With surprisingly warm days recently, you may have had the unfortunate luck to see ants or signs of ants pop up in your home. We typically associate ants with warm weather but even during cold months, your warm home can make for a compelling nest. It’s important to know the signs of ants, even during Winter to prevent damage to your home.

Want to keep your home pest-free even in icy temps? Call us at 413-566-8222.


How to Identify Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are species of ants that excavate wood in order to build nests. The way they bore results in smooth tunnels inside the wood. They prefer damp, damaged, or decayed wood as it’s easier to chew and build a nest out of. Carpenter ants are often on the larger side, usually about half of an inch, and can be black, red, or a combination of both.

Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not consume wood but simply bore through the wood in order to build nests. This leaves behind piles of sawdust or frass. This means that even though they eat wood, their nests can cause serious structural damage to your home.

Do ants die from cold weather?

Carpenter ants don’t die off in the winter but enter a dormant state when temperatures drop. Outside of your home, they establish colonies in damp, rotting wood. These nests provide enough insulation for them to survive the winter in their dormant state.

If carpenter ants have gotten indoors, however, your warm home might be providing the optimal conditions for them to remain active all year.

What are the signs of Carpenter Ants?

One of the best ways to identify a Carpenter Ant problem in the winter is by finding the discarded wood they leave behind. This will look like pieces of sawdust or pencil shavings, but if you look closely you’ll see fragments of dead ants. You also might hear a scratching sound within the walls of infested wood, and the wood will sound hollow when tapped upon.

How Can I Prevent Carpenter Ants?

  • Remove sources of moisture, such as basement water and leaking utility pipes
  • Cut tree branches and other plants that overhang or come in contact with the house
  • Inspect any firewood you bring inside—many carpenter ants will utilize wet wood from outdoors to try to survive the winter
  • Regularly clean gutters so water doesn’t pool and soak the sides of the house.
  • Seal any cracks or small openings along your foundation, windows, and siding.

Suspect you have Carpenter Ants? Here’s what to do.

Obviously, we recommend finding a professional to contend with your issues. Even if you can remove Carpenter Ants outside the nest, that doesn’t guarantee they’re not still hidden out of sight. If left untended long enough, primary nests can create secondary nests called “satellite” nests. 

Additional Reading:

Download Our Guide to Ants in Your Home


We can help you put problems on ice. Our team at Graduate Pest Solutions specializes in prevention. Call us at 413-566-8222 or contact us with any questions or if you are experiencing a pest problem. We have the knowledge and service necessary to help keep your home and workplace pest-free!

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