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.


  • Carpenter ants prefer to nest and excavate water-damaged wood.
  • Heavy carpenter ant activity can indicate a moisture issue within the structure.
  • Carpenter ants don’t actually eat wood but prefer sugary solutions, especially honeydew produced by aphids.

Carpenter Ants in Southern California

Carpenter ants are wood-destroying pests and can be confused with termites. In Southern California, carpenter ants tunnel through support beams and can make their way throughout entire buildings. Carpenter ants prefer to nest and excavate water-damaged wood. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat and digest wood. Instead, the ants tunnel and nest through the wood, creating cavities to raise their young. Carpenter ants can severely damage wood, reducing solid structures to hollow shells. Noticing piles of wood shavings or hearing faint rustling noises in walls can indicate a carpenter ant infestation.

Carpenter Ant Habitat

Carpenter ants prefer to live outdoors in damp, decaying wood. Popular ant habitats include tree stumps, firewood, and wood fencing. Indoors, carpenter ants infest building materials like wood or foam insulation. In buildings, carpenter ants can occupy cavities like those found in hollow doors or window frames. Although they prefer the outdoors, carpenter ants will make their way inside a building through gaps and cracks in foundations. Workers will also climb through plumbing or electrical openings to gain access commercial structures.

Carpenter Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Carpenter ants rarely bite and are not generally thought of as dangerous. The threat carpenter ants pose, is their ability to damage and weaken the structural integrity of buildings and structures.  Colony populations can reach large numbers and over time, nests will split and branch out to form new colonies. Carpenter ants swarm in order to mate and establish new colonies. Seeing winged, flying ants in an office building or structure is a sign of an infestation. While carpenter ants are not as dangerous to your building as termites, they can cause serious damage. If a carpenter ant infestation is suspected, it is best to contact a professional ant exterminator.

Don’t wait until your business is overrun by ants. Contact us today!