What Are Roof Ants?

You may be wondering what type of ants infested your home, your roof.

Well, you should know that they are roof ants. Naturally, ants are social insects that are capable of invading our homes and when they do, they often cause us discomfort. They are a nuisance to us and a menace to deal with.

Roof ants are no different. They are capable of destroying the wood in our roofs, causing damage and major inconveniences. Roof ant is a name given to ants that make their nests on our ceilings, roofs or attic. Some of these ants include the carpenter ant and the black house ant. If you have an infestation in your rooftop or cavity, it may probably be one or both of these ant species. 

Ants capable of invading your roof 

  • Glossy Black Ant

Glossy black ants are also known as black ants are black and about 3 to 6 millimetres long. Their colour is often glossy black hence the name glossy black ant. They inhabit indoors and outdoors.

Indoors, you can find them in wall-like voids and roof cavities. They build their nests on roofs. Most often, their nests are made in rotten wood.

These type ants are attracted to sugary substances in your home. They also feed on honeydew from aphids. Glossy black ants do not eat wood, they only make nests when they infest. This type of ants can be found in your roof when they infest. 

  • Carpenter Ants

The largeness of the carpenter ant distinguishes it from all other ant types. It is usually four to eight inches long and possesses a fairly long elbowed antenna with a slender waist. Carpenter ants are often reddish black. They are capable of destroying wood but do not feed on food instead, they make their nests from destroyed wood. 

The carpenter ant when it invades your home is usually found on your roof. If there is an infestation, these insects will not hesitate to destroy the wood in your building structure. They most often excavate these woods for building their nests. You would notice them when they forage for food in your home as they are attracted to sugary foods, jelly and any sweetened substance. 


The lifecycle of roof ants

Majority of ant species live in colonies. They are often seen together in groups foraging for food and finding new colonies. As with other ant species, roof ants have a similar lifecycle with each colony comprising queen ants, male ants and workers. 

Glossy black ants

In any glossy black ant colony, the queen ant mates with the male ants who are often winged. They are reproductive and possess wings which they use to mate. This phase is called mating or nuptial flight. The male and virgin queen often fly to mate. After mating occurs, the queen loses her wings and starts a new colony, laying eggs while the male dies two to three days after. In the glossy ant colony, more than one queen can exist and tolerate each other. The female workers, on the other hand, forage for food, protect the colony, repair and build nests for the colony. 

Carpenter ant 

Carpenter Ants

Like the glossy black ants, Carpenter ants colonies consist of the queen, the winged male (drone) and the female workers. The queen ant most often lays eggs to continue the lifecycle of the colony. Before she lays eggs, she mates with the winged make who is reproductive. The eggs grow into a larva, to a pupa and then to an ant. Female workers take care of the needs of the queen ant, forage for food, protect the colony from invaders and build nests for the colony. 

Foraging habit of roof ants

The foraging habits of these roof ants are similar. They do not sustain nor eat the wood on your roof instead when they infest your home, they look for sugary substances in your kitchen. These ants have pheromones which serve as trackers for them. They use it to set trails for others from their colony. You would also attest to the fact that these ants usually go in straight lines, they follow a path towards their food source. This is made possible through the GPS tracker (pheromones) which they use to set trails. 

Can roof ants cause damage in your home?

The answer to this question is yes. These pests can pose a threat to your homes if in their large numbers. They are capable of causing major damage to your buildings and wooden roofs if they are not detected and killed in time. Carpenter ants can destroy the woods in your home likewise black glossy ants when they invade. They can infest your home through cracked holes or open doors and windows. Roof ants may not readily attack you but their bites are quite painful. 

How to get rid of roof ants

There are a couple of methods that can be used to get rid of roof ants. The first thing you should do when you notice an infestation is to identify the source. Where are these ants coming from? Where are their entry points?

Ants can enter your home through many routes. They can invade your home through cracked holes in walls, through open windows and doors, and some openings. 

After identifying their entry points, you can move to the next step which is using ant killing agents. If you trace these insects to your roof, remember to act carefully. 

  • You can get ant baits preferably indoor types like Terro liquid and granular ant baits. Pour a considerable amount of ant bait around their nesting point on your rooftop. This insecticide possesses some chemical that affects the digestive system of these ants. So after consumption, they die. Ensure that this ant bait is poured at their entry points and close to their nests. You do not want to leave this work half done. Ant bait is slow but very effective for killing ants. Other insecticides include Raid insect spray. It gives you immediate results. 
  • Borax or boric acid can also be used to get rid of these ants. Borax is a powder-like substance that can be used to get rid of ants. When the substance is applied, it sticks to the antennae and legs of the ants. To use this substance, apply around nests and entry points. 
  • Assuming you are unable to get these products, there are natural methods that can be used to get rid of these pests. There are certain fruits you enjoy that are repulsive to these ants. They include citrus fruit, cucumber, and cinnamon. You can place citrus fruit peels around your roof area or slices some cucumber and place it around the infested area. When these ants die, ensure to take it out quickly as you do not want roaches infesting your home. You can extract the juice out of a lemon or use lemon made sprays to get rid of these insects. These fruits make them lose their sense of tracking and will be unable to locate food particles. You can also use peppermint scented spray or mix peppermint with water and spray around the infested area.

After you have successfully gotten rid of these roof ants, employ the following steps to keep them at bay.

  • Ensure to clean your roof. Once you have been able to eradicate these insects successfully, ensure to clean your roof. Remove any debris that may have been made by these ants or may have lured them to your roof, destroy their nests. Make sure to clean your roof regularly to avoid another infestation.
  • Spray some pesticides or ant killers around your roof after cleaning. This would eliminate any possible trail or ant infestation. Assuming the ant baits did not get rid of all the ants, a second spray would most definitely do the trick. 
  • Repair damages. Because these roof ants are capable of destroying and wrecking woods, it is important and recommended that you fix up woods in your roof that may have been damaged by these ants. Check the infested area for any structural damages and repair them as soon as possible. These damages may lead to bigger risks for you and your family if ignored. 
  • Check nearby trees for any infestation and tackle immediately to prevent another infestation. These roof ants also inhabit trees. If they are living on the trees around your home, they are most likely to infest your house again. 


It is almost impossible for ants not to be seen in homes but it is also preventable. Roof ants can cause damage to your buildings so endeavour to get rid of them once you notice an infestation. You can also prevent these insects from invading your rooftops by regularly cleaning it, and also keeping your environment and your home clean. Empty your garbage cans regularly also. Roof ants may not be harmful to you when they sting you but they can contaminate your food. Ensure to keep your home free from them. 


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