Carpenter ants are a nuisance that can invade your home during the spring and summer months.
But there comes a period when carpenter ants suddenly disappear?
Do their disappearance signal that carpenter ants are gone for good? Or is it just a temporary absence?
In this post, you’ll get to the answer to these questions.
Plus, you’ll also find out why carpenter ants come back and how to kill carpenter ants in your home.
And a whole lot more!
Why Carpenter Ants Suddenly Disappear
Even though you do nothing, carpenter ants can disappear from your home.
And that can be baffling. It’s Because these ants tend to show up after a temporary absence.
Let’s have a look at the reasons for their disappearance.
Carpenter Ants Hibernate During Winters
Nine out of ten times, you’ll notice that carpenter ants disappear during the winter months.
Why? It’s because carpenter ants hibernate during winters.
And many homeowners believe that carpenter ants have quit their homes for good.
But that’s not the case.
When the temperature drops during the winter, carpenter ants will retreat to their nests to keep themselves warm and wait for the spring month to arrive.
If there’s a severe carpenter ants infestation in your home, there are carpenter ants’ nests in your home.
Inside your home, carpenter ants build nests in the cracks on the walls and floors and places like your kitchen and bathroom.
If there’s damp or damaged wood and furniture in your home, carpenter ants will also make nests in these places.
That’s why there are high chances of carpenter ants building their nests in places such as window sills, door frames, wooden joists, and beams.
They prefer to live in places where there’s high moisture and food supply. Therefore, they’ll also build nests in your kitchen and bathroom.
Inside your kitchen and bathroom, they can hide in places like the thin voids underneath the sink, near the bathtub, inside kitchen cabinets, and underneath countertops.
These ants will hibernate and hide in their nests starting from the fall months and through the winters.
You’ll get to know later in the post what happens next when they come out of hibernation.
But for now, be sure that they’ll be back.
You’ve Cleaned Your Home And Did Some Home Repairs.
Carpenter ants suddenly disappear if you do some cleaning work in your home, especially in your kitchen. And when you fix the water leakages and clean your house.
Also, some minor home repairs, like sealing the gaps and cracks in the walls and floor, lead to their disappearance.
Why does it happen?
Carpenter ants thrive in moist conditions and on the food waste in your home.
Carpenter ants eat sugary and protein-rich foods like meat, pet foods, droppings of jams and jellies, honey, and syrups.
Carpenter ants can eat anything that has protein or sugar.
So, your trash bins, kitchen pantry, and kitchen cabinets are prime targets for carpenter ants.
When you fix water leakages inside your home, it reduces the moisture content of your home.
Fixing water leakages through the pipes running through or around the home’s foundation significantly reduces the dampness in your home’s floors and walls.
As carpenter ants also need moisture to survive, reducing moisture levels makes them quit your home.
Moisture control is also an effective measure to get rid of bugs like earwigs and silverfish that high levels of moisture attract.
Homeowners notice a massive reduction of bugs in their homes when they install dehumidifiers in their living spaces and highly damp places like basement and laundry rooms.
Why? It’s because dehumidifiers reduce the moisture in the air inside your home.
You’ve Cleaned Your Yard Or Garden.
Let’s face it, your yard and garden are a source of carpenter ants.
They sneak inside your home from outdoors through the tiny gaps in your home’s walls, windows, and doors.
Outdoors, carpenter ants live underneath organic debris like foliage, in the bark of the trees, firewood, mulch, and even in tree branches.
When you clean your yard and get rid of the wastes, you destroy the places where carpenter ants hide.
But there’s a downside to it.
If your home has all the necessary living conditions for them to survive, cleaning your yard and garden can cause them to sneak inside your home.
Just like damp and damaged furniture inside the home, rotting and damp firewood in the yard is a home for fire ants.
The termites love it too!
Removing those pieces of rotting firewood aids in the disappearance of carpenter ants.
There Are Spiders And Centipedes Inside Your Home
Both spiders and centipedes are predators. They hunt down and eat all types of bugs that they can get their fangs on.
So, if there’s a presence of spiders and centipedes, they’re helping you reduce the number of carpenter ants in your home.
But spiders and centipedes won’t eat the entire ant colonies inside your home. Nor will they destroy the carpenter ants’ nests.
You’ll notice the disappearance of carpenter ants because of centipedes and spiders only if the carpenter ants’ infestation level is low.
Why Do Carpenter Ants Suddenly Appear Out Of Nowhere
It’s not just their disappearance, the re-appearance can also be as much surprising.
The causes of their appearance are primarily opposite to the cause of their sudden disappearance.
Here’s why carpenter ants suddenly appear.
Carpenter Ants’ Hibernation Period Is Over
Carpenter ants appear in your home from the beginning of the spring when their hibernation period is over.
They’ll continue with their foraging activity inside your home.
And if your home still has enough supply of moisture and food waste, then it’s a win-win for them.
Starting from the spring months, carpenter ants will breed and lay eggs.
It’s during this time of the year carpenter ants cause maximum damage.
They’ll bore into the wooden material, like furniture and wooden joists and wooden picture frames inside your home, to lay their eggs.
The damage that carpenter ants cause to wood isn’t as severe as the damage caused by termites. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat wood.
But many carpenter ants mean more ants are boring inside the wooden structures in your home, causing more damage.
Swarms Of Carpenter Ants Enter Your Home
During the mating months, which are spring and summer, swarms of carpenters fly inside homes.
These carpenter ants with wings are known as alates. Alates are the reproductive life cycle stage of female carpenter ants.
The wings of the alates carpenter ants are prominent with visible veins. The wings start from the thorax and cover the entire abdomen.
They’d fly into your yard or even inside your home through open doors and windows. These alates will lose their wings, mate, and start to build nests in your homes.
That’s one of the ways that carpenter ants can invade homes. And that’s also one of the reasons why carpenter ants suddenly appear in homes without yards or gardens like an apartment complex.
You Unintentionally Introduce Carpenter Ants In Your Home
Carpenter ants can suddenly appear despite your home lacking everything that can attract them.
And that happens when you accidentally introduce them inside your home.
You do it by bringing potted plants, firewood, and cardboard boxes.
These are all hiding places for carpenter ants.
If you’ve been on any outdoor trip, carpenter ants can also sneak into your luggage.
And once they’re inside your home, carpenter ants will indeed find places to nest, breed, and establish their colonies.
So, how would you know that there are carpenter ants in your home?
For that, you’d need to check out the signs of carpenters. The following section covers it all.
6 Signs Of Carpenter Ants In The House
Now that you know why carpenter ants suddenly disappear and appear, let’s look at signs of carpenter ants in the house.
There are six signs of carpenter ants in the house
1 – Physical Sightings Of Carpenter Ants In The House
There’s no obvious sign of carpenter ants in the home but their physical sightings.
Sightings of these large black ants crawling on the floor, especially in places like your kitchen, attic, basement, and bathroom, is a probable sign of carpenter ant infestation.
Sighting of even one carpenter ant indicates the presence of an entire ant colony breeding and thriving inside your home. And if you see one carpenter ant in your home, you should worry a bit.
2 – Sawdust Under The Wooden Materials
Sawdust can be an indication of any wood-boring bugs like termites and powder post beetles.
But couple it with the physical sightings of carpenter ants, then chances are high that these carpenter ants are boring inside the wood to lay their eggs.
You’d observe fine sawdust underneath wooden furniture, door frames, window sills, bed, wooden stairs, and even baseboards.
Inspect for any tiny holes in these wooden objects. If you see any, then that’s a sign of carpenter ants.
3 – Trails Of Carpenter Ants Crawling Inside Your Home From Outdoors
Carpenter ants communicate with the help of pheromones. Pheromones are chemicals that bugs produce to communicate when they locate any food source or hiding place.
So, if you see a trail of carpenter ants crawling inside your home from outdoors, then chances are there’s already an established colony of carpenter ants drawing these ants inside.
On top of it, to make matters worse, there are enough life forces like food and water supply inside your home to sustain all the ants.
4 – Scratching Sound Coming Out Of Wooden Structures
Now the scratching sound can be pretty faint.
You might not notice it when you’re engaged in your daily activities.
However, you may notice that scratching sound coming out of the wooden structures and furniture during the night.
Carpenter ants are nocturnal. And they undertake their nesting and foraging activity during the night.
So, the possibility of hearing the scratching sound is high during the night than in the day.
5 – Black Ants With Wings Coming Out Of Wooden Structures
Now this one is the worst sign of carpenter ants in the house.
It means your home has become the center point of carpenter ants that sustain the entire life cycle of these ants.
The winged ants creeping out from the holes in the wooden structure are alates, who’re now leaving the colony to search for new places to infest.
That may cause them to infest your home more by discovering new wooden pieces and structures.
When the infestation level is that severe, don’t be surprised if you see carpenter ants coming out of even gaps in the walls, cracks on the floors, and even from the ceiling.
At times, these alates might not be visible to you.
But you’ll find the wings of these ants that they shed before mating and moving into new structures, lying around on the floor for sure.
6 – Dead Carpenter Ants In The House
Sighting of dead carpenter ants is also a sign of carpenter ants in the house.
And you can see these dead black ants despite not doing anything or without taking any measures.
Like all living beings, ants die their natural deaths as well.
These dead carpenter ants in the house are evicted dead bodies of ants that died in the nests.
How To Kill Carpenter Ants In The House
This post wouldn’t have made any sense if you didn’t get to know how to kill carpenter ants in the house.
In this section, you’ll find 3 steps to kill carpenter ants in your home.
Let’s check them out.
Step #1 – Find The Nest Of Carpenter Ants
Unfortunately, killing the carpenter ants in the house by directly spraying an insecticide spray on them is a half-hearted measure.
You may kill the visible ones, but you’re not doing enough to purge your home from these ants.
To kill carpenter ants and remove the infestation, you need to locate the carpenter ants’ nests. And this is the most challenging part.
You may need a help of an experienced pest controller to do the job.
It’s because carpenter ants don’t make a single giant hive-like nest. Carpenter ants build multiple satellite nests that are connected with the primary nest where the queen lives.
Why do they do that?
It’s because to ensure that the queen that lays the eggs is safe.
The interconnected nests act as a conduit of moisture and food that worker ants transfer from the satellite ants to the queen’s nest.
You can locate the nests if you follow the signs of carpenter ants infestation in your home.
First, follow the trail of the ants. Where the trail ends up?
Most of the time, the trail ends up either to the food source or to the nests.
Secondly, tap on the wood that you found above the sawdust. Tapping on the wood will rattle the carpenter ants inside, which will lead them to pop out of the holes in the wood.
Thirdly, locate any dampwood inside your home.
Door frames, window frames, and wooden furniture in damp places like bathrooms, the basement, and the kitchen are easy targets for carpenter ants to nest and sneak inside.
Poke the holes that you see on the damp wood. If there are carpenter ants inside, they’ll appear out of those holes.
These are the three ways to find carpenter ants inside your home.
But remember, you shouldn’t rest if you’ve found just one nest.
As carpenter ants make multiple nests, so finding out just one nest will not solve the entire carpenter ant problem in your home.
Step#2 – Place Ant Baits Where You Observed The Ant Trails
In the last section, you’ve found out that following the ant trails is one of the ways to find the ant nest.
Now you can exploit these ant trails in your favor.
By placing ant baits near the trails that these ants take, you’ll attract the ants to the ant baits.
The ant baits contain sugar and ant-killing poison. The sugar will make the ants eat the bait.
But they’ll also take the chunks of the bait back to their nest. From there, they can also pass on the bait chunks to the queen’s nest.
Ant baits won’t kill the ants instantly. But it acts as an effective slow killer and can decimate the entire colony.
When the ants take the bait back to their nests, other ants eat it too.
That makes the poison spread in the entire colony and kills all the ants in the nest.
The trick lies in keeping the bait at the right place.
Places like deep inside the kitchen corners, but near the ants’ trail, where the ants can detect the bait, works well.
But keeping it in the open right in the middle of the room might not be that effective.
You’ll find both liquid and solid ant baits. But for best results, use non-repelling ant baits.
Non-repelling ant baits will not repel the ants in the nest. Instead, it’d attract them more, causing them to eat the ant bait.
One word of caution. Please ensure that the bait is out of reach of your kids and pets.
Ant baits are poisonous. Your pets and children can have some severe consequences if they ingest it by mistake.
Step#3 – Destroy The Ant Nests That You Located
Remember in the first step, you located the ant nests?
Now it’s time to destroy it.
For that, you’d need some basic level of wood drilling skills.
Take a driller and drill a 1/8 to 1/4 inches deep hole in the wood where there’s an ant nest.
On drilling, you’d find some ants popping out of the hole.
Squash them under your shoes if you want to.
Drill 3 holes every eight inches on the wood’s surface.
Now, take a hand dust puffer, fill it with a mixture of boric acid and grounded sugar, and puff the mixture inside the holes.
Boric acid kills carpenter ants. Sugar makes the ants consume the mixture. It destroys the ants’ exoskeletons and their digestive systems.
It’ll also destroy the nests by killing all the ants inside the wood.
You’ll need to repeat the entire three steps multiple times till you don’t see any live carpenter ants in your home.
How To Prevent Carpenter Ant Infestation In Your Home
Knowing the methods to kill ants inside your home is fine. But would you like to do it every other day?
Of course not!
You don’t want to be in the illusion that carpenter ants are gone when carpenter ants suddenly disappear.
That’ll lead to a very unpleasant surprise when carpenter ants appear again once their hibernation period is over.
So, the best approach is the long-term approach that secures home from ant infestation in the future.
And there are ways to do it right now.
The steps that you’re about to find out will secure your home, not just from carpenter ants.
These steps work against all types of ants and even for invasive pests like roaches and termites.
Here’s how to prevent ant infestation in your home.
Seal All The Gaps And Cracks To Prevent Ants Sneaking Inside
Now that you know that ants exploit the tiny gaps and cracks on your home’s foundation walls, door and window frames, and window sills, seal those gaps.
Also, seal any cracks on the floor and furniture. It’s because when the ants are inside your home, they’ll use these gaps to hide or build nests.
It’d be best to use a silicon-based sealant to seal the gaps.
Silicon-based sealants are strong. Ants and bugs can’t chew through it.
Also, these sealants can easily last for a decade.
Keep Your Kitchen And Bathroom Clean To Deny Ants Food
Ants, especially carpenter ants, thrive on the food you eat and the food waste you create.
Ensure that your kitchen is swanky clean, you dispose of the garbage in the kitchen trash bin daily, and no food stains or food dropping are lying around.
Also, ensure that all the foods in your kitchen pantry are in robust airtight jars.
It’s not just the pantry pests that can invade your kitchen pantry. Ants can invade too.
Control Moisture Inside And Outside Of Your Home
Moisture, along with food, is what these ants need to survive.
And to secure your home from most types of bug infestation, controlling the dampness levels in your home is essential.
Homes turn damp when there’s water leakage. So, if there’s any, fix the leakage.
Check underneath the sinks and water taps in your bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen for any leakages.
Again, fix those plumbing issues.
If you’re living in a town with high humidity, installing a dehumidifier helps reduce the moisture in the air inside your home.
That helps a lot in keeping ants and bugs that thrive in moist conditions away.
Also, don’t forget your yard or garden. Overwatering creates dampness in the yard that ultimately affects places like your basement.
A wet yard also makes your home’s foundation damp from the outside.
So, refrain from overwatering the yard or garden.
Remove any organic debris, like foliage, rotting pieces of firewood, and mulch to deny carpenter ants the hiding places.
Empty trash bins with garbage. Spray a mixture of white vinegar and water in the trash bins.
Bugs and flies hate the smell of white vinegar. That prevents them from taking refuge inside the trash bins.
Scatter Ant Granules Around The Perimeter Of Your Home
Ant granules are an excellent yet highly overlooked way to keep all types of home-invading ants like grease ants, sugar ants, and fire ants.
Scatter the granules around the perimeter of your home, and sprinkle some water in it.
The granules will sink in the soil and will keep the ants away. The granules will also kill the ants that build nests underneath the soil’s layer.
The best part?
These granules will easily last for three months.
Follow the steps in the guide to kill carpenter ants in your home and keep ants away from your home forever.
You won’t have to face the mental agony of carpenter ants suddenly disappearing and reappearing out of nowhere.
Do Carpenter Ants Bite?
Yes, carpenter ants can bite you.
They’ve got strong mandibles that can pierce your skin that leads to a burning sensation. The carpenter ant bite is also painful but not as painful as a bee sting.
Carpenter ants also spray a liquid known as formic acid on the bitten area that aggravates the pain.
But carpenter ants don’t carry any venom, and neither does it transmit any diseases.
Carpenter ants suddenly disappear because they retreat into their hiding places for hibernating.
Changes in the environment of your home because of repairs and cleaning also cause a decrease in carpenter ants activity.
In this guide, you’ve also discovered why carpenter ants suddenly appear out of nowhere after disappearing.
You also got to know easy-to-implement steps to kill carpenter ants in your home.
Plus, there’s a step-by-step guide to make your home ant-proof forever.
But what brings carpenter ants into your home? To know more about it, read our post on what attracts carpenter ants.
We’re Mark and Jim. We were serial pest killers for almost all of our lives. Through this blog we spread pest murdering tips to people like you who want to keep their homes pest free.