Carpenter ants on Trees 

Carpenter Ants moving around and communicating.

Carpenter ants are large, black and quite noticeable. Homeowners observing their activities will notice them disposing of sawdust at the entrance of their tunnels. But are they feeding on my tree? The short answer is no, they are simply using rotten wood as a building site for their nest. Carpenter ants chew through decayed, soft wood and dispose of the wood shavings outside their tunnel, just as you or I would do if we were digging underground. For this reason, the presence of carpenter ant activity on trees is used as an indicator of tree decay.

Though carpenter ants can chew through sound heartwood, they aren’t typically responsible for any meaningful amount of initial damage to trees and favor wood that has already been structurally weakened by decay. However, damage made by carpenter ant tunnels comes from the advancement of structural weakening of wood and their tendency to travel to adjacent structures. If you suspect you might have carpenter ants, contact Tree Health Management and one of our arborists would be happy to assist you.

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