Carpenter ants are the most common species of house ants. These are bigger than most home-invading ants, black, and have a propensity to build colonies in your home.
But what attracts carpenter ants? Do they get inside your home only for food?
Or are other pre-existing factors in your homes that draw these black ants?
In this guide, you’ll find three factors that draw carpenter ants and play a significant role in carpenter ant infestation in your home.
You’ll find the most common places where carpenter ants are most likely to hide in your home and why these ants choose those places.
And a lot more. Keep reading.
3 Factors That Attract Carpenter Ants In Your Home
- Food wastes
- Firewood piles
Carpenter ants move inside your home from the outdoors. Their primary purpose is to look for new food sources and places to build their colonies.
That’s a fallout of the population explosion of carpenter ants in your yard or garden.
In apartment complexes, carpenter ants can spill over from one apartment to another.
So, how do moisture, food wastes, and wood piles cause carpenter ants in your home? Let’s find it out.
Carpenter ants live near moisture sources and build their nests on damp wood.
Also, high dampness causes condensation on walls, floors, insulation, attic, and wooden floors and beams.
That makes them moist, moldy, and soft, making it easy for the carpenter ants to drill holes into them and build colonies.
So, if your home has high moisture levels, which can result from leaking pipes, it will attract carpenter ants.
Inside your home, carpenter ants will hide in the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen, and basement.
Water usage in these places is high. So, dampness is also high in these areas.
Door frames, window frames, and other furniture in the kitchen, bathroom, basement, and laundry room become damp because of excessive water usage.
It becomes easy for carpenter ants to drill into these wooden products and build tunnels inside so that they can lay their eggs.
But, unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat wood. They’ll discard the wooden dust from the holes they drill in the wood.
That can give you the impression that there are termites or Powderpost beetles inside the wooden structure.
Carpenter ants won’t limit themselves to wood. They’ll also drill holes into damaged walls.
Because of excessive moisture, wall voids develop. These voids are easy entry points for carpenter ants and bugs into your home.
Carpenter ants will drill into those cracks that develop on walls and floor and start building colonies.
Carpenter ants eat human food rich in protein and sugar.
Food wastes in your kitchen trash bins, kitchen sink, and food stains on kitchen countertops and shelves are the source of nutrition for carpenter ants.
If your kitchen is dirty, or you don’t dispose of food wastes from your home often, then it’ll attract the carpenter ants.
Carpenter ants will target your kitchen sinks, kitchen trash bins, and even stored food in your kitchen pantry to get their food.
Improperly stored pet food is also an easy picking for carpenter ants.
A random single carpenter ant will scavenge for food in your kitchen. And on finding one, it’ll leave behind pheromones (scent trails) for the other carpenter ants to pick up.
Throngs of carpenter ants in the form of ant trails will enter your kitchen to get food.
And on finding a reliable and eternal food source, these carpenter ants will build colonies inside your home.
It’s only a matter of time before the queen carpenter ant will move in and start laying eggs inside the colonies the worker carpenter ants built inside your home.
And that’s when things become problematic.
It’s because carpenter ants don’t build a single nest or colony where the queen resides inside your home.
They build multiple satellite colonies as a storehouse for food. These satellite colonies cater to the central nest where the queen lives.
And the queen’s nest is in your home’s most hidden or hardest-to-reach place.
Firewood Piles And Organic Debris
Firewood piles and organic debris lined up at your home’s perimeter causes the carpenter ants to spill over from these places into your home.
Damp firewood piles and organic debris like decaying mulch beds and leaf litter are the prime real estate for carpenter ants outdoors.
They’ll hide and build their colonies in these places.
Failing to spot carpenter ants in these places only aids in the increase in their numbers.
And when their numbers increase, carpenter ants will look for alternative hiding places and food sources.
How To Stop Carpenter Ants From Entering Your Home?
Now that you know the causes that attract carpenter ants, it’s time to find out how you can stop them from entering your home.
Removal of their nesting places and denying them entry is paramount for preventing these damaging ants from entering your home.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to doing it.
Clean Your Yard
A dirty yard full of organic waste is a welcome sign for carpenter ants. Carpenter ants will breed and nest in these places before they make a move inside your home.
So, your first task is to remove all organic debris like rotting wood blocks, decaying mulch beds, and foliage from your yard and garden.
Also, don’t forget to remove the organic waste choking the gutters.
Blocked gutters also harbor carpenter ants and many other bugs. Ants will sneak through the roof vents from the choked gutters.
Keep Away Garden Pests
Garden pests like aphids and tiny white bugs like whiteflies and mealy bugs in your garden produce honeydew.
That honeydew is sweet. And it’s a food for carpenter ants.
Also, carpenter ants will hunt these soft-bodied garden pests, their larvae, and eggs.
That’s why it’s essential that your keep your garden and yard free from any pests. These tiny pests, and even dead insects, attract carpenter ants. And in the worst case, fire ants.
Presence of these pests can also lead to carpenter ant nest in your yard. That’ll only lead to more carpenter ants, eventually sneaking inside your home.
Remove Tree Stumps
Tree stumps are easy pickings for carpenter ants and termites. Roaches can also live in them.
Decaying tree stumps becomes not only a hiding place for carpenter ants but also a reliable food source for termites.
So, if you’ve got tree stumps in your yard, eliminate them.
Then spray an ant spray on the surface to ensure you get rid of carpenter ants living underneath the soil’s layer where the tree stump was.
You can also use insecticides on firewood piles, mulch beds, and places in your yard where you’ve noticed carpenter ants.
That’ll eliminate any ants and bugs living in these places.
Word of caution: Keep insecticides away from pets and children. And read the instructions on the label and take appropriate safety measures before using them.
Cut Off The Tree Limbs Touching The Roof And Windows Of Your House
Tree branches touching the roof and windows of your home become an easy route for the carpenter ants and many other bugs to enter homes.
That’s a bridge that bugs and insects need to cross to access an endless supply of food, moisture, and hiding places.
Also, carpenter ants can land on your roof eaves and shingles and sneak through the cracks surrounding these places.
If you’ve got a damaged ceiling, carpenter ants can drill inside the roof and start their colonies.
So, chop off any tree branches touching the roof and windows of your home.
Control The Moisture Levels Of Your Property
Controlling moisture in your home and yard is vital to keep carpenter ants and tiny moisture bugs away.
High moisture levels in your home’s walls and floors also attract cockroaches and makes it easy for the subterranean termites to invade your home.
Sadly, many homeowners ignore it. But you shouldn’t.
And controlling moisture levels in your home is straightforward.
All you’ve to do is fix leaking pipes in your home. Check the plumbing areas of the sinks in your kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, and basement.
Most of the time, water leakages occur in these places. If you find any leaks, fix them. Also, fix leaking faucets.
Additionally, ensure that there are no water leakages on the drains and pipes surrounding your home’s foundation.
Leaks in these pipes and drains cause dampness on floors and walls. That softens the walls and the floor, which makes it easy for carpenter ants to drill through them.
One more important thing.
Don’t overwater your yard or garden. Overwatering keeps the soil beds and mulch beds moist.
That causes many bugs, including carpenter ants, to build their nests.
Don’t let water get stagnant in your yard and garden. Stagnant water also increases the dampness levels of the yard.
The worst part is that stagnant water also becomes the breeding area for mosquitoes.
So, remove any useless saucers, pots, and tires in your yard. They can all hold rainwater and can increase the chances of carpenter ants’ infestation.
Maintain Cleanliness In Your Home And Remove Food Leftovers
Food wastes in your kitchen and organic wastes in your yard and garden are magnets for carpenter ants.
So, don’t let these wastes accumulate. Ensure that you’re disposing of the wastes regularly and maintaining proper cleanliness in your home and yard.
Don’t let stained plates and utensils sit over in the kitchen sink overnight. They start to emit a smell which attracts carpenter ants and roaches.
Food wastes in your kitchen trash bins and yard garbage bins also attract bugs, ants, and flies.
Keep places like kitchen cabinets, countertops, and sinks clean. Ensure that there are no food crumbs and food stains in these places.
These food stains and crumbs are the little things that carpenter ants pick up and they can lead to an infestation.
Also, regularly clean your kitchen appliances like dishwashers, coffee makers and toasters. There are always food deposits in them that draw a slew of bugs.
Seal Gaps And Cracks
The thin gaps on the window sills, door frames, walls, and near the utility lines are the most underrated yet most exploited entry points for carpenter ants and bugs to invade your home.
Carpenter ants will crawl through these crevices inside your home, searching for food, moisture, and nesting places.
A carpenter ant infestation that you don’t want inside your home.
So, seal those gaps and cracks.
Also, ensure that you repair damaged walls and floors.
High moisture can damage these places, which makes it easy for the carpenter ants, and bugs like roaches and centipedes to hide in them.
Don’t Keep Firewood Close To Your Home
Believe it or not, the firewood piles draw bugs like carpenter ants and termites like a magnet.
Firewood is unprocessed softwood. It’s full of starch and cellulose, the primary sources of nutrition for termites.
And it’s an accessible hideout for carpenter ants.
Carpenter ants will breed in the firewood piles profusely. And if the firewood pile is close to your home’s perimeter, then it’s only a matter of time before the carpenter ants will spill over inside your home.
So, keep firewood piles at least 6-8 feet away from your home’s walls. There are also proper ways to store firewood to prevent bugs like carpenter ants and termites from accessing the firewood piles.
One more important thing. Check the firewood blocks for any potential bugs latching onto them before you bring them.
In the same way, check any potted plants for ants and other bugs before you bring them inside your home.
Ants and bugs will fall off the firewood block and hide in your home, only to infest your home.
Remove Or Trim Overgrown Vegetation Near Your Home’s Walls
Overgrown bushes and shrubs become a bridge for bugs like carpenter ants and beetles to enter your home.
Carpenter ants can crawl on the leaves and twigs touching the windows and sneak inside your home.
So, trim that overgrown vegetation. If possible, remove the bushes and shrubs if they don’t serve any purpose.
Don’t Ignore The Early Signs Of Carpenter Ants
There are many early signs of carpenter ants infestation. One of them is a random ant crawling inside your home.
That ant can be the main culprit in starting a carpenter ant infestation.
Other signs include sightings of dead carpenter ants in your kitchen.
Holes on the wooden stuff, followed by a sawdust pile below the hole on the floor, is also a telltale sign of potential carpenter ants infestation starting to prop up.
Check your yard for carpenter ants’ nests if you notice these signs. Also, use an ant spray on the carpenter ants to neutralize them.
Also, carpenter ants invade homes in swarms during the summer. These swarms of flying ants are reproductives that leave their current colonies and fly out to start their new colonies.
They’ll get inside homes through open doors and windows. Upon entering, they’ll mate, lose their wings, and drill inside wooden structures and damaged walls and floors to lay their eggs.
Flying termites also enter homes in the same way.
If the swarms have entered your home, you’ll notice broken wings on the floor. Light from your home also draws winged carpenter ants and winged termites.
The best way to deal with these flying ants and termites is to install window shields with fine mesh so they can’t enter your home.
Keeping bug zappers and installing light bulbs on your patio, terrace, and yard also help prevent flying bugs from invading your house.
Hire Professional Pest Control To Remove Carpenter Ants
There are DIY ways to get rid of ants in your kitchen and home.
However, in the case of carpenter ant control, those DIY ways can be challenging to implement.
It’s because carpenter ants build satellite nests catering to the central nest. And finding and eliminating the main nest or parent colony where the queen resides is tricky work that only professionals can do.
So, if you’re seeing carpenter ants often despite following the DIY ways, then it’s time to call a professional and reliable pest controller for the job.
However, there’s a catch that you must keep in mind.
Most species of ants, including carpenter ants, disappear suddenly from homes in the winter.
It’s not that they quit your home voluntarily.
Ants recede into the colonies that they built inside your home for hibernation. They remain there and spend the winter till the spring arrives.
And when the temperature starts to rise, carpenter ants suddenly appear out of nowhere.
But carpenter ants can remain active in a warm home during the winter months. That makes them a year-long problem in many homes with good heating.
The presence of moisture draws carpenter ants into your home. Also, food waste and organic debris play a significant role in bringing carpenter ants into your home.
This guide revealed what attracts carpenter ants and how they enter your home.
There are also steps in this post that lay out the procedure you need to follow to prevent carpenter ants from entering your home.
We are Mark and Jim. We dabbled with bugs and pests for most of our lives. And we provide information and hacks that work in making your home pest free.