Carpenter ants are one species of several wood boring insects that homeowners must be on the lookout for. Catching them early will stop the damage they may cause.

What are Carpenter Ants?

Carpenter ants are large, black ants that make their nests inside wooden structures. Although they usually choose items such as trees, logs and tree stumps they sometimes nest in the structure of a house. The wood that they inhabit is always moist and is usually starting to decay. Therefore they inhabit homes that are typically suffering from neglect.

Identifying Carpenter Ants

It can be hard to distinguish a carpenter ant from a regular black ant, but there are a few identifying features. Carpenter ants are large ants that can reach up to ½ inch in length.

Since some male carpenter ants grow wings and fly during the spring, they are sometimes often with termites. The main way to tell the difference between a carpenter ant and a termite is to get close to one. Examine the body to see if the sides are straight or if they come in slightly to form a narrow waist. If the insect has a narrow waist, it is a carpenter ant.

It is usually much easier to identify a carpenter ant nest than it is it identify the ant itself. Carpenter ant nests will always be near a wooden structure or tree of some sort. They are usually in a hole that is exposed to the air and the hole will be surrounded by sawdust.

Carpenter Ant Damage

According to the University of Minnesota Extension, carpenter ants are classified as wood boring insects, much like carpenter bees, because they do not actually eat the wood. They simply chew through the wood to create their nests and tunnels. This tunneling makes an otherwise sound looking piece of wood fragile as a result of carpenter ant damage.

Carpenter ant damage is not usually severe if it is detected and treated early. Carpenter ants are slow borers and may take years to destroy the structure of a solid piece of wood. If left untreated, however, carpenter ant damage affects the structural integrity of homes and trees.

Carpenter Ant Extermination

Regular household pesticide does not kill carpenter ants. Carpenter ant extermination is done using a special carpenter ant spray that is available at most home improvement stores. Sprays that are designed to kill termites will also kill carpenter ants. This spray only kills ants that it comes into contact with, not the entire colony.

To kill the entire colony, use a granular ant killer that is formulated for carpenter ants. Sprinkle the granules around the location of the nest. The worker ants will take it back to the other members of the nest and over time they will die out.

Getting rid of carpenter ants can take time, but using these techniques the colony will eventually be eliminated.


The phone rings. The voice on the other end of the line tells you they are on their way over to your house for a visit. Great! Then you panic. Your house has that lived-in look and feel but it’s not ready for last-minute guests. Here are some minute housecleaning tips that will help you get your house tidied up and ready for the arrival of last-minute guests.

Hide The Clutter

Getting rid of the clutter in a room will instantly make it feel cleaner. Scoop the clutter up and hide it. Open the desk drawer and swipe the desk clutter into the drawer. Put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher or oven. Shove the dirty clothes under the couch or bed. Hide the clutter in the garage or laundry room. Take a minute and hide the clutter in any place that your last-minute houseguests are unlikely to see.

Focus For A Minute

Focus your housecleaning on the rooms your houseguests will be in. The entry way, living room, main bathroom and kitchen. After hiding the clutter in these rooms, focus a minute or two of cleaning time in the center of the rooms.

Entry Way And Living Room

Sweep/vacuum the entry way and spray air freshener or light a scented candle so your guests will be greeted with a good smelling fragrance.

Dust the coffee table, fluff the couch pillows and vacuum the center of the room. Forget the cobwebs in the corner, your guests will most likely only notice the center, eye-level ( eye-level when standing and sitting) objects in a room.

Minute-Clean The Main Bathroom

The main bathroom in your house in a place most likely to visited by your last-minute houseguests. It’s also the location in your house where they will observe everything without being observed themselves. Take a couple of minutes to clean the mirror, wipe the bathroom vanity top, sink and faucet. Swish a good smelling toilet bowl cleaner in the bowl and wipe the toilet seat. Close the shower curtain and hang clean towels.

Clean Smelling Kitchen

In the kitchen, rinse the sink, wipe off the counter tops, take the trash out and put something that smells good cooking on the stove top. Put water in a sauce pan and add some cinnamon sticks, cloves or sliced apples and simmer to make your house smell inviting and fresh.

Last-minute houseguestscan be welcomed without you feeling panicked or anxious. A minute or two spent focused on the main rooms hiding the clutter, wiping down surfaces, cleaning the center of the room and having a fresh fragrance in the air will give the appearance of an overall clean house.