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.
  • Drawn to moisture, they can establish nests both inside and outside of structures.
  • Heavy carpenter ant activity in the home can indicate a moisture issue within the structure.

Carpenter Ants in Bristol

Despite what their name might suggest, carpenter ants do not eat the wood through which they excavate. Instead, they tunnel within wood to create galleries in which to lay their eggs. Carpenter ants are often confused for termites due to their wood-boring behaviors. Their nest-building activities destroy the structural integrity of homes and businesses. The damage done by carpenter ants is usually minimal and spread out over a long period of time. Over time, they seriously damage wood, reducing solid structures to hollow shells. Feeding on a wide variety of foods, carpenter ants prefer the sugary honeydew excreted by plant-sucking insects.

Carpenter Ant Habitat

Carpenter ants are known to nest in different locations, but they are mostly drawn to moisture. 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 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 crawl spaces and behind dishwashers. Indoor carpenter ant infestations are always associated with moisture issues in homes or businesses.

Carpenter Ant Behaviors & Dangers

Although the damage they create is drawn out over time, carpenter ants can nonetheless cause significant wood destruction. Even though carpenter ants rarely bite and are not generally thought of as dangerous, their burrowing activity weakens and destroys the structural integrity of homes and businesses. Carpenter ant swarms usually occur in the spring and are a sure sign 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.