What Are the Big Black Ants in My Home? (2022)

Finding big black ants in your home can be shocking and scary. What exactly are they, how did they get in and what are they looking for? Most of all, how can you get rid of them, fast? Unfortunately, most big black ants found in people’s homes are carpenter ants. They’re called carpenter ants because they build their homes in wood by chewing and tunneling through it. Much like termites, if they aren’t discovered and eliminated, carpenter ants can cause a lot of hidden structural damage in a home.

Unlike termites, which also look to some people like big black ants, carpenter ants don’t actually eat wood. Rather, they use their large mandibles—their strong mouthparts that are used for chewing—to build tunnels, called galleries, by crunching up the wood. Instead of swallowing the wood, they spit it out, creating wood shavings that look a lot like loose, shredded sawdust. Along with spotting these big black ants themselves, finding piles of wood shavings near wooden areas like baseboards, window sills and door jambs is another common sign of carpenter ants in the home.

If you aren’t sure whether the insect you’ve found inside your home is a carpenter ant, a termite or something else, you can look for identifying characteristics to help you figure it out. There are two big differences between carpenter ants and termites: their size and the shape of their bodies.

Adult carpenter ants are bigger than adult termites. While termites grow to about three-eighths of an inch long, including their long wings, carpenter ants can grow to a half-inch in length, not including wings that might make them look even larger. Most carpenter ants that people see in their homes are the workers, which don’t have wings, though winged carpenter ants are also active and visible at certain times of year. Carpenter ants also have segmented bodies with very narrow “waists,” whereas termites have unsegmented bodies.

(Video) How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Ants Quickly !! (3 Simple Steps)

Carpenter ants are distinct from other kinds of ants, too. For one thing, they’re a lot bigger. Their heads are also somewhat heart-shaped instead of the round heads most ants have, and their heads and bodies are very dark in color. But their size is the main thing about carpenter ants that is noticeably different from other ants as well as from termites.

Carpenter ants eat the same foods most ants eat. Inside people’s homes, that usually means spilled foods or grease they find on stoves and countertops; pet food left out in bowls; or pantry foods that haven’t been stored properly, like syrup, honey or sugar. Outside in nature, these ants eat plant juices and nectars as well as other insects to survive. They can also eat insects inside your home, too.

If you find carpenter ants in your home, they may have been attracted to the food sources they can find in your kitchen. But, their presence also means something else. Carpenter ants have a hard time tunneling through dry, hard wood. It’s much easier for them to tunnel through soft, damp wood, and they build their nests within this type of wood. Outdoors, they build nests within rotting tree stumps or logs, or in wooden posts, decking or fencing that is decaying due to age and water damage. The presence of carpenter ants inside the home typically indicates some part of the home’s interior wood framing is rotting or damaged.

This is why it’s wise to have them treated if you see carpenter ants inside your house. They can cause a lot of damage if allowed to go untreated. If you’re able to find where they are nesting, you may even be able to see wood with visible tunnels and open spaces where the ants have chewed through it for their own uses.

Since it can be hard to know whether you’re dealing with carpenter ants, some other type of ants or termites, it’s a good idea to reach out to a pest control professional for an accurate identification. A professional will know exactly what type of pest has invaded your home, and will be able to tell the extent of the infestation. This information will tell them the right products and techniques to use in treating the pests. A professional can also tell the homeowner what damage has been done to their home, if any, so it can be fixed and the home’s structural integrity restored.

(Video) A Natural Way to Get Rid of Ants in Your House

Do Carpenter Ants Have Wings?

If you find what looks like a very large ant with wings, you might wonder, “Do carpenter ants have wings?” Certain carpenter ants do have wings, and knowing how to identify these insects will help in figuring out if you have a pest problem. Winged carpenter ants are most active at certain times of year, which is when people are most likely to see them. Let’s take a closer look at the carpenter ant life cycle to learn more about these insect pests.

Winged carpenter ants are the swarmers—the ones responsible for mating, breeding and building new colonies. They fly out to find mates in late spring or early summer, and once they’ve mated, the winged males die. The females shed their wings and start looking for a new place, such as a crack or crevice in some wood, to build a nest and lay eggs. Female carpenter ants lay only one batch of eggs at first, and wait until those hatch and grow into worker ants before laying more.

It takes about two months for carpenter ant eggs to hatch into larvae, then pupae, and finally into adult carpenter ants. If the weather is colder than usual, or if the eggs are laid late enough in the year that winter sets in before they’ve hatched, the process can take quite a bit longer. (Carpenter ant colonies actually go dormant in wintertime.)

This is why it takes a number of years for a carpenter ant nest to grow into a full-blown colony. Two or more years into the establishment of a carpenter ant colony, the queen ant starts producing winged ants that will eventually fly off to find mates and start the mating and nesting process all over again.

(Video) A Natural Way to Get Rid of Ants in House Permanently (In 1 Minute)

In spring and early summer, people may spot swarmer carpenter ants in their homes. Anytime from spring through fall, they might see worker ants—the ones without wings. Seeing either type of carpenter ant indoors is a sign that there may be a colony nesting nearby, and merits reaching out to a pest control professional who can identify the pests, find their nest and treat them.

There are other signs of swarming carpenter ants, too, including signs that people might notice after having been away, meaning a swarm occurred while they weren’t present. If you spot small holes in wooden surfaces like baseboards or window or door frames, these could have been made by tunneling carpenter ants. Piles of what looks like wood shavings or sawdust in these same areas—by baseboards, window sills or door jambs—is another common sign of the presence of carpenter ants. You might even spot this “sawdust” coming out of holes in the wood, since the ants tunnel by chewing up the wood and then pushing it out of their nests to create open cavities inside.

That said, carpenter ant damage and termite damage can get easily confused. If you see any of these signs of carpenter ant activity, it’s time to reach out to a pest management specialist. A specialist can make an accurate identification of what you’re dealing with and determine how to treat the pests.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

If you want to get rid of carpenter ants, the best and most effective way to do it is to find and treat their nest. Unfortunately, since much of the damage these ants cause is hidden inside walls, beneath floors or in other wooden areas of people’s homes, a carpenter ant colony can be tough to find. If it’s large and established, it can be even tougher to get rid of. There are several things a homeowner can do to fight against carpenter ants, but keep in mind that treating a large colony is a job that’s best left to a professional.

(Video) How to get rid of carpenter ants in walls: Quick Easy Trick to find carpenter ants in the home

Preventing carpenter ants is easier than eliminating them once they’ve moved in. Keep an eye out for water damage anywhere in or around your home, since damp, rotting wood attracts carpenter ants looking for a good place to build a nest. Repairing or replacing damaged wood in and around your home will help keep these ants away.

Sometimes, especially during a hot, dry summer, finding carpenter ants indoors doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a colony destroying your home from the inside out. Instead, it can mean the ants are looking for water and food they can’t find outside, and they found an easy way into your house. Repairing gaps around windows and doors; stuffing wire mesh into weep holes and gaps around outdoor vents or hose bibs; repairing broken screens; and replacing worn out weatherstripping on door thresholds will all go a long way toward keeping all kinds of pests out, including carpenter ants.

Since carpenter ants inside may actually be nesting somewhere outside, it’s also a good idea to clear away tree stumps, fallen logs, old firewood and any other sources of wood near the house that might harbor dampness, leading to decay. Just be careful when moving anything harboring these ants, as carpenter ants can bite. These steps will help to keep these ants far away from your home, so they won’t eventually make their way in.

A pest control professional is often your best line of defense against carpenter ants. A pro can identify these ants, find their hidden nests, and eliminate the pests so they don’t slowly but surely destroy your home.

ABC Can Treat the Carpenter Ants in and Around Your Home

Dealing with any kind of ant can be a nuisance. But, dealing with ants that can damage your home is concerning. If you’re having a carpenter ant problem, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our highly trained pros will create a custom pest control solution, so you don’t have to deal with these insects.

(Video) How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants (4 Simple Steps)

FAQs

How do you get rid of black big ants? ›

The most common solution is to use an insecticide that contains pyrethroids. The trick is getting insecticidal spray or dust into the nest. You should never spray liquids around electrical outlets or junction boxes, but insecticidal dust can be used in these areas.

What does it mean when you see big black ants? ›

The presence of big black ants sometimes means that your home is invaded by carpenter ants. If this is the case, you don't want that since they can literally eat through parts of your house if you don't notice them on time.

What is the meaning of big ants in the house? ›

Ants can symbolize peace, happiness, loss, and a lot of other positive and negative things. Two of the common types of ants that you might find in your home are black and red ants. What is this? Report Ad. While black ants in your house are believed to bring good luck to your life, red ants are considered a bad omen.

Why do carpenter ants suddenly appear? ›

If you're suddenly seeing carpenter ants in your home and its late winter or early spring, it's very likely you have a nest in the house somewhere. If you notice these ants later in the year, it won't be as obvious if they've been there the whole time or if it's a new problem.

What is the difference between black ants and carpenter ants? ›

Key Takeaways. One major difference between big black ants and carpenter ants is in the types of problems they pose – carpenter ants are similar to termites in that these pests can cause major structural damage. While carpenter ants are common pests in wooden structures, little black ants can live just about anywhere.

Should I be worried about big black ants in my house? ›

And, seeing a big black ant inside your home or business is not a warning sign that you should take lightly. Carpenter ants dig tunnels and galleries inside wooden structures and, if this activity is left unchecked and untreated, they can cause structural weakening, which can lead to other damages.

Are large black ants always carpenter ants? ›

No, several species of ants are black… not just carpenter ants. To the casual observer though, it is not always easy to tell the difference between a brown or blackish-brown ant from an ant that is genuinely black – further adding to the confusion. Carpenter ants are typically black or brown.

Can I get rid of carpenter ants myself? ›

Mix a 1-to-1 ratio of water to vinegar in a spray bottle (both apple cider and white vinegar will do). Shake the solution and then spray along baseboards, door frames, window sills, countertops, and directly on the nest if possible. Repeat the process daily or as needed to repel carpenter ants.

Where do big black ants come from in the house? ›

They usually come into buildings through cracks around doors, windows, or through plumbing and electrical penetrations in the home. They will also crawl along overhead wires, shrubs, or tree limbs outdoors that touch the building above ground, then enter the home through any small opening.

Why are there so many black ants in my house? ›

Little black ants come indoors at times in search of food and moisture, and an infestation of these little pests is typically the result of improper food storage. Noticing these ants in your home may mean a larger outdoor infestation is at hand and located nearby, or possibly already inside.

What stops ants from coming in the house? ›

8 Ways to Prevent Ants from Entering Your House
  1. Take Notice of Scout Ants. ...
  2. Keep Surfaces in and Around Your Home Clean. ...
  3. Store Food in Sealed Containers. ...
  4. Seal Off Cracks & Entrances to Your Home. ...
  5. Remove Ant Trails. ...
  6. Deploy Ant Baits around Active Areas. ...
  7. Control Ant Colonies around Your Property.
8 May 2015

Should I worry about carpenter ants? ›

If you see a single reddish or black ant, with a single node between its abdomen and thorax, anywhere inside your home, it is time to be worried about carpenter ants. The singular reason you should worry is because carpenter ants don't always feed inside a house they are infesting.

Where do carpenter ants nest? ›

Carpenter ants nest in both moist and dry wood, but prefer wood which is moist. Consequently, the nests are more likely to be found in wood dampened by water leaks, such as around sinks, bathtubs, poorly sealed windows/ door frames, roof leaks and poorly flashed chimneys.

Are large black ants harmful? ›

Are they dangerous? Carpenter ants are not typically thought of as dangerous. They generally do not bite. The real concern with an infestation of carpenter ants is with their ability to damage and weaken the structural integrity of your home.

How do I get rid of large ants in my kitchen? ›

A mixture of water and a few drops of dish soap is quite effective for getting rid of ants on kitchen countertops, since the soap will break the surface tension of the water and trap the ants, making them easy to wipe away.

Why do I have big black ants in my kitchen? ›

Like humans, they're much more interested in food and beverages than anything else. If you see large black ants in your kitchen, it's likely that you are dealing with a carpenter ant infestation.

How long does it take for carpenter ants to destroy a house? ›

Also unlike termites, carpenter ants generally take years to cause significant damage. A carpenter ant infestation within a building usually means that there is a moisture problem. For instance, these critters are often found around dishwashers, sinks, laundry areas, and bathrooms – especially where plumbing leaks.

How long do carpenter ants live? ›

Carpenter ants have a life expectancy of six to 12 weeks as they develop from eggs to adulthood, however cold weather can extend a carpenter ant's life cycle to as many as 10 months. Because of their short life cycle, it can take anywhere from three to six years to develop a sizable, thriving colony.

Do carpenter ants come out at night? ›

BIOLOGY. Carpenter ants are fast moving and stop only to feed or share food with other ants. They are most active at night. Workers emerge from the nest about 15 minutes after sundown.

How do I get rid of black carpenter ants in my house? ›

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants (4 Simple Steps) - YouTube

What is the fastest way to get rid of carpenter ants? ›

What is the fastest way to get rid of carpenter ants? 'Finding and directly applying a contact or residual insecticide [such as this one on Amazon (opens in new tab)] to the nest site(s) will offer the fastest results,' Marc says.

Can black ants damage your house? ›

Black ants can cause structural damage. Their digging habits can cause shifts in the sands/turf under the house. This is not the best thing that can happen beneath your home. Aside from that, they can damage wooden foundations if it turns out you're dealing with carpenter ants.

What is a carpenter ant look like? ›

Carpenter ant workers have black, dark brown, red and black, yellow or red coloration with sizes ranging from 3.4 to 13 mm. Black carpenter ants have uniform dark brown and black colors, while red and black carpenter ants have dark brown and black bodies with a red-brown thorax.

What are the signs of carpenter ants? ›

Signs of carpenter ants:

Piles of wood shavings (think sawdust) can usually be found beneath wooden areas like baseboards, door jams and window sills. Rustling noises coming from inside walls or hollow doors. Winged ants creeping out from ceilings, walls, or other hidden crevices.

Do carpenter ants bite humans? ›

Yes. When their nests are disturbed, carpenter ants bite in defense. Due to their large size, the bite can be painful and potentially break the skin. Carpenter ants also spray a defensive chemical of formic acid, which they can spray into the bite wound, further increasing the pain.

How do you get rid of carpenter ants permanently? ›

Try to locate the nest

“The most effective way to get rid of carpenter ants is to find the nest and destroy it,” she says. “Common places to find carpenter ant nests include hollow doors, window sills, roof areas, and wall voids.”

What smell do ants hate? ›

Fortunately, there are several smells that ants can't tolerate, and which may help to keep these pests out of your kitchen. Cinnamon, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and garlic are just some of the scents known to disgust ants, and all can be used to your advantage.

How can you tell where ants are coming from? ›

How to Find Ants in Your House - Ant Inspection | DoMyOwn.com

Does killing ants attract more? ›

Killing ants will, definitely, attract more ants because the dead ants release pheromones that attract or rather alert, nearby ants.

How do you get rid of ants when you don't know where they're coming from? ›

Instead, mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water in a spray bottle for a safe way to get rid of ants in the home, then spray wherever you've seen ants in the past. This will stop outdoor nesting ants that entered the house to forage for food (ants that come inside are not necessarily trying to establish a nest).

Can ants live in walls? ›

Ants become dwellers inside walls and other voids simply as the result of finding a more preferred site for food, moisture and protection than what is available to them outdoors.

Will bleach keep ants away? ›

Bleach works by penetrating the ant's exoskeleton and affecting their breathing ability. Another way you can use bleach is as an ant repellant. You can also use it to wipe the scent trails, so ants do not find their way back to their nests.

What causes large black ants in the house? ›

They usually come into buildings through cracks around doors, windows, or through plumbing and electrical penetrations in the home. They will also crawl along overhead wires, shrubs, or tree limbs outdoors that touch the building above ground, then enter the home through any small opening.

What does it mean when black ants are in your house? ›

Little black ants typically nest in woodwork or masonry but sometimes come indoors and they are known to nest in the soil and under yard debris. Inside the house, little black ant infestation is usually the result of improper food storage.

How do I get rid of black carpenter ants in my house? ›

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants (4 Simple Steps) - YouTube

What is the best black ant killer? ›

Indoors and outdoors, ant bait is the most reliable way to eliminate little black ants. Outdoors, place ant bait, such as TERRO® Perimeter Ant Bait Plus near foraging trails close to the nest. TERRO® Ant Killer Plus can be used around the perimeter of the house for immediate control and long-lasting residual control.

Should I be worried about big black ants in my house? ›

And, seeing a big black ant inside your home or business is not a warning sign that you should take lightly. Carpenter ants dig tunnels and galleries inside wooden structures and, if this activity is left unchecked and untreated, they can cause structural weakening, which can lead to other damages.

How do I get rid of big ants in my house? ›

You can also spray foam or gel baits into voids, through nail holes into walls, around gaps in plumbing and into ant tunnels themselves. Ants will hopefully bring the bait back to the nest and kill the entire colony, queen and all. Note: Never spray ants with pesticides.

Can I get rid of carpenter ants myself? ›

Mix a 1-to-1 ratio of water to vinegar in a spray bottle (both apple cider and white vinegar will do). Shake the solution and then spray along baseboards, door frames, window sills, countertops, and directly on the nest if possible. Repeat the process daily or as needed to repel carpenter ants.

Should I worry about carpenter ants? ›

If you see a single reddish or black ant, with a single node between its abdomen and thorax, anywhere inside your home, it is time to be worried about carpenter ants. The singular reason you should worry is because carpenter ants don't always feed inside a house they are infesting.

How do I find where ants are coming from? ›

Use your flashlight to look for ants behind or under refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, dishwashers, sinks, and cabinets. Ants may also be found in or around floor drains, inside the motor areas of refrigerators and microwaves, behind wall paper, and in cracks and crevices in cabinets and around walls.

What time of year do carpenter ants come out? ›

Each year, carpenter ants become active in the spring (March-April) and remain so through early fall (September-October). A mature carpenter ant colony usually releases reproductive individuals in springtime.

What is a carpenter ant look like? ›

Carpenter ant workers have black, dark brown, red and black, yellow or red coloration with sizes ranging from 3.4 to 13 mm. Black carpenter ants have uniform dark brown and black colors, while red and black carpenter ants have dark brown and black bodies with a red-brown thorax.

What smell do ants hate? ›

Fortunately, there are several smells that ants can't tolerate, and which may help to keep these pests out of your kitchen. Cinnamon, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and garlic are just some of the scents known to disgust ants, and all can be used to your advantage.

What kills ants the quickest? ›

Boiling water

Boiling water is an easy, effective way to kill ants immediately.

How do I get rid of ants overnight? ›

Salt-boil salt and water into a mixture and once cooled, pour into a spray bottle and spray nooks and corners. Oranges-half fresh orange juice and half water sprayed around your home will keep the pests out and keep your home smelling nicely. Essential Oils-used like lemon or orange juices.

Videos

1. Top 3 Warning Signs Your Home Has Carpenter Ants
(RovePestControl)
2. How to get rid of (kill) Carpenter Ants. Home solution. ***You don't need to see the nest!***
(M J)
3. Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Big Black Carpenter Ants | Remedies For Carpenter Ants
(Daily Health Tips)
4. Spiritual Meaning Of Black & Red Ants In The Home
(Mama Sunnie)
5. How to Get Rid of Little Black Ants (3 Easy Steps)
(Solutions Pest & Lawn)
6. #HomeSutra what does having ants in your home mean
(Makaan.com Private Limited)

Top Articles

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Lakeisha Bayer VM

Last Updated: 11/22/2022

Views: 6077

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Lakeisha Bayer VM

Birthday: 1997-10-17

Address: Suite 835 34136 Adrian Mountains, Floydton, UT 81036

Phone: +3571527672278

Job: Manufacturing Agent

Hobby: Skimboarding, Photography, Roller skating, Knife making, Paintball, Embroidery, Gunsmithing

Introduction: My name is Lakeisha Bayer VM, I am a brainy, kind, enchanting, healthy, lovely, clean, witty person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.