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Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants

Okay, I recently purchased a 30 year old home in NW Washington. During the inspection, we noticed carpenter ant damage to some of the floor joists. The ants were gone and the owner said the house had been treated for carpenter ants since. We repaired the damage and moved in. However, over the past couple weeks (the last week in March and the first two weeks of April) I have seen 3 carpenter ants in the house. Two looked like they were in the process of dying but I can't be sure. Are these foragers from outside or inside? I bought a spray treatment but thats only useful if I know where they are coming from. Should I worry and buy a bait trap or rely on the in-place treatment? I went back into the crawl space last week and didn't see any ants, but they may be somewhere else.


Washington is known to be one of the most carpenter ant infested States in the USA.

Your questions are well thought out and clearly delivered.  It is as if you have had carpenter ant experience somewhere else before this new confrontation.

In your climate, if the weather has been consistently cold, not rising above 43 degrees by the time you saw these three, presumably slow moving ants; you still have an inside infestation.

If the temperature has been in the high 40's or more for several weeks, then the ants could be coming in from the exterior or from exposed portions of your building that are not receiving interior heat.

Ants moving as you saw them, could be coming out of torpidity.  Carpenter ants body fluids convert to an ethylene glycol-like substance; whereby, they remain alive but completely immobile during winter conditions.  If they live indoors, they can remain active during the colder months.  The queen slows down egg laying, even indoors.  We believe egg production is tied into day length, and is registered through the queens eyes to stimulate ovulation escalation.

I'll be able to help you further, if you will need further assistance.

Best wishes, and good hunting Nathan,

Best wishes,

George Manning

Consulting Entomologist

Chicago Pest Control

Chicago Exterminator


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