Carpenter Ant

Actual Size: ⅝”

Characteristics: Large; red, black, or a combination of both.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Carpenter ant swarmers have two sets of wings.

Habitat: Prefer damp, moist wood, constructing their nests in hollow trees, logs, posts, landscaping timbers, and wood used in homes and other structures.


  • Frequently mistaken for termites, carpenter ants are wood-destroying pests
  • Heavy carpenter ant activity in the home can indicate a moisture issue within the structure.
  • Carpenter ants do not eat wood but prefer sugar solutions, especially honeydew produced by aphids.

Carpenter Ants in Vermont

Sometimes mistaken for termites, carpenter ants are wood-destroying pests that tunnel through wood to construct nests. Carpenter ants get their name because they excavate their nests in wood, creating smooth tunnels and galleries. While carpenter ants have strong jaws that can chew through solid wood, they don’t actually swallow it. They chew through wood to create passages and nests to raise their young. Piles of sawdust removed from their tunnels are one sign that carpenter ants may have infested your home. Nest-building activities destroy the structural integrity of homes and businesses. Over time, they seriously damage wood, reducing solid structures to hollow shells.

Carpenter Ant Habitat

Feeding on a wide variety of foods, carpenter ants prefer the sugary honeydew excreted by plant-sucking insects. Drawn to moisture, carpenter ants can establish nests in a number of different locations. These locations can be either inside or outside of a home or structure and generally near damp, decaying wood. In homes and buildings, the parent nest is generally located outside in a tree, stump, or stack of firewood. Nests indoors are more likely to be found in wood dampened by water leaks, such as attic rafters, roof overhangs, wall voids, hollow doors or columns, and in crawlspaces and behind dishwashers. Indoor carpenter ant infestations are always associated with moisture issues in homes or businesses.

Carpenter Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Carpenter ants pose a serious threat to homes and structures. Even though they rarely bite and are not generally thought of as dangerous, the burrowing activity of carpenter ants can weaken and destroy the structural integrity of homes and businesses. Carpenter ant swarms occur in spring and are an indication that a colony is nesting nearby. Seeing tiny piles of sawdust, or hearing faint rustling noises in walls are both indications of a carpenter ant infestation. While carpenter ants are not as dangerous as termites, if left unchecked, they systematically destroy homes and valuable wood objects within them. If a carpenter ant infestation is suspected, it is best to contact a professional ant exterminator.

Don’t wait until your home is overrun by ants. Contact Vermont Pest Control today!