carpenter ants and their life cycle

Carpenter Ants and Their Life Cycle

Ants are common household pests. Throughout many areas of Canada, you will find several species of ants, some of which invade homes. One such species of ant is the carpenter ant. Carpenter ants can cause structural damage to homes since they chew through wood to build their nests and knowing how to get rid of ants in your bathroom can protect your investment.

Understanding the life cycle of a carpenter ant can prove useful. It is often said that knowledge is power.


A colony of carpenter ants has similar replication behaviours to several other species of ants. The first step is for the colony to send either a winged queen or winged male in search of a place to call home. However, the colony does not have winged members until they build their numbers.

A carpenter ant colony will wait until they have between two and three thousand workers, which may take several years. Once they reach that point, they will produce winged ants. Once the colony matures to the point they can produce winged ants, they will quickly get to work replicating them.

Throughout the summer months, the colony will produce anywhere from two hundred to four hundred winged ants. Since ants hibernate in the winter, the winged members will stay in the nest throughout the cold weather seasons. Once spring arrives, the winged colony members will leave the nest. If you have knowledge about a carpenter ant’s breeding and life cycle, you potentially have the power to control and remove carpenter ants from your home.

Off-Season Activity

Carpenter ants prefer to build their nests in the softwood of decaying trees and tree stumps. However, they will also build nests within your walls and floorboards if necessary. If a colony of carpenter ants moves into your home, you may notice off-season activity. When the ants build their colony outside, they experience normal temperature fluctuations, which causes them to hibernate.

If they live inside your home, however, the warmth of your home may keep them active even during the winter months. If you notice carpenter ants actively moving about inside your home during the winter, that likely means they likely have a nest somewhere in your house.

Keep in mind that if ants follow a normal pattern based on seasonal changes, then you will not see carpenter ants reproductive until the weather warms up. During the late spring and into the early summer months, the reproductive will emerge from the nest, causing peak inactivity.


When reproductive emerge from the nest, they take flight. During that flight, the male and female ants will mate. The flight is very brief, however, and the male dies soon after. The colony will crown a female as their queen and she will then remove her wings and seek out a home for her colony.

Colony Growth and Roles

It only takes roughly sixty days for ants to go from eggs to adults. If you were to see carpenter ants in your home, you might notice a size difference in them. Smaller carpenter ants usually come from the first brood of worker ants produced by the queen.

It is a worker ants job to forage food for the colony. Since the queen must first produce worker ants, the first brood does not have the same food resources as other broods. Therefore, the first brood will appear smaller in size compared to other broods of workers.

As soon as the first brood become adults, they take over nest enlargement, food gathering, and protecting the queen and her larvae. The queen only has to worry about laying eggs for the colony. Her job is to reproduce and create enough workers to fully sustain the colony.

If you notice carpenter ants in your home, your best bet is to reach out to a pest professional near you. They have methods that can remove the ant colony and any eggs laid by the queen. If, however, you take the DIY approach, you may not successfully remove unhatched eggs. Therefore, you will continue to have an ant infestation issue. Call The Exterminators Inc. if you need help deal with carpenter ants or with any other pests. Call 647-496-2211 for The Exterminators – pest control Toronto.