate identification, precise treatment, and long-term elimination.

Carpenter Ant FAQs:

How to locate a carpenter ant nest?  

Track ants if you see them in and/or around your house and check any wooden structures or firewood around your house, particularly wet wood. 

What do carpenter ants eat? 

They eat plant and animal matter. Proteins and sweet foods found around homes provide food for the foraging workers. 

What are carpenter ants? 

They are a species of ant, and they get their name from how they build their nests. They excavate wood and build tunnels inside. 

How do carpenter ants get into my home?


They  can enter your home through cracks around doors and windows and through shrubs or tree limbs that are in contact with the outside of your house.  

What’s the difference between termites and carpenter ants?   

They  do not eat wood, they build tunnels (called galleries) in the wood to create their nests whereas termites eat wood. Termites have a broad waist, straight antennae, and wings equal in length. 

When are ants most active? 

They are most active in the evening. 

Rentokil Terminix for Carpenter Ant Removal

Need to get rid of carpenter ants on your property? Rentokil Terminix has you covered! We offer expert pest & wildlife control services for both residential and commercial properties with locations across Canada including BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.


All of Rentokil Terminix’s pest control experts are fully licensed, certified, and held to the highest professional standards possible. We are part of the National Pest Management Association, Canadian Pest Management Association, QualityPro, and the Structural Pest Management Association of Ontario, among other provinces. We are proud to have provided Canadian homeowners with quality pest control services for over 90 years!