Is this a carpenter ant? (Jeremy, Saskatchewan, Canada)


My name is Jeremy and I live in Saskatchewan. A few weeks back we found an ant, like the one in the picture, throwing sawdust-like material by our backdoor entrance in our kitchen area. I ripped the nearest board up off our outdoor deck (this turned out to be unnecessary), sprayed some kind of powdery anti-ant stuff outside the door and I caulked all possible entries into the house. The powder washed away with rain and the caulking was of little use because the ant just burrowed right through it. Then we called an exterminator. He came out and couldn't identify the ant on sight. The exterminator went back to his office with the ant, called us back and said it isn't a carpenter ant.

I sprayed the powder again and we bleached our floors. Over the next 2 weeks, we saw no sign of ant activity and we breathed a collective sigh of relief.

However, the past 2 days, the ant has returned and he brought his friends. Two nights ago, we found and killed 2 or 3 ants. Yesterday, during the day, about 4 or 5 ants. Then last night, probably about 15-20 ants. I killed 1 or 2 soldiers who were markedly larger than more common guys (the more common guys are in the picture).

In response, we pulled out the appliances, cleaned and bleached behind the floors, bleached the entire floor to hopefully rid any phermone trails, since the caulking was previously useless, I put petroleum jelly in the spots on the base-board and at the door entrance where these ants appeared to be emerging from the wall. I read somewhere that this stuff will dissuade ants.

So my question, is this indeed a Carpenter Ant? I don't want to spend another $75 to have a guy come out and tell me that it's not a carpenter ant.

carpenter ant.jpg

Carpenter ant in home.

Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for contacting us! We have contacted ant expert James Trager, who regularly helps us out with ant identifications. Here is what he had to say:

"It is a carpenter ant ... and that exterminator was in error.

Even though the pictures are a bit fuzzy, the structure of the dorsal mesosoma is visible and corresponds perfectly to that of many Camponotus. The red meosoma and the black head and gaster indicate C. novaeboracensis, a common carpenter ant across southern Canada. Another possibility is C. vicinus, but it is far less likely to excavate rotten wood. In Jeremy's case, I suspect he needs a carpenter to replace dry-rotted wood more than he needs an (incompetent) exterminator. Pulling out the infested wood would kill both birds with one stone, if you will."

Here is a bit more info on carpenter ants and for some general advice on how to get rid of ants in your house, check out this post here.

All the best,
James Trager (guest expert), Steffi Kautz & the AntAsk Team

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