Fun Facts About Carpenter Ants

Aug 22, 2023

When it comes to pest control in Knoxville, it often seems like termites get all of the attention. However, they are not the only wood-boring pest that homeowners in Knoxville and the surrounding areas need to be concerned about when it comes to structural damage.

Let's explore some facts about carpenter ants and why you need to call on pest control in Knoxville to rid your property of them.

Carpenter Ants Don't Eat Wood

There is a fairly widespread belief that wood makes up the main diet of carpenter ants. This could be because of the structural damage that they leave behind and also because of the name 'carpenter.' However, they do chew through wood even if they are not eating it! Carpenter ants prefer damp wood as it is easier to chew through in order to make a nest for the colony, but they will also chew on dry wood and drywall if a source of damp wood is not readily available. In fact, that leads us to another common misconception - that Carpenter ants and other pests will not chew on treated wood. This is incorrect; the truth is carpenter ants love all types of wood treated or not. Their preference for damp wood stems only from it being softer and easier to chew, thus making it a more efficient material for nest building.

Carpenter Ants Are Incredibly Strong

Like most species of ant, carpenter ants are incredibly strong. They are able to carry up to 50 times their own body weight. They also have a very powerful bite! Their jaws are extremely strong to help them chew through wood. If you ever happen to get bitten by a carpenter ant, it can be very painful. Although they do not have stingers, they do inject formic acid into whatever they bite.

Carpenter ant bites are rare, as they only bite when they feel threatened. However, if you do experience a carpenter ant bite, you can follow these steps to treat it:

  1. Wash the area: Gently clean the bite site with soap and water to remove any potential bacteria or irritants.
  2. Apply a cold compress: To reduce swelling and ease any discomfort, apply a cold compress or an ice pack wrapped in a cloth to the affected area. Never apply ice directly to bare skin.
  3. Use over-the-counter creams or ointments: If the bite causes itchiness or mild irritation, you can use over-the-counter antihistamine creams or ointments to relieve the symptoms. Follow the directions on the packet.
  4. Avoid scratching: As with any insect bite, avoid scratching the area to prevent further irritation and reduce the risk of infection.
  5. Monitor for allergic reactions: While carpenter ant bites are usually harmless, some individuals may be allergic. If you notice severe swelling, difficulty breathing, or any other signs of an allergic reaction, seek immediate medical attention.
  6. Keep the area clean and dry: To aid in healing, keep the bite area clean and dry. Avoid perfumes, lotions, or other products that irritate the skin around the bite.
  7. Seek medical attention if necessary: If the bite worsens, becomes infected, or shows no signs of improvement after a few days, consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and treatment.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure. To avoid carpenter ants bites, you need to take steps to prevent infestations around your home, such as sealing cracks and gaps in walls, windows, and doors and eliminating potential food sources that might attract ants. It is also to call in pest control in Knoxville at the first sign of an infestation.

Carpenters Ants Can Kill Termites

When you consider that termites and carpenter ants are wood-boring pests, it makes sense that they would compete with one another. A handful of carpenter ants will eliminate an entire termite colony with ease. Unfortunately, this has led to some homeowners attempting to use carpenter ants to clear out termites. This is not advisable. It may very well rid your home of the resident termite colony, but you will more than likely end up with a carpenter ant infestation taking its place. It is far better to call upon pest control in Knoxville to handle termites and any other pest infestation professionally.

Carpenter Can Be Tricky to Get Rid Of

Carpenter ants can be very tricky to get rid of once an infestation takes hold. They don't have a short lifespan like some of the other pests you might encounter, which means even if you kill a few of them, you will likely encounter another colony elsewhere in the home. They are also incredibly resilient and will be resistant to most commercially available pesticides. Suppose you suspect a carpenter has an infestation in your home. In that case, it's best to contact professional pest control in Knoxville to assess the situation and implement appropriate measures to address the problem effectively.


Otis Termite & Pest Control is a full-service pest control company with a focus on outstanding service. We have been serving the East Tennessee area for over 56 years and our reputation is built on prompt and effective service. We’re good at what we do and we’re fast. We do the job right the first time – and that’s an actual guarantee! 

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