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These insects are ants of the camponotus species, which burrow through decks, posts, rafters, beams and other wooden structures in and around the home.

Carpenter ants are black or reddish black insects. They may be winged or unwinged and are approximately 1/2 inch size. They are typically larger than other ants in size and do not bite humans. They leave piles of sawdust in basements, attics, under porches or near joists and rafters.

They build their galleries around wooden structures, preferably those that are moist or decaying where they create extensive galleries. They do not eat their sawdust shavings, but rather feed on pollen, seeds, plant sap and other small insects. Wood structures may become weakened if ant boring occurs year after year as new galleries are formed. Often the ant colony will quickly grow too large and one portion of the colony will migrate. Typically this results in invading nearby homes via an entry point such as a window or door. Carpenter ants require rotting or damp wood, so areas of structural timbers which have been neglected or are old are most likely to have an infestation.

Once you find an infestation of carpenter ant you can treat the exposed wood and gallery holes with ant killer dust. You should also dust surrounding areas such as baseboards, window sills, door frames and the like. Make sure you remove infested stumps, logs, or woodpiles away from the household structure if possible, and when an infestation is found in these areas, dust the nest. As a preventative measure, keep exposed deck boards, beams, rafter and posts as well as older wooden structures in and around the home maintained and dry.