extensive carpenter ant damage

What Exactly Do Carpenter Ants Do With Wood?

Carpenter ants, particularly black ones, are common pests throughout portions of Canada. Although they prefer nesting in rotting trees, they will also take up residence in homes and businesses. Carpenter ants get their name because of the damage they cause to wood and the fact that they nest in wood. But what do they do with the wood and why do they do it?


Carpenter ants often take up residence among the naturalness of decaying trees, especially hollow trees. They will also nest in stumps or logs. In fact, the carpenter ant prefers to build their primary residence within these natural settings.

However, they will often send out workers in search of food. Workers often find the majority of their food source among humans, which is why they invade homes and businesses. Carpenter ants will travel great distances in search of food, with some travelling up to 100 yards from their primary nest.

To make travelling easier on them, they will often create satellite nests. They may opt to build those satellites within your home, particularly in your floors, between the hollows of your walls, around the wooden door and window trims, and other wood objects. If you live in a wooded area, you may find that invasion of carpenter ants are far more frequent.

What Carpenter Ants Do With Wood

Some people mistakenly believe carpenter ants eat wood, which is not true. Instead, they use their powerful mandibles to dig their way through the wood to create tunnels. They use the tunnels to navigate through their nest. Once they finish chewing their way through the wood, they discard it outside the nest.

If you look around wooden objects in your home, you may notice small piles of wood that look more like sawdust. At times, the sawdust may also contain other debris the carpenter ants wish to keep out of their nests, such as particles of food, pieces of insects, and deceased ants. The excavated wood has no place or purpose within the nest.

Damages and Taking Action

If left unchecked, carpenter ants/sugar ants can create damages to wooden objects. Search inside your home and around your property to see if you can locate signs of an infestation. For instance, if you have wood piles outside your home, search around there for carpenter ants. Other areas you should check include:

  • Window and door trim
  • Window sills
  • Ceiling Joists
  • Wall Studs
  • Wood porches or pillars
  • Wooden flooring
  • Areas with wet wood, such as in your bathroom or around the roof

As soon as you suspect the presence of carpenter ants in or around your home, you should contact a professional. The sooner you deal with the infestation, the less likely it will be that you will have to pay for carpenter ant damages. If you leave the infestation to spread, you could end up paying for unnecessary repairs.

Contact a pest control professional at the first sign of an ant infestation. Professional ant control technicians can assess your problem and provide the proper methods of removal and prevention. Stopping a carpenter ant infestation means eliminating the parent nest and all the satellite nests they built.