New Hampshire's most common ant

Active season: Year-round, most active May through September, with major swarms (breeding season) in May and June in New Hampshire and the rest of the northeast.

Disease profile: Ants are not known to carry any diseases. So that’s a plus.

Appearance: Carpenter ants vary in size. Worker ants are a quarter inch to three-quarters of an inch long. Swarmer ants have wings, and both males and females will swarm in the springtime by the hundreds. Carpenter ants are most often black, but can have bits of red making them appear two-toned. A carpenter ant has a pinched waist with one node. They have large, powerful mandibles for biting or stinging.

Signs: Carpenter ants build their nests by excavating wood and creating clean and smooth networks of pathways. While they don’t eat the wood, they burrow into it, sometimes causing severe structural damage to your home you work so hard to keep maintained. They prefer to nest in wood damaged by water – y’know, support beams, roofing supports, NBD. Carpenter ants will travel 100 yards or more for food, and wander throughout the home and in warmer months, come out at night looking for snacks.

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Ask 603 Pest - Carpenter Ant FAQ

“I found piles of sawdust. Do I have carpenter ants, termites, or some sort of weird woodworking hobbyist house-elf?”

You are probably dealing with ants, as termites will eat the wood as a food source, carpenter ants bore through it when making their homes. However, other insects also destroy wood and leave sawdust behind, so it’s a good idea to get a carpenter ant inspection. Or a tiny broom and dustpan for that elf.

“I get carpenter ants every year. Should I be worried?”

Not if you call us! If you see carpenter ants every year, you are under attack. It is possible that they are nesting within walls, and they may even have satellite colonies located outside of your building with trails connecting them back for food and shelter. We recommend an inspection and potentially an ongoing barrier to protect your space.

“How large can carpenter ant colonies get?”

It takes three to six years for a carpenter ant colony to reach maturity and it can be home to populations as large as 100,000 ants.

Ready to get rid of ants?