What Are Carpenter Ants?
Carpenter ants are social insects. They are among the largest species of ant found in Washington D.C., Maryland and much of the United States. These ants have strong mandibles, which they use to excavate wood. They do this for nesting purposes. The first sign that you may have a carpenter ant problem is by spotting large, black ants in or around your home.
Often you may only see a handful of ants over several days. Another sign of carpenter ant activity is the small piles of sawdust they leave behind as they tunnel their way through wood. This debris, known as “frass”, will collect beneath the site of the nest and oftentimes will include parts of dead insects.
Carpenter ants are generally black, red or brown or a combination of red and black. The workers in a colony can range from 1/8th of an inch to 1/2 of an inch in length with the queen reaching nearly 1 inch in length.
Why do I have them?
Carpenter ant colonies naturally occur outdoors. They will infest wood in homes and other structures. They prefer wood that has already been damaged by water. If you discover large black ants inside your home, they are likely to be part of a nearby satellite colony.
Once inside, carpenter ants will forage for food debris and water inside kitchens and bathrooms. Carpenter ants, like most species of ants, gain access to your home through eaves, door frames, and window frames. They also sneak in via openings around plumbing and utility lines.