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Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants get their name from the fact that they chew through wood to make nests. However, they do not eat wood like termites. They eat sweet foods, pet food, and other insects. Carpenter ants are commonly found in wooded areas, nesting in trees, logs, and stumps. Carpenter ants may also be found in man-made structures, including wooden doors, ceiling beams, floor joists, under bathtubs, and attic eaves.

Homeowners commonly mistake winged carpenter ants for termites. However, it is very easy to tell the difference. Carpenter ants have sharply bent (elbowed) antennae while termites' antennae are straight. There is also a difference between the types of damage they cause to wood. Carpenter ants produce sawdust as a result of their chewing activities while termites produce little pellets. Contact your local Cooperative Extension Service for more information on carpenter ants in your area.

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If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at npic@ace.orst.edu.

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Last updated February 27, 2013

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