St Louis Pest Control Blog

St. Louis Wood Destroying Insects – Carpenter Ants

“Wood destroying insects, wood destroying insects”!  Most people have that reaction once they have found out that something is damaging the structure of their home.  But the fact is, a Carpenter ant  colony can do just as much damage as termites and wood boring beetles.  The main difference though is that the Carpenter ant does not consume any part of the wood.  Carpenter ants merely hollow out the wood to make a nest.  They prefer wood that has been damaged by moisture or fungi.  This allows them to gallery through the soft parts of the wood.  Once all the soft part of the wood has been removed they will attack the hard tissue to expand the size if needed.  Carpenter ant damage around a home is often found in areas that have moisture problems such as the soffit area (overflowing gutters), around window and slider doors (moist from condensation) and rotting decks or wood tie walls.

Carpenter ants feed on a variety of things but some of their favorites are honey dew produced by aphids, dead insects, sugars and meats.  If you live in St. Louis, any time you see a large black ant it is almost always  a carpenter ant.  What may confuse some people is the different sizes.  Carpenter ants are polymorphic, meaning that they have several different sized ants within the colony but they are still one colony.

Controlling these ants are difficult.  In order to fully rid your home of these ants you must be able to find the nest and make a direct application into the nest.  If you can not find the nest, the queen will be able to replenish any ants that were killed by a general treatment of the home.  And worse yet,  Carpenter ants will forage a great distance for food. Sometimes you see activity in or around your home without actually having a nest anywhere on your property.  In this case, using  a Carpenter ant bait would be perfect.  Let the ants do the work for you.

How can you find the nest?  Look for the “calling card” that Carpenter ants leave when making their galleries into the the wood.  The “calling card” is referring to the kicked out pieces of wood and ant parts.  The technical term for this material is called frassFrass is often found below the area where Carpenter ants are hard at work.  Since they don’t eat the wood, they have to remove it.  With these discarded piece of wood will also be dismembered pieces of dead carpenter ants.

Often the frass will be found under window or door frames, but has been found in bathrooms, kitchens and almost anywhere around the home.  If these ants are nesting inside a professional treatment is probably in order.  Another clue to knowing if you have an infestation inside the home is to look at the numbers.  If you see just a few a day every day, then probably they are just foraging for food.  If you are just seeing the ants but no frass then you may just have foragers. If you see 20 or more every day, and usually in the same spots, it is likely that you have a nest inside or near the home.

Please call us if you have any questions or concerns regarding these pests at 636-343-7900 or go to for more information regarding our service options.


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