The forest is the carpenter ant's natural habitat. Any wet, rotten wood attracts a new queen. Carpenter ants infest live, dead or fallen trees wherever there is some rot and moisture. Although in nature they play and important role, often they infest building where they become destructive. The closer a forest with rotten logs is to homes or buildings, the more likely is a carpenter ant infestation.
Also the closer abundant water and food supplies are to the nest, the faster an ant population increases, and the greater the need to enlarge the galleries resulting in more damage. It is the ants' excavating that damages or weakens wooden structures. Tunneling can take place inside any piece of wood without any outward signs.
Infestations may begin because of a water leak around the chimney, roof valley, gutter, window, door frame, or space under wooden floors when there is no basement. Sill areas invite ants, especially if soil touches the wood. Kitchen and bathrooms are also common areas of infestation due to leaks in a water pipes or waterheating system provides the moisture the ants love. Always check firewood for ants before taking it indoors.
Although carpenter ants are nocturnal you will often see ants during the day due to stress or because they are in a reproductive generation.
Carpenter ants do not eat the wood. They tunnel through the wood to form nesting areas and deposit the wood fragments outside the nest. These fragments or (frass) may or maynot be seen by the home owner. Frass is often stored in attics or inside the walls between the studs where it will not be noticed at all. In nature, carpenter ants feed on sap, pollen, nectar, fruits, and both living and dead insects. Water is an important part of their diet. Honeydew, the sweet excretion of aphids and certain other insects, is also a favorite food.