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 Eastern Tennessee

Carpenter ants are wood-destroying pests and can be confused with termites. In eastern Tennessee, carpenter ants bore through support beams, eventually making their way throughout entire buildings. Carpenter ants prefer to nest and excavate water-damaged wood.  Although termites eat and digest wood, carpenter ants do not eat wood. Carpenter ants tunnel and nest through the wood, building cavities to raise their young. Carpenter ants can critically damage wood, reducing solid structures to hollow shells. If you spot small sawdust piles at ground level or on window sills, you may have a carpenter ant infestation.

Carpenter Ant Habitat

Carpenter ants prefer to live outdoors in damp, decaying wood. Rotting tree stumps, firewood, and wood fencing are all popular habitats. Indoors, carpenter ants infest building materials such as wood or foam insulation. In homes, carpenter ants can occupy cavities like those found in hollow doors or window frames. Although they prefer the outdoors, carpenter ants will make their way inside a building through gaps and cracks in foundations. Workers will also climb through plumbing or electrical openings to gain access to a home.

Carpenter Ant Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Carpenter ants rarely bite and are not generally thought of as dangerous. The real threat carpenter ants pose, is their ability to destroy and weaken the structural integrity of homes and structures.  Carpenter ant colonies can reach tremendous numbers and over time, nests will split and branch out to form new colonies. Carpenter ants swarm in order to mate and establish new colonies. If you see winged, flying ants in your home, you may have an infestation. Although not as dangerous to your home as termites, carpenter ants can cause serious damage. If a carpenter ant infestation is suspected, it is best to contact a professional ant exterminator. Don’t wait until your home is overrun by ants. Contact Johnson Pest Control today!