A carpenter ant infestation can represent an enormous and potentially expensive headache for property owners in Bucks County. Though relatively small, the carpenter ant is capable of causing significant damage to any structure that contains wood. If an infestation is not discovered and treated at the earliest opportunity, extensive repairs may become necessary.


Carpenter ants are similar to many other ants in appearance, though they do tend to be larger. Adult workers typically are anywhere from three and a half to 13 millimeters in length. They also differ from other ant species in that their thoraxes tend to be rounder and that their heads are heart shaped.

The black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicusis) the kind most frequently seen in Bucks County and throughout Pennsylvania. Workers do not have wings, and they are usually black, but they also may be dark brown. Reproductive members of the colony have wings. They may be seen swarming just outside infested structures, particularly in the spring.


Carpenter ants prefer to nest in moist or damaged wood. This environment provides the ideal conditions for establishing a colony. In the wild, some of the most likely places to find a colony include rotting tree stumps and fallen logs.

The species will be attracted to human habitations if conditions are right. They gain access to homes and other buildings through holes or cracks in foundations and siding. An improperly screened attic vent, electrical wire, telephone line or plumbing pipes similarly may provide a way indoors. Hollow doors, window frames and wall voids all are likely nesting spots in buildings. However, carpenter ants may establish a colony in a damp basement or crawl space where conditions are perfect and humans rarely go.

Carpenter ants typically polish the inside of their wooden nests, making them distinctive from the work of the wood-eating termite. Additionally, they construct "windows" in their nests that are used to dispose of debris produced by their tunneling activity.


Carpenter ants build nests in wood. They prefer damp, rotting wood with a moisture content of greater than 15 percent. Rotten logs, tree stumps, living trees and dead trees are all natural habitats for this species. However, they can also be found in and around human habitations. They may make a home in a wood pile or within waste wood or a rotting stump found in a yard. If damp, rotting wood forms a part of a manmade structure, then they are likely to establish a colony there. Pest control technicians often find carpenter ant nests in porch pillars, girders, sills and wall studs. Window casings and door jambs may be vulnerable to them, and they are sometimes found lurking in places where leaks are common such as attics, basements and bathrooms.


The main issue that property ants present to property owners is the damage the species causes to wooden structures. Though they generally are not as destructive as termites, a carpenter ant infestation that is allowed to continue unabated can cause extensive damage. This damage will have to be repaired once the infestation is eradicated. Additional repairs aimed toward excluding carpenter ants and other pests similarly are required. The expenses to affect these repairs can be considerable.


Carpenter ants are a determined and successful species. When a colony is thriving, it will branch out, establishing satellite nests and exacerbating structural issues. This species roams far and wide in search of food to keep the colony viable. Consequently, it is possible to spot carpenter ants around and inside a structure where no nest is actually present. It is still advisable to seek carpenter ant control in these circumstances, because the ants may be looking for a new spot to establish a colony.

This species is not known as being particularly aggressive toward people. In fact, they usually avoid contact as much as possible. Nonetheless, carpenter ants have powerful jaws and are capable of biting. Though briefly painful, these bites generally are not serious.


Carpenter ants are not known to transmit illnesses to people or pets. Nonetheless, they may represent a threat to the health of individuals, especially those who are troubled by allergies, asthma and other respiratory ailments. This is because the carpenter ant’s tunneling activities release tiny clouds of dust, wood shavings and debris into the atmosphere. Some of these particles end up in heating and ventilation systems where they are released into the air of the building. Serious complications can ensue for those who already have difficulty breathing. This is just one more reason why it is vital to seek carpenter ant control at the first sign of a problem.


Indications of a possible carpenter ant infestation include:

• Seeing worker ants inside a structure on a regular basis
• Piles of wood shavings found beneath wooden building components
• Large, winged ants coming from crevices, cracks, ceilings and walls
• Hearing sounds of rustling coming from behind walls, above ceilings and below floors
• Wood that sounds hollow when tapped


The following steps should be taken to help prevent carpenter ant issues:

Regularly inspect buildings for cracks and holes that should be filled
Do not allow tree limbs, shrubs and plants to contact buildings
Keep foundations clear of clutter
Place close-fitting lids on all garbage receptacles
Make certain that all lumber on the property is painted or stained
Promptly repair or replace all water damaged or rotting wood


Effective ant control requires a thorough inspection of the building to locate all existing nests, identify the type of ant involved, locate entry points, and determine the best type of treatment.

SafeGuard Pest Control, LLC has been serving Bucks County area home and business owners with successful ant eradication and control for over 20 years. Our trusted, licensed exterminators can identify the pest and implement immediate treatment so that everyone in the home or office can regain peace of mind.
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