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Carpenter Ants: What Attracts Them & How to Keep Them Away

As a familiar staple at picnics and frequent roamer around your yard, ants may seem like a natural part of any outdoor experience. To some, the presence of ants signifies the joy that warmer months can bring. However, when carpenter ants start to encroach upon your home or establish an overwhelming and infringing presence on your property, these feelings of acceptance and even appreciation quickly change.

With so much space and so many spilled ice creams or beverages outside, you may be wondering why the ants have decided to call your place home. Regarding what attracts carpenter ants to your home, food, water, and environmental factors are often the main causes. Below, find out why they have taken up residence at your address and what you can do to keep ants away. If ants have invaded or you are looking for additional preventative maintenance to deter them, contact your local pest control team, such as Eliminate ‘Em immediately.


Do you enjoy a good meal? Carpenter ants do too! Like many foodies, they are also willing to travel for their dining experiences – as far as 300 feet from their nests. That could be to the area around your grill or in the pantry where you keep Johnnie’s cat food. They also know and appreciate consistent hydration, even if they aren’t as selective about their water sources.

Here’s a list of carpenter ants’ favorite indulgences:


  • Sugar
  • Jelly
  • Syrup
  • Honey
  • Honeydew (liquid secreted by aphids and scale insects)

Protein and Fat


  • Leaky faucet, appliance, or roof water
  • Areas with frequent condensation
  • Sinks, especially with faucet drips or pooling water
  • Pipes and drains generally found in water-sourcing areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms
  • Moist damp wood


As they search for food and water, ants will creep in through doors, windows, or crevices regardless of any electrical cables, plumbing, or cat guards in their way. With the help of shrubs or tree branches right by your home or a lift on a piece of firewood, carpenter ants will also use these pathways into your home. In addition to assessing adjustments to potential food and water sources, consider whether or not any of these welcome mats for carpenter ants exist in your home:

  • Poorly ventilated, moldy or humid areas
  • Piles of wood
  • Rotting tree stumps near the home
  • Crevices or dampness along window sills
  • Damp wooden structures attached to the home
  • Weak seals in door casings


Do you always clean up those sugar crystals that didn’t quite make it to your coffee cup? Is everyone in the family vigilant about closing the cat food bag after each meal? This list above may have given you a pretty good idea about why carpenter ants are attracted to your home in particular. Now, you may also be more aware of habits that need changing, storage methods that need adjustment, or home improvements to complete, so that you can keep carpenter ants away from your home. In terms of food sources, these three practices will be a big help!

  1. Keep all floors and surfaces clean! Continuous mopping or polishing may not be feasible, but elimination of crumbs, cooking grease, and other attractive eats will go a long way.
  2. Take out the trash! Most of us always try to make a little more room in the kitchen trash bin before moving it to the outdoor can. Give it one less squish, especially if the top to the bin no longer closes all the way, and get it to the outdoor trash container.
  3. Put food away! Rinse the plates after eating, close up the cereal bags tightly, put the berries away after washing. If Johnnie is done with his evening meal, return any uneaten food and wash the bowl.

Just as you are strategizing to remove food sources, act now to keep carpenter ants away from your home by making the environment less hospitable. Carpenter ants can survive for days without food. The methods below help limit access to your home, water availability, and more.

  • Say farewell to excess moisture! Fix leaks, remove any damp wood or rotting tree stumps, use dehumidifiers, and increase ventilation. Check all locations including attics, crawl spaces, basements, porches, etc.
  • Eliminate free rides inside! Make sure any wood piles are elevated above ground and at least 100 yards from any building foundations. Trim hedges and tree branches to the same distance. Roll up your hoses, so that they don’t take this unexpected path for carpenter ants into your pipes or foundation. Make sure any wood structures aren’t touching the soil.
  • Clean out your gutters! Ensure that water goes back into the ground instead of dampening siding, decks, and more.
  • Shut the doors! Carpenter ants and other pests will use any small holes or cracks as doorways into your home. Caulk all potential access points or otherwise seal them before they take advantage of existing breaches.

Once your home has gotten their attention, carpenter ants will happily settle in and expand until they are stopped. Unlike termites, which consume cellulose in wood and bring it back to their colonies, carpenter ants merely tunnel through the wood to get to food and additional water sources. Although their wood damage is more gradual, it still results in structural issues, especially if their nests are allowed to grow and their populations to multiply. At first, carpenter ants may go after soft wood with a high moisture content, but then any part of your house from dry, harder wood to plastic and insulation will become their living rooms.

To help deter carpenter ants from destroying the structure of your home and causing you worry with their presence, try the provided proactive control tactics. Did you recently find a carpenter ant infestation on your property? For immediate carpenter ant treatment, skip the ineffective traps and sprays by calling Eliminate ‘Em Pest Control. To make an appointment, contact us or give us a call today.