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 moist, damp wood, constructing their nests in hollow trees, logs, posts, landscaping timbers, and wood used in homes and other structures.


  • Carpenter ants prefer to nest and excavate water-damaged wood.
  • Carpenter ant colonies are very large containing 50,000 to 100,000 workers.
  • Heavy carpenter ant activity in the home usually indicates a moisture problem within the structure.

Carpenter Ants in Illinois and Indiana

Found throughout Illinois and Indiana, carpenter ants are wood-destroying insects that are often confused with termites. If left alone, carpenter ants can destroy a structure, tunneling out support beams throughout buildings, sometimes causing entire walls to collapse. The difference between carpenter ants and termites is the fact that carpenter ants do not eat wood, they simply tunnel and nest through it—this is something that can help identify a carpenter ant infestation.

Carpenter Ant Habitat

When found outdoors, carpenter ants prefer damp wood, nesting in rotting tree stumps, firewood, and wood fencing. Indoors, they infest building materials such as foam or wood insulation and can occupy cavities like those found in hollow doors or window frames. Although carpenter ants are often found outdoors, they typically make their way inside homes and buildings by climbing through plumbing and electrical openings or through cracks and crevices in foundations.

Carpenter Ant Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Carpenter ants are not typically thought of as dangerous and rarely bite. The real concern with a carpenter ant infestation is their ability to damage and weaken the structural integrity of homes and buildings. Carpenter ant populations can reach tremendous numbers, at which time satellite nests begin to form and branch out from the original colony. Similar to termites, carpenter ants will swarm to mate and establish new colonies. Seeing these winged, flying ants in your home is a sign of an infestation, and it is recommended to contact a licensed ant exterminator.