Carpenter Ant


Actual Size: ⅝”

Characteristics: Large; red, black, or a combination of both.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Carpenter ant swarmers have two sets of wings.

Habitat: Prefer damp, moist wood, constructing their nests in hollow trees, logs, posts, landscaping timbers, and wood used in homes and other structures.


  • Carpenter ants prefer to nest and excavate water-damaged wood.
  • Heavy carpenter ant activity in the home can indicate a moisture issue within the structure.
  • Carpenter ants don’t actually eat wood but prefer sugary solutions, especially honeydew produced by aphids.

Carpenter Ants in El Paso TX

Often confused with termites, carpenter ants are wood-destroying pests. These ants burrow through wood and wooden beams as they build nests, damaging the structural integrity of entire buildings. Common throughout the El Paso and Anthony NM areas, carpenter ants don’t actually eat and digest wood. Instead, they bore through the wood, creating cavities to raise their young. Carpenter ants can ravage through wood beams, reducing solid structures to hollow shells. Seeing ants crawling out of holes or crevices in structures, or hearing faint rustling noises in walls are indications of a carpenter ant infestation.

Carpenter Ant Habitat

Carpenter ants prefer to build nests outdoors, in damp, decaying wood. They feed on the sugary honeydew excreted by plant-sucking insects, like aphids, but will also eat dead and living insects, nectar, and fruit. Inside structures, carpenter ants infest construction materials such as foam insulation or wood. Attracted to moisture, colonies of carpenter ants infest homes, building nests in wood near windows, doorframes, chimneys, attics, and bathtubs. Any area in a structure where wood and water come together to produce rotting wood is vulnerable to carpenter ant damage. Indoor colonies are always an indication of moisture issues within a home or business.

Carpenter Ant Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Even though they rarely bite and are not generally thought of as dangerous, carpenter ants can cause significant damage to homes and businesses. Their burrowing activity damages and diminishes the structural integrity of homes and structures. They invade buildings in search of nesting sites or moisture and their nests can contain several thousand individuals. Carpenter ants swarm in order to mate and establish new colonies. Seeing winged, flying ants in your home is a sign of an infestation. While carpenter ants are not as destructive as termites, they can cause substantial damage. If a carpenter ant infestation is suspected, it is best to contact a licensed ant exterminator.