Carpenter Ants

Although Carpenter Ants do not ingest wood, they are an important insect in the group of organisms which damage wood in houses. These ants are seldom mistaken for any others ant due to their size. The first clue to the presence of this ant may come when the homeowner sees the winged forms. These are male and female Carpenter Ants. The larger of the two will be the queen. The male dies shortly after mating and the female live for years and continue to lay fertilized eggs, although she mates only once. The workers are divided into two sizes. The larger are the major workers and smaller are called minor workers.

Normally, this ant lives outside in old stumps and logs, but they do invade houses and establish nesting places. They feed largely on other insects. They forage at random and may travel several hundred feet in search of food. They deposit a frass consisting of chewed wood and insect body parts which may be a clue to their presence. They keep their channels unusually clean.

The color of the carpenter Ant worker may be black or red and black. A profile of this ant shows a single node on the petiole with the thorax smoothly rounded.

The frass resembles shavings from a pencil sharpener. Close examination will usually reveal insect parts since they suck the juices of others insects but do not digest the insect body. The chambers of these ants show a "blocky" construction. The chambers are various shapes and sizes. The inside has a clean appearance and can be distinguished from termite damage.