Ants are social insects and there are a large number of ant species in the eco-system. They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and the distinctive node-like structure that forms their slender waists. Ants form colonies that range in size from a few dozen ants living in small natural cracks and crevices to highly organised colonies that may occupy large territories and consist of millions of ants. 

Ant Facts

Carpenter Ants

The most damage is caused by carpenter ants, who build their nests in wood. Their nests can be in the walls or roofs of houses, in fences or decks, or in trees, but they will also build hills in the ground as well. They are usually large, black ants. There are other varieties of carpenter ants that look different, but if the customer is describing large, black ants, it is usually carpenter ants. A common sign of carpenter ant infestation is sawdust from the ants excavating their nests. Carpenter ants do not eat the wood, they only build in it. Another common sign of infestation is the sudden appearance of many winged ants. Any kind of ant can develop wings. The winged ants are scouts looking for a new nesting site. They appear when a nest has reached a certain size and level of maturity that it needs to expand and develop secondary nests. Often the customer will not have noticed any ants before the appearance of the winged ants.

Moisture Ants

Moisture ants will also infest houses. They tend to like damper areas like basements or places where there has been flooding or water damage, but they can be found in dry areas as well. Moisture ants are very small, and so do not do as much damage as carpenter ants, but they will act in similar ways. They will make nests in walls of buildings, but rather than seeing signs of sawdust, the customer may see what seems to be sand, which is particles of wood or dirt that are very small because of the size of the moisture ants that were doing the excavating. Again, moisture ants may first be noticeable when they produce large numbers of winged scouts. The treatment is the same for moisture ants as for carpenter ants.

Lawn or Pavement Ants

Lawn or Pavements ants will usually infest areas in the exterior of the homes along pavements, pavement and landscape rocks, small cracks and crevices in the yards - both front and back, garden beds, etc. Displaced soil along a paved areas is probably a sign of these ants. They tend to like damper areas due to the moisture and food sources in the soil. 

Pharaoh Ants

Pharaoh ants are very small; light yellow to red, with black markings on abdomen; about 0ne-sixteenth inch long. Pharaoh ant colonies are large, reaching up to as many as 300,000 individuals and several queens – very large colonies with up to several million workers and thousands of queens. Colonies are frequently moved, and often foil attempts at extermination due to relocation behavior. Pharaoh ants forage long distances, and establish scent trails. Workers tend to trail along edges of door moldings and baseboards and use electrical and telephone wires to gain assess into rooms and between floors. Pharaoh ants typically establish themselves in areas near moisture, such as the kitchen or bathroom. They travel from room to room within the walls via plumbing pipes and electrical wires. They feed on a variety of foods, including baked goods, soft drinks, greases, meats, sweets, fruits and scavenge on dead insects. Pharaoh ants are usually much harder to manage than other ant species due to their dispersing ability.

DIY - Do It Yourself Tips


Good housekeeping, including sweeping and vacuuming basement or other unused areas of the home, as well as removing wood piles and high grasses away from the home will limit ant activity. 

Carpenter Ants

For carpenter ants a treatment involves an internal and external spray treatment of the home or structure. Depending on the level of infestation, there may a need to inject insecticide into the walls. It is recommended that the lawn is cut prior to the treatment, so that you can identify where the external nest is. If you have a cedar house, the soffits, eaves, and siding must be sprayed as well. For this sort of problem, we recommend getting an external treatment done annually to prevent future infestations. A ready to use insecticide can be used for this. 

Moisture Ant Suggested Treatment

For moisture ants a treatment involves an internal and external spray treatment of the home or structure more particularly the basements and damp spots around the home. A ready to use insecticide can be used for this.

Lawn and Pavement Ant Suggested Treatment 

For Lawn and Pavement ant treatment, an External perimeter spray of house, front yard and back yard spray, covering all anthills is recommended. A ready to use insecticide can be used for this. 

Pharaoh Ant Suggested Treatment 

Pharaoh ants are usually much harder to manage than other ant species due to their dispersing ability.Control of the ants indoors, is accomplished through an indoor baiting program. Include baits in wall voids and attics.Only about 5% of a pharaoh ant colony’s workers are out foraging for food at any one time.Continue the baiting program for several months, even after the ants seemed to have been eliminated as they may be simply relocating. It can take up to a year to completely eradicate pharaoh ants. It is recommended that a professional be contacted for Pharaoh ant treatments. 

Frequently Asked Questions - Ants

Q: How do I recognize a carpenter ant?

A: The carpenter ant is a large member of the ant family, measuring three to 12 mm (1/8″ to 1/4″). Colour is either black or black with red. Antennae are elbowed and they have large heads with strong mandibles (jaws) used for chewing. Reproductive forms are winged.

Q: Do carpenter ants cause damage?

A: Yes. Because carpenter ants tunnel in wood to build their colonies, an infestation can cause serious structural damage if left unchecked.

Q: When are carpenter ants most common?

A: You are most likely to see swarms of winged (reproductive) carpenter ants in May and June, as this is their mating season.

Q: Where am I most likely to find carpenter ants?

A: Carpenter ants prefer moist areas and may construct their nests anywhere in the home including walls, ceilings, attics, doors, sills, shingles and insulation. Carpenter ants are most active during the night when they forage for food.

Q: Are carpenter ants hazardous to humans?

A: Yes. Since carpenter ants are attracted to foods such as honey, jelly, fruit and meat, they can carry disease germs from one area to another. Although they do not sting, they can inflict bites.

Q: What are their breeding habits? Do they multiply quickly?

A: Carpenter ants are social insects, living in colonies. Within the colony winged reproductive are not produced until the colony is established, which takes about two to three years. After mating the winged reproductive leave the colony to establish new ones. Once established, an average colony contains 2,000 to 3,000 carpenter ants.

Q: Do weather conditions affect the size of a carpenter ant infestation?

A: Yes. Warm, moist weather presents ideal conditions for carpenter ant colonies to establish themselves.

Q: How can I tell if I have a carpenter ant infestation on my property?

A: The presence of worker ants in your home is one of the first indications of an establishing carpenter ant colony. Check all areas where you suspect moisture. The presence of chewed wood similar to sawdust is an indication of an active nest. Any flying insect in the home is cause for concern and a professional in pest control should be consulted.

Q: What can I do to prevent an infestation of carpenter ants?

A: The elimination of moist conditions by providing good ventilation and isolating wood from any direct contact with the soil will aid in carpenter ant prevention. Foods should be kept in sealed containers and areas where food is stored kept free of spillage or crumbs. Eliminate old lumber, logs and stumps from around your property and do not store firewood inside die building. In the case of new construction only properly treated lumber should be used.

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