Do Carpenter Ants Eat Wood?

Carpenter ants are considered one of the most common and aggressive wood destroyers. But do carpenter ants eat wood?

Carpenter ants bore into wood, establishing and enlarging their nest, causing a lot of damage to wood. They excavate wood, causing localized damage, and they are economically important to homeowners and the pest control industry.

In this article, we’ll answer whether carpenter ants eat wood or not, and how to prevent and treat carpenter ant infestation on wood and your home in general.

What is the Nature of Carpenter Ants?

Carpenter ants don’t really eat wood, unlike termites. The fact is that carpenter ants consume aphid and other types of sweet sugary insects. Carpenter ants nurture and raise aphids within special “aphid” chambers in their colony. Carpenter ants derive “honeydew” coming from the aphids which are their favorite food.

Carpenter ants don’t damage wood heavily unlike subterranean termites. However, if they’re given enough time to grow in number, the damages then to be severe. They have a habit of polishing and cleaning the wood galleries which are smooth in appearance.

How Extensive Is the Damage Caused by Carpenter Ants?

Carpenter ants are wood destroying pests due to their innate ability to cause damage to wood. The extent of damage that carpenter ants cause is far less than the subterranean termites. The numbers of ants can grow enormous which may result in great damage caused by wood “mining” that increase their nest substantially if the nests of carpenter ants are left undisturbed and untreated.

Carpenter ants create small holes wherein the accumulated debris and trash within their nests are tossed out, which are formed into small scattered piles or “frass”. A frass found should be carefully inspected using a magnifying glass. This is done to determine whether it is a carpenter ant frass or a frass of dry wood termites.

Careful evaluation should be done if you suspect any wood insect damage. Don’t allow the population of carpenter ants to populate. Early intervention is very important to avoid risking the structural foundation of your wood home furniture pieces, flooring, windows, doors, and any other wood surfaces.

How to Prevent and Control Carpenter Ants?

Carpenter ant control starts by searching for their nests or colonies. for the colony or nest. Don’t just spray anything on the carpenter ants which may complicate the control measure and make the infestation worse.

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Spraying only kills the exposed worker ants without effect on the queens. The queens lay more eggs if woodworker ants die. The number of eggs multiplies and outnumber the numbers of the original workers, which makes the colony of carpenter ants several times larger.

Once the colonies of carpenter ants have been located, non-repellent insecticides or baits should be used. Non-repellent pesticides are recommended to kill carpenter ants, so they won’t detect its presence and won’t avoid it.

Baits tend to attract carpenter ants and feed on it. These can be applied close and used in small quantities to the source of the nest or in areas where the worker ants are able to pick them up.

Spray a non-repellent bait, like Timbor, in the outer perimeter 1 ft out and 1 ft up from the foundation wall of the structure where it meets the ground. Ant colonies are located inside the wall voids, window sills, and hollow doors. You can use a small hand drill with a 3/16″ bit to apply the products in enclosed or hidden areas.

Remove all plumbing and electrical covers into the plumbing areas and walls. Carpenter ants may travel from one room to another via plumbing lines and electrical lines. You can dust these areas to cuts off travel routes of worker ants and reduces “satellites”.


Carpenter ants don’t eat wood, rather, they raise and take care aphids because of their honeydew, which is their favorite food. When preventing and eradicating carpenter ants, it is not good to simply spray anything or apply repellant on ant routes. It is best to use non-repellent products like Timbor to prevent satellites and more colonies. Do you find this post helpful? Great! You can like and share it with your family and friends, and you may also leave a comment below.


  • January 5, 2019
  • DIY