Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants, because of their habit of nesting in our homes and offices, are a problem to humans. Carpenter ants DO NOT eat wood, but remove quantities of it to expand their nests. This excavating of wood frequently results in structural damage and can potentially cause unsafe conditions.

If you have a carpenter ant infestation, let the professionals at Sentinel Pest Control help you right away with a free estimate today: (253) 538-2576


Most carpenter ant nests are started by a single queen and located in decayed wood. As a nest grows, it often then extends into sound wood. Since the initial colony is started by a single queen, substantial damage usually takes around three years to occur. Workers are produced at a slow rate, so a colony consisting of 200 – 300 workers is at least 2 – 4 years old.

Carpenter ant infestations in Washington State.

The vast majority of problems with carpenter ants in Washington State are caused by two species, Camponotus Modoc and Vicinis. These species commonly nest in standing trees, stumps or logs on the forest floor. Since many houses are being built in and around forested areas, well-established, vigorous colonies are readily available in the immediate vicinity to attack these dwellings. The size of a typical colony is probably 10 – 20,000 workers and large colonies can have more than 100,000 workers. Workers from these large parent colonies will frequently move into homes and start satellite colonies. Since these colonies are already established, damage to houses can occur in a much shorter time and is not limited to decayed wood.

Carpenter ants are large, with queens 16-18 mm long and workers that vary from 6-13 mm long. Color is not always a good means of distinguishing these ants from other ants, as Washington has several species of carpenter ants that range from black, to red thorax with black abdomen, to light brown. Camponotus Modoc, the most common species locally, is black with reddish legs.

How do I know if I have a carpenter ant problem?

Remember that the presence of a few ants does not necessarily mean that you have an infestation. There are a number of other clues that are good indicators letting you know that a problem exists.

Sawdust. Ants extrude the sawdust from their galleries and runways, which can often be found on crawlspace floors, on beams, or in cobwebs. Carpenter ant sawdust often contains insect parts from their food and parts of dead ants.

Presence of workers. While an occasional ant or two may wander into a home, frequent sightings of one or more on the premises indicates a possibility of an infestation in or near the structure.

Rustling noises. Carpenter ants produce rustling noises in wall voids and ceilings, particularly if they are disturbed. These sounds are useful in locating nests.

Trails. The presence of foraging trails is another good clue. These trails are easiest to locate at night between sunset and sunrise when foraging ants are most active.


Call Sentinel Pest Control before it’s too late!

Let the pest professionals at Sentinel inspect your home or business before the damage caused by your carpenter ant problem gets out of control. As always, our inspections are free of charge and scheduled at your convenience. Call today! (253) 538-2576