Carpenter Ants in Michigan: When to Call in the Pros

By Lizard

Carpenter ants may appear small compared to other pests, but their presence can significantly impact homeowners, especially in regions like Michigan. These insects, often mistaken for termites, can tunnel through wood, potentially damaging homes and other wooden structures.


In this blog, we’ll learn more about carpenter ants in Michigan, specifically focusing on how they may affect homeowners in the area. From recognizing signs of infestation to implementing prevention and control strategies, we’ll provide valuable insights to help residents protect their homes.

Carpenter Ants: The Basics

Carpenter ants, scientifically known as Camponotus spp., are among Michigan and North America’s most common and destructive household pests. Unlike termites that feed on wood, carpenter ants do not consume the wood they burrow through.


Instead, they excavate galleries within wooden structures to create nests, forming winding networks leading back to their colonies. These nests serve as shelters for the ant colonies, provide pathways for foraging food within homes, and can even house developing larvae.


Carpenter ants typically prefer moist, decaying wood for nesting, but they can also infest dry, sound wood. Common nesting sites include wall voids, hollow doors, attic insulation, and wooden structures around homes. 


Several species of carpenter ants are found in Michigan, the most common being the black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) and the red carpenter ant (Camponotus chromaiodes). These ants vary in size, with workers ranging from about 6 to 12 millimeters in length. 


Carpenter ants have a well-defined caste system within their colonies. Workers, the most numerous members of the colony, are responsible for foraging for food, caring for the brood, and expanding the nest. Soldiers equipped with larger mandibles defend the colony from threats. The queen maintains the current colony, laying eggs that will care for the mound or grow into reproductive individuals responsible for mating and establishing new colonies. 

When are Carpenter Ants in Michigan Active?

In Michigan, carpenter ants are most active during the warmer months, typically becoming more active in the spring. Their colonies reach peak levels in the summer when the temperatures are better conducive to outdoor foraging and colony growth. 


During the spring and early summer, mature carpenter ant colonies may produce winged reproductive individuals known as swarmers. These swarmers emerge from the colony in large numbers, often during warm, humid evenings, to mate and establish new colonies. 


While carpenter ants in Michigan can remain active throughout the year, their activity tends to decrease during the colder winter months. During winter, carpenter ants may retreat to protected areas within homes or seek shelter in outdoor nesting sites to survive freezing temperatures.


Michigan homeowners should watch for signs of an infestation year-round, especially during the summer. Regular inspections can help detect and address infestations before they become severe.

Signs of a Carpenter Ants in Michigan

One of the telltale signs of a carpenter ant infestation is sawdust piles, known as frass. As carpenter ants burrow through wood to create their nests, they leave behind a mixture of wood particles, insect fragments, and fecal matter, resulting in noticeable piles of sawdust near their nesting sites. 

Sometimes, homeowners may hear faint rustling or tapping noises within walls or wooden structures. These sounds are often associated with the movement of carpenter ants within their nests and galleries.


Inspecting wooden structures for signs of damage is another way to detect a carpenter ant infestation. Look for hollow-sounding wood, small openings, or weakened structural integrity, which could indicate carpenter ant activity.


Lastly, carpenter ants may establish satellite nests outdoors in areas like tree stumps, rotting logs, or decaying wood piles. Regularly inspect outdoor areas surrounding the home for signs of carpenter ant activity. 

Preventing and Addressing Carpenter Ant Infestations in Michigan

Carpenter ants are attracted to moisture, so addressing any sources of excess moisture around the home is essential. Repair leaky pipes, faucets, and roofs and ensure proper ventilation in damp areas such as basements, crawl spaces, and attics.


Seal cracks, gaps, and openings in the exterior of your home to prevent carpenter ants from gaining access. Pay attention to areas where utility pipes and wires enter the house and gaps around doors, windows, and foundation vents.


Keep trees, shrubs, and vegetation trimmed away from the exterior of your home to reduce the likelihood of carpenter ants nesting in outdoor areas and gaining access to the structure. 


Also, store firewood at least 20 feet away from your home and off the ground. Avoid stacking firewood against the exterior walls of your home, as it can provide an attractive nesting site for carpenter ants.


Try to thoroughly inspect your home to locate signs of carpenter ant activity, as well. Focus on areas where moisture is present, such as kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and wooden structures like decks, porches, and fences.


Keep kitchen counters, sinks, and floors clean and free of crumbs and spills to remove potential food sources for carpenter ants. Store food in sealed containers and promptly clean up pet food bowls after feeding.


If carpenter ant infestations persist despite DIY efforts or are severe, you’ll need the pros at proof. to lend a hand. We cover carpenter ants in Michigan under our Pest-free Guarantee plan and have the knowledge, experience, and equipment to effectively identify and treat carpenter ant infestations, from eradication to long-term prevention. Contact us today!

Call proof. pest control at 888-291-5333, or send us a message online.