Carpenter ants are one of the most problematic ants. They not only are a nuisance, but they can do some serious damage to homes and buildings. Carpenter ants get their name because they build their nests in wood. However, in contrast to termites, they do not eat the wood but only tunnel and chew through it. They mainly eat the honeydew created by aphids as well as dead insects. These ants are noticeable larger than other ants, ranging from ¼-in to 1-in long. Most commonly black, but they can also appear reddish.
Like termites, carpenter ants form extensive colonies in deadwood that can be a serious and costly problem for homeowners if they are not controlled. These colonies can contain up to 50,000 ants. Here in Wisconsin, it is actually more common for structural damage to be caused by carpenter ants rather than termites. The easiest way to identify a carpenter ant infestation is to find sawdust-like piles around the home. Areas that are most prone to infestations are decks, porches, under windows, and around roof eaves.