Carpenter Ants

Photo © Geek On The Run Technology Services Long Island, NY

Click here for photo Carpenter Ants ©Herman Moxey Fidelity Exterminating

Click here for photo Carpenter Ant Queen ©Robert G. Bellinger, Clemson University Carpenter Ant (Camponotus)
These ants are large. They are a nuisance by their presence when found in parts of the home such as the kitchen, bathroom, living room, and other quarters. They do not eat wood, but remove quantities of it to expand their nest size, sometimes causing structural damage. Winged males are smaller than winged queens. Wingless queens measure 5/8 inch, winged queens 3/4 inch, large major workers 1/2 inch, and small minor workers 1/4 inch. Workers have some brown on them, while queens are black. Workers have large heads and a small thorax, while adult swarmers have a smaller head and large thorax. The petiole has one node and the profile of the thorax has an evenly rounded upper surface (workers only).

Carpenter ants normally build their nests in hollow trees, logs, posts, landscaping timbers and wood used in homes and other structures. Unlike termites, they do not feed on wood but merely use it as a place in which to build a nest. They prefer moist or partially decayed wood, frequently entering existing cavities or void areas through cracks and crevices.

The ants usually cut galleries with the grain of the wood, following the softer parts. They leave the harder wood as walls separating the tunnels. They cut openings in these walls to interconnect the galleries. Access to the outside may be through natural openings, or the ants may cut openings where none exist naturally.

Occupied galleries are kept immaculate. Shredded wood fragments from the excavations are carried from the nest and deposited outside. Cone-shaped piles of these fragments sometimes build up beneath the “windows” or other nest openings. The piles may also contain inedible parts of insects from their diet, bits of sand or soil, dead ant bodies from the colony, and gener-al debris. This “sawdust” or “frass” is not always visible, because ants may dispose of it in hollow parts of trees, void areas in structures, or unused galleries in the nest.

Carpenter ants become pests when they nest in one of the voids or damp areas in human construction, or when they forage for food in our houses. Usually, an infestation occurs when all or part of an existing colony moves into a house from outside. Ants can enter when tree branches or utility lines contact a structure; through cracks and crevices around windows and in foundation walls; through ventilation openings in the attic; and through foundation heating or air conditioning ducts.

They usually nest in wood that is very moist or previously damaged by water or termites. A colony develops best in wood with moisture content above 12 to 15 percent. This requires the wood to be wet by rain, leaks, condensation or high continuous relative humidity.
Carpenter ants can an do travel up to 100 yards from there nest site.

Visit Art of Extermination in Tacoma WA. Carpenter Ant page.
Lot’s of great information and help.

Wood destroying

Ask a question about Carpenter Ants on IPCO message board , quick response guaranteed

To IPCO pest and insect information central home page