Do You Have Carpenter Ants? How to Know and ID Them

Do you know how to recognize a carpenter ant?
Do you know how to recognize a carpenter ant?

Did you know that there are more than 12,000 species of ants in the world? But one of the most destructive is the carpenter ant. If you know what to look for, you can get an idea on what ant species may be doing damage to your house, home or property.

Giant Ants

The first thing to look for is size. Compared to the smaller red ants and common black ants, carpenter ants are considerably larger, with some reaching 1/2-inch to an inch in size. As kids, we always used to call them “giant ants,” and that description from our youth still sums it up.

Three Key Features

Carpenter ants have three key visual features that set them apart. Look for heart shaped heads, large jaws and bent antenna that point downwards. Those three plus an overall larger size makes for a positive identification.


The biggest sign of carpenter ant infestation are discarded wood shavings. You will generally find cone-shaped piles of sawdust where they have pushed out wood waste while making tunnels, generally on the ground around wooden siding, posts, supports, wall studs or any other wood applications or wooden additions in or around your property.

If you believe you have a carpenter ant problem, or just want more information on carpenter ants and other insect pests, please contact us at Allison Pest Control. Serving Monmouth and Ocean County for nearly 100 years.