Do Ants Eat Wood

Do Ants Eat Wood?


Seeing ants on wooden furniture and flooring is really annoying.

Homeowners don’t want ants on any surface and wonder where they come from. But do ants eat wood?

Whether they are eating wood or not, ants can cause structural damage.

In this article, we will discuss whether or not ants eat wood, and what you can do to prevent ants from damaging your wooden furniture.

How Ants Damage Wood?

As contrary to the popular belief, the ants you see around wooden surfaces do not really eat wood. They burrow into wood to make nests. Carpenter ants are the most common wood nesting ants. Another one is the C. clarithorax which is smaller as compared to carpenter ants. It is typically black and yellow.

These ants are omnivorous so they eat other insects, honeydew, and nectar. Ants enter a house to search moisture and nesting sites, setting up colonies of thousands of ants.

In fact, indoor sites are satellites of the central nest located outdoors in wood piles, landscaping material, or trees. Knowing how to determine ant infestation and control measures of wood-nesting ants help in saving your house and the trees around.

Ants chew through wood and they prefer rotted or moist wood. They chew through wood as they create their nests, creating tunnels as well as galleries of connecting tunnels which look smooth and as if they’ve been sanded.

Find nests by searching for wood scrapings around the exit holes which are coarser as compared to construction sawdust. While the damage caused by ants is rarely extensive, their nests can threaten the structural integrity of wooden furniture, houses, and trees.

How to Control Ant Infestation?

Entomologists insist that treating all colonies on and around a property is important to totally control and eliminate ant infestation. Locating and eradicating the parent nest and getting rid of all satellite nests are the only permanent solution. Carpenter ants can only be eradicated using pesticide so you need to contact a professional ant exterminator for assistance.

Preventing ant infestation by trimming shrubs and trees is the best cure to keep ants away from structures. Seal off any possible entry point, reducing mulch depth 2 and 3 inches around structures.

Keeping soil away from wood floors and wooden structures and increasing ventilation to garages and attics prevent decay and moisture. Also, keep potential food sources all in tightly-sealed containers.

What Are the Household Remedies?

Using boric acid is a common practice by mixing 1/3 powdered sugar to 2/3 boric acid. Fill bottle caps with the sugar and boric acid mixture and set it down around the area where ants are seen. When the ants return to their nest, the solution will also kill the other ants in the nest.

What are the Differences Between Ants and Termites?

You need a magnifying glass and a bright light to inspect whether the crawling creature is an ant or a termite. If you look at body shape of the insect, check the abdominal area because a termite has a rectangular body shape without “waist,” or narrowing in the center. In contrast, an ant has a well-defined narrow and constricted waist.

The antennae of a termite are straight and beaded, and the ant’s antennae are “elbowed” or bent. Both insects have four wings. A termite has equal sized wings while the hind wings of ants are shorter than the front forewing. The wings of ants are disproportionate to their body. The wings of termites fall off easily, which are usually seen near the termite nest opening.

Ants are dark-colored or reddish. They are usually seen in the open finding food. Termites are transparent, creamy white in color, and tend to avoid light. While termites eat wood where they nest, while ants merely dig or excavate their nests into the wood. Ants don’t eat wood.


Ants do not really eat wood, instead, they create tunnels, colonies, and nests. If you notice small piles of frass or wood shavings below the holes, these are likely positive signs of ant infestation. Ant infestation can be controlled by getting rid of those that attract them. If household measures don’t control ant infestation, seek professional help. Do you find this article helpful? If so, like and share as well as leave a comment below.


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