Carpenter Ants are very large and fast, and generally black to brownish in color, sometimes even appearing two-toned. A Carpenter Ant worker can give a strong bite or pinch. They range from ¼ to ¾ of an inch long.
They are responsible for doing a lot of damage to wood by excavating nesting galleries. Unlike termites, which actually are eating the wood to get the cellulose, Carpenter Ants are just digging the wood out to make nests. These nests can resemble termite damage, but can be distinguished from termite work by their clean and even "sanded" appearance. Carpenter Ants may choose either already decayed or otherwise damaged wood for these galleries, or they may choose structurally sound wood. Carpenter Ants are primarily nocturnal.
Carpenter Ants are best treated by a professional because the inspection is such an important part of treatment-the person doing the treatment must locate the nests and foraging trails. A pest management professional has hundreds or even thousands of hours of experience looking for bugs, and will notice things that most homeowners will pass over.
Oftentimes certain structural repairs and modifications (for instance, to stop leaks in a home around a vent, skylight, or chimney flashing) are also necessary for a successful control of carpenter ants. Sprays, dusts, and or baits may be a part of the insecticidal portion of the treatment.