Carpenter Ants

Identifying Carpenter Ants in Your Home or Business

Identifying a carpenter ant infestation is oftentimes as simple as noticing an ant or ants on your property. Ranging in length from 1/8 to 1/2 of an inch with the queen typically larger, this species of ant is commonly black but may be found in shades of red, red and black or brown.

Although these ants live primarily outdoors they will establish satellite colonies in your home and are frequently found in areas such as the kitchen as they search for sustenance in the form of live or dead insects, sweets, fats and meats. They are also likely to be found in areas where there is excessive moisture present. Rooms that contain pipes or have access to gutters are susceptible to intrusion as are leaky roofs.

Another indication of carpenter ant activity is small saw-dust like particles. This is referred to as “frass” and is created when carpenter ants enter a building. Unlike termites, carpenter ants only chew wood to create their galleries and not for feeding purposes, so these materials are set to the side and not consumed. Frass is often found outside of your home, around the exterior and appears cone-shaped.

Carpenter ants are very common in the Northeastern U.S. The large workers often come into homes to find food or water. Once they are inside, the ants often make a nest inside the home.

Picture of Carpenter Ants


Carpenter ant workers prefer to make their nests by excavating damp or decaying wood. When they move into homes, the ants often make nests in places where water has been a problem.

Around the outside of the home, carpenter ants often make their nests under roof shingles. Eaves and siding are also common nesting sites for these destructive pests.

Inside the home, carpenter ants like to nest in humid areas. They often make their nests in bathroom wall voids and under kitchen cabinets. Since carpenter ant workers are most active at night, they can cause significant damage to a home before the homeowner even notices them.

Carpenter Ants vs. Termites

Although the damage caused by carpenter ants is distinct it is often confused with termite damage. A skilled eye can usually tell the difference between the two pests. While termites feed on the cellulose found in wood, carpenter ants excavate galleries or tunnels in decaying wood, sound tree, and dry wood.

In structures, carpenter ants can infest wood, foam insulation, and can occupy cavities like those found in hollow doors or window frames. They prefer to excavate wood damaged by rot and are often found associated with moisture problems. Carpenter ants may also be living outside and foraging indoors for food scraps.


Outside, carpenter ants normally feed on insects and the sweet, sticky honeydew produced by certain insects such as aphids. Inside, these ants will feed on a variety of things, including fatty or sweet foodstuffs in the house, other insects, and other food scraps.

Carpenter ant infestations are often found around dishwashers, laundry areas, and bathrooms, especially where plumbing leaks or excessive moisture is present. If you are seeing large, dark-colored ants, call the local Waltham Pest Services branch to schedule an inspection and diagnosis.

Red and Black Carpenter Ants

Despite sharing the same genus name, various carpenter ants are found in New England. The different species often differ in color.

The body of the most prevalent type of carpenter ant in the region is entirely black. Other carpenter ants commonly encountered in the area possess a black head and abdomen separated by a reddish-brown or burgundy thorax. The coloration of carpenter ants depends on the particular species of the insects.

Three main species of carpenter ants are responsible for causing the majority of home infestations in New England. The predominant species is Camponotus pennsylvanicus, or the black carpenter ant. As indicated by the common name, C. pennsylvanicus are completely black in color.

Though smaller than black carpenter ants, the nearctic carpenter ant, or Camponotus nearcticus, displays the same dark color all over the body. Red carpenter ants, scientifically named Camponotus noveboracensis, contrast in color from the other two species and feature a reddish-brown thorax in between a black head and abdomen.

Prevention: Protect Your Home from Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ant prevention is key to maintaining an environment free of these large ants. At Waltham Pest Services we encourage home owners to take a stand against carpenter ants by implementing these tips:

  • Remove dead, rotten or wet tree stumps on your property
  • Replace any rotten wood with new materials
  • Paint or seal exposed wood to prevent water damage
  • Store firewood off the ground, away from the structure and only purchase one season of firewood at a time
  • Trim trees and shrubs back from your roof or foundation to prevent a bridge to your home for these ants
  • Properly store people and pet food so that it is completely sealed
  • Keep cabinets, counters, floors and pantries clear of food debris

If carpenter ants have already made their way into your home then contacting Waltham Pest Services is the ideal solution. Although carpenter ants are one of the most common pest problems in Boston, Scarborough, and Waltham and throughout New England, they are also one of the toughest to resolve. That’s because their nest is often located several feet away from the infested structure and to properly eliminate the problem you must eradicate the entire colony and not just the worker ants that are foraging.

Do-it-yourself treatments typically kill the working population of ants but do not effectively get rid of the colony which allows them to come back over and over again. Our carpenter ant control is a highly effective, eco-friendly solution to your problem and is available throughout New England.

Get Rid Of Carpenter Ants With Waltham Pest Services

At Waltham Pest Services we understand how damaging carpenter ants can be for homeowners, especially in the spring and summer and that is why we offer carpenter ant control in Milford, Scarborough and throughout New England and Upstate New York that will get rid of carpenter ants using highly effective, yet earth-friendly pest removal solutions.

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Find a Local Waltham Branch

If you are concerned that your home may be infested with carpenter ants, contact Waltham Pest Services. We offer highly effective, eco-friendly carpenter ant control services in Agawam, Boston, Manchester, Scarborough, Rochester as well as all of New England and Upstate New York.

Our pest control treatments and programs are tailored to address your individual needs and can resolve your carpenter ant problems at the first sign of an infestation. Call your local service branch location for more information and to schedule your carpenter ant problem for elimination!

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Carpenter Ant Control For New England Homes

The control of carpenter ants requires an integrated approach, referred to as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The first step in the Waltham Pest Services Carpenter Ant Program is a careful inspection of the home. During the inspection, the Waltham pros will identify any areas of concern.

They will point out carpenter ant entry ways, like cracks around windows or tree limbs touching the house. They can advise the homeowner on ways to correct these conditions. They will also help the homeowner identify areas where there are moisture problems, like leaves accumulated on the roof, clogged gutters, or leaking pipes.

During their inspection, the technicians prescribe the treatment. The experts from Waltham Pest Services have the latest tools and equipment so they can treat the ants wherever they are hiding inside the home. They will also treat around the outside of the home to prevent any more ants from coming in.