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What Do Carpenter Ants Eat?

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What Are Carpenter Ants?

Carpenter ants build their nests in damp, decaying wood, by digging out tunnels in the wood. This is the activity from which carpenter ants get their name. Unlike termites, however, carpenter ants do not consume wood, as they are unable to digest cellulose. Like termites, carpenter ants can infest wooden buildings and structures, and even sometimes hollow out sections of trees. 

They are considered a common pest and a major cause of structural damage in the United States. Carpenter ants will take root in your home, particularly around and under windows, decks and porches and anywhere else in your home that is vulnerable to moisture, including anywhere you might have a leaky pipe. 

What Do Carpenter Ants Eat?

Carpenter ants are considered both predators and scavengers. They typically eat parts of dead insects or will eat substances that come from other insects. Carpenter ants are attracted to anything sugary. In your home, they will eat anything sugary like honey, syrup or juice. They also eat extrafloral nectar from plants.

However, their favorite food is “honeydew”, a liquid produced by aphids. Carpenter ants will even “farm” aphids by tending to them for the express purpose of making them thrive so that they can extract their honeydew. 

Carpenter ants are known for foraging for food at night. During the night, carpenter ants will commonly forage for dead insects, surrounding the insects and extracting any bodily fluids that might be left and carrying it back to their nest. They typically leave the dead insect body behind, but will occasionally bring the dead insect head back to their nest to extract the head’s inner tissue. Since carpenter ants will periodically also eat fats and proteins, like those found in dead insects, you might find them attracted to meats and pet food in your home. 

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The creator of this review received compensation by RMICPA, LLC on behalf of Terminix®. This review is the opinion of its creator and its claims are not endorsed or evaluated by RMICPA, LLC.

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