Not all ants are a threat to your home. Usually they will just come in for a snack or establish a home somewhere they hope you won't find them. However, carpenter ants can not only be a nuisance but can cause damage to your home if given the chance!
Of the THOUSANDS of species of ants, carpenter ants are one of the more common types. When you see reproductive carpenter ants, many confuse them with termites. However carpenter ants have very distinct body segments and bent antenna, unlike termites which have a straight antenna and thicker body. Carpenter ants are not termites even though when they are swarming you may think they are
Now as the name "carpenter" suggests, they don't actually eat wood but excavate wood to build nests. Their primary nest is normally outdoors, up to 300 feet from your house. They prefer trees or lumber out doors but will nest indoors, in roofs and woodwork near moisture. Damage is normally minor but they can cause structural damage and facilitate rot.
Carpenter ants can be difficult and "Do-It-Yourself" control is usually not effective. Your best bet is to call a pest professional (i.e. Tri-Hill) and get an inspection done of your home and structures for correct identification and control.