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As Spring approaches, so does the start of ant season. Ants seem to be a never-ending problem that keeps coming back no matter how many ants are eliminated. A single ant hill can have thousands of ants, and the queen ant is constantly increasing those numbers. The majority of ant species are harmless, but annoying. There are some species of ants, however, that can actually pose dangers to your home. Carpenter ants are common in many areas of the United States, including Oklahoma, Arkansas, and surrounding states. Their habit of living and tunneling in old rotting wood is great for the natural ecosystem, but if allowed to happen in your home can be a major problem.


Carpenter ants in Oklahoma are large when compared to other ant species. Worker ants are usually around a ¼ inch long, and the queen can grow up to ¾ of an inch. Carpenter ants in the midwest are usually black or red and black in color. They have a single node that connects the thorax to the abdomen, making them appear to have a narrow waist.


Six Brothers Pest Control in Dallas, TX

By Judy Gallagher [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Despite what you may have heard, carpenter ants do not eat wood. Carpenter ants nest in the wood and chew tunnels (often called galleries) through the wood. Nests are most often found in rotting, moist, or decayed wood. In homes, carpenter ants are usually attracted by moisture problems that have softened the wood. Common problem areas include: porches, roofs, window sills, and other places where wood meets the ground.

Signs of an Infestation

Carpenter ants are nocturnal, so you may not see them much around your home. The one time that they are very noticeable is during swarming season. This usually occurs during the spring (March-May), and is when reproductive ants leave the nest to find a mate and start a new colony. Swarmers have wings, but do not fly far, so if you see them around your home, chances are good that a nest is close by. During the rest of the year, you may see piles of sawdust looking material (wood shavings and ant excrement) in corners of your home, around porches, etc. This is a sign of carpenter ant activity. Some homeowners also hear crackling sounds being made by the colony as they work.


While carpenter ants do not always cause major structural damage to homes, if left unchecked costly repairs may be needed. Because of the dangers that they pose to wooden structures, professional pest control is often recommended. Finding and treating the nest may be difficult because they are often found in hard to reach places. Control methods can include ant bait traps or insecticidal dust. The ants will take these things back to the colony to eliminate the queen, and thus the entire colony. Homeowners can help protect their homes from carpenter ants by eliminating sources of moisture. This might include: unclogging gutters, fixing leaky pipes or faucets, or removing dead or rotting wood from the yard.


If you suspect that you might have a carpenter ant infestation, take action and call a professional exterminator today. The trained technicians at Midwest Pest Control have the knowledge and experience to be able to accurately identify and treat carpenter ants in Tulsa and surrounding areas. We can also provide regular perimeter treatments around your home to prevent future ants and other household pests. As a family owned and operated company, you can trust Midwest Pest Control to keep your family safe and pest-free. Contact us for all of your Tulsa pest control needs.


*For more info, visit the OSU Extension of Entomology and Plant Pathology