Carpenter Ants: Detection & Prevention

April 29, 2014

Carpenter ants are found throughout the world. So named because of their tendency to ‘carve out’ wooden structures, these pests seek out dead, damp wood where they can build nests. Carpenter ants are similar to termites in their ability to cause massive damage to homes and businesses in a short amount of time. This is why home or commercial pest control for your Ocean County property is so important. Continue reading and let us tell you a bit more about these unique ants.

carpenter ant crawling on an ocean county home


Carpenter ants can live both in and outside, favoring moist, decaying, or hollow wood. They are most frequently found under windows, in crevices of the roof, on decks and porches, and in other areas that are susceptible to moisture. These pests leave a sawdust-like material in their wake.

Carpenter ants vary in size, from two to 20 millimeters in length. Colors also vary from dark black to red, brown, yellow, orange, tan, and other variations. Most carpenter ants are black, or red and black.

These pests build two types of nest: parent and satellite colonies. Parent colonies house the queen and her workers. Satellite colonies house workers only. If a parent colony is eliminated, the satellite colony will continue to function.

Difference Between Carpenter Ants and Termites

Though they share some of the same characteristics as termites, it is important to note that carpenter ants are not the same as termites, and must be viewed differently to treat or prevent an infestation.

Though both pests have four wings, the front wings of a carpenter ant are larger than the hind wings. They often have a black dot on the tip of their front wings, with a visible dark wing vein. Carpenter ants are ‘thinner’ than termites.

Since noticing these subtle differences can be difficult using the naked eye, it is important to have a qualified professional determine whether your home is being affected by termites or carpenter ants. The highly skilled and professional staff at Alliance Pest Services is able to assist you in this determination.


Though it can be difficult to determine whether your structure been affected by carpenter ants, there are ways you can prevent ‘inviting’ these pests into your home.

  • Remove stumps, waste wood, and debris from your home.
  • Be sure that vegetation (trees, bushes, etc.) is not touching the structure.
  • Store firewood away from the home, and bring in only the amount that will be quickly used.
  • Keep wooden areas of your home dry, and clean out dark, moist crevices where carpenter ants are likely to nest.
  • Replace water-damaged and decaying wood.
  • Paint and seal exterior wood surfaces (siding, decks, etc.)
  • Contact Alliance Pest Control for a thorough inspection.

It is important not to try to eliminate a potential carpenter ant infestation yourself. These pests will defend against any perceived threat to their colony. While carpenter ants do not sting, they are capable of inflicting a painful bite. In most cases, carpenter ants will not bite adult humans but may defend themselves against pets and young children or babies.

Additionally, pesticides can become harmful to pets and children if not applied in a safe and controlled manner. In many cases, over-the-counter pesticides will only serve as a temporary “fix,” with the problem recurring in a few weeks. 

The certified professionals at Alliance Pest Control are able to detect and treat any potential carpenter ant infestation, as well as give you helpful tips and tools to prevent further complications. Reach out to us today!

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