Carpenter Ants

Pest Control – Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ant Extermination

We are carpenter ant specialists. Our highly educated and trained technicians use the latest technology, equipment and techniques to effectively and safely eradicate your pest problems.

Ant Infestation Indicators


Carpenter ants are the largest ants found in Washington. There are two pest species of importance: the all-black carpenter ant (Camponotus modoc) and the reddish brown and black carpenter ant (Camponotus vicinus). Black carpenter ants are dull black and their abdomens are covered by yellowish hairs, while the reddish brown carpenter ant has a deep reddish brown-colored thorax and sometimes legs and dull, black abdomen. Since ants from a single carpenter ant nest vary greatly in size, ant size alone is usually not a good characteristic for identification. Carpenter ants vary in size from about ¼ to ½ inch. In the Greater Puget Sound region, carpenter ants are active year-round. During the winter, ants become more sluggish but continue to forage for food and enlarge their nesting areas. The habitat where carpenter ants are most common include areas abundant in fir and cedar trees, stumps, fallen timber, as well as structural and decorative wood borders and fire wood. Winged reproductives are produced by mature colonies, they leave the colony to mate and start new colonies. Winged reproductives can be seen emerging as early as January through mid summer.

Carpenter ants are most active at night, when it is not uncommon to see 10 to 20 times the numbers of ants that would be seen during daylight hours . Ants emerge about 15 minutes after sundown and leave the nest in large numbers in search of food, often traveling hundreds of feet from the nest on semi-permanent trails . Unlike other pest ant species, carpenter ants create semi-permanent trails through the grass from their nest to areas where they collect food. Movement between nest sites and between nest sites and feeding sites is often facilitated by the use of these well-maintained trails. In the evening, ants can be seen using these trails as they emerge from and return to their nest. Colonies may even use the same trail in different years. Carpenter ants also follow man-made guides such as retaining wall edges, garden hoses, fences, or vegetation and tree limbs that contact homes when foraging. Carpenter ants feed mainly in trees and wooded areas, where they consume insects or honeydew directly from aphids and scale insects that are found feeding on the tree’s sap.


Carpenter ants can cause significant damage to homes and other structures, and should be exterminated at the earliest signs of infestation. Although Carpenter Ants do not eat wood, they excavate wood to make their nests, which consist of extensive networks of galleries often begun in areas soft from decay. Carpenter ants may excavate wooden structural framing of building, sometimes causing serious structural damage. They may also nest in wall voids, hollow doors, cracks and crevices, furniture, and abandoned termite galleries. Infestations can occur in new buildings when land clearing in the area disturbs existing native colonies. In the wild, carpenter ants nest in living and dead trees, stumps as well as soil and beneath rocks. Damage to wood caused by carpenter ants is different than the damage to wood caused by subterranean termites. Carpenter ants excavate wood with and across the grain, while termites only damage wood with the grain. Furthermore, termites often line their galleries with mud, while carpenter ant galleries are smooth, clean, and devoid of mud and other debris.

You may see an ant in or around your home intermittently but this does not necessarily mean you have an infestation as an occasional ant may be a scout looking for food. However, continuous or numerous ants in and around your home are signs of nesting in the home.

Signs of Infestation

  • Regular sightings of carpenter ants inside the home
  • Carpenter Ants trailing to and from the exterior of the home
  • Sawdust and or trailing Carpenter Ants at the base of trees near the home
  • Carpenter Ant workers or reproductives emerging or ejecting sawdust from structural members of the home
  • If you see any activity that you suspect is due to carpenter ants, DO NOT DISTURB the ants because this will cause the ants to develop new routes which may take us longer to find.

How To Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Homeowners can take several measures to control carpenter ants and help prevent future problems:

  • Eliminate sources of excess moisture to help make the home a less desirable nesting site to ants and other pests.
  • Fix leaks around attic vents, pipes and sinks, and around chimneys and skylights.
  • Replace water-damaged wood.
  • Dry out the crawl space by installing a vapor barrier and foundation vents.
  • Keep rain gutters clean and adjust drain spouts so water flows away from the building.
  • Install rain gutters if they do not already exist.
  • Trim tree limbs away from the structure. Ants often enter structures by bridging to roofs and siding from tree branches in contact with these surfaces.
  • Remove stumps, fallen timber, and other wood debris close to the building to eliminate nesting sites.


Carpenter ant extermination and infestation prevention is of paramount importance to us at Action Pest Control. Finding nests in a structure is one component to exterminating Carpenter Ants. However, this is easier said than done. Nests are often in locations that are inaccessible, such as wall voids, large beams, and other enclosed structures within the building. By treating with a comprehensive technique, hidden nesting sites and foraging trail entry and exit points are all treated. Treating the whole structure ensures extermination of carpenter ants wherever they may be.

We kill carpenter ants using a variety of approaches, depending on type of construction, geographic location, and specific areas of infestation. For carpenter ant activity within a house, we may apply a direct application of a durable registered pesticide into voids if construction methods allow. We also treat the crawlspace, exterior foundation, eaves, and areas where fences and decks meet the house, as well as stumps, tree bases and other wood in contact with the soil that are close to the house. Because ants follow wiring and plumbing routes through the structure, we may also need to treat nests in voids by treating areas where plumbing or electrical wiring enter.


After the initial treatment kills Carpenter ants in your home we perform quarterly perimeter treatments throughout the year to prevent reentry of foraging ants from colonies nesting in the surrounding environment. The exterior perimeter treatments will include an application to the foundation, under the edges of siding, around window and door frames, eaves, areas where fences and decks meet the house, as well as stumps, tree bases and other wood in contact with the soil that are close to the house, and any carpenter ant trails that are found.