Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants Identification Guide

Learn What Carpenter Ants Look Like

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While most folks understand what an ant looks like they may have trouble distinguishing a carpenter ant from a drywood termite. This can be difficult to do because termites and ants do look very much alike, especially during the spring and fall when the winged cast members are starting to fly around to find grounds for a new nest.

Carpenter Ants:

  • Ants have noticeable waists
  • Ants have clubbed or bent antennae
  • Ants have longer legs
  • When wings are present, the front wings will be longer than the back wings on ants
  • Carpenter ants make small holes in wood to kick out debris that contains coarse sawdust along with insect body parts


Dry Wood Termites:

  • Drywood Termites have a thick waist
  • Drywood Termites have straight antennae
  • Drywood Termites have shorter legs
  • When wings are present, both pairs of wings will be the same length on a drywood termite
  • Drywood termites tend to make small holes to kick out debris that looks like fine sawdust but does not contain insect parts
If neither of these descriptions fit the ants that you are seeing in or around your structure you should visit our General Ant Identification Guide to help identify and treat the infestation you have.

How big are Carpenter ants? Carpenter ants are 1/4" - 1/2" long

  • Carpenter ants have noticeable waists
  • Carpenter ants have clubbed or bent antennae
  • Carpenter ants have 6 legs
  • Carpenter ants do not have stingers

Carpenter ants vary in color from black to dark red

There are several species of carpenter ants and they can be found throughout the US.

Carpenter ants can be found in dead or damaged trees, stumps and wood piles outside as well as in mulch. Inside, carpenter ants are usually found where wood has retained excess moisture from a leaky pipe or other leak in a wall void. Carpenter ants leave behind small holes in wood and kick out debris that will include coarse sawdust and insect body parts.

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