How to identify carpenter ants

How to identify carpenter ants

Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat wood. They create galleries for nesting purposes.

Not typically active during winter, carpenter ants might become active if they’ve established a nest in a heated portion of a building or structure.

How to identify carpenter ants

What are carpenter ants?

Carpenter ants are a large species of ant that is very common in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. They nest in wood and in large numbers they can cause significant structural damage.

What do they look like?

Carpenter ant workers are about 1/8 to 1/2 an inch long, depending on which specific species you are dealing with. They can be all red, all black, or a combination of red and black. Carpenter ants in the house are often those large black ants you see wandering about.

Do carpenter ants bite?

Carpenter ants can bite, but they rarely bite humans and they are not venomous. When they do bite it does not cause any damage.

Are carpenter ants dangerous?

Carpenter ants do not spread diseases or infections; however, they can still be dangerous. The danger with carpenter ants comes from the fact that they make their nests in wood. If they choose your home for their nest, they can cause serious structural damage.

What are the signs of a carpenter ant infestation?

An indication that you have carpenter ants and not another species of ant is small holes in the wooden structures in your home. These are the openings where the ants go into their nest. There is often a small pile of sawdust below the openings.

Why do I have a carpenter ant problem?

The ants most likely found their way into your home while foraging for food. When carpenter ants infest a home, it is most likely a satellite colony that has established there because of the warmth, safety and nearby food sources.

How do I get rid of carpenter ants?

Getting rid of carpenter ants is extremely difficult. The source of the infestation must be found and the entire colony must be eradicated. If you only eliminate the satellite colony, they will most likely find their way back in and re-infest your home. The best way to take care of an ant problem is to call a pest control professional. For homes or businesses in Providence, Shrewsbury, or elsewhere in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Eastern Connecticut, call Big Blue Bug Solutions today.

Carpenter ant prevention tips from Big Blue Bug Solutions

To prevent a carpenter ant infestation, make sure all food sources are eliminated. Store all leftovers in tightly sealed plastic containers and immediately clean any spills or messes. Also, seal any possible entry point from outside, such as ripped screens or openings around pipes and vents. If this is not enough, call Big Blue Bug Solutions today for a quote on carpenter ant control. You can also check out our blog for more information on carpenter ants in Rhode Island and New England!

Carpenter ants and black ants are two types of household insects. Carpenter ants play a vital role in ecosystems by aiding the decomposition of decaying trees. Moreover, they may cause a significant structural damage to wood. Black ants are generally harmless.

Key Areas Covered

1. Carpenter Ants
– Definition, Characteristics, Importance
2. Black Ants
– Definition, Characteristics, Importance
3. What are the Similarities Between Carpenter Ants and Black Ants
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Carpenter Ants and Black Ants
– Comparison of Key Differences

How to identify carpenter ants

Key Terms: Black Ants, Body Size, Carpenter Ants, Color, Nests

Carpenter Ants – Definition, Characteristics, Importance

Carpenter ants refer to the large ants that burrow into the wood to make nests. The color of the carpenter ants can be black, brown, red, or combination of these colors. They are the species of ants with the largest body size that can be reached up to one inch. The size of the colony of the carpenter ants ranges from 2,000 to 3,000. One of the most characteristic features of carpenter ants is their a heart-shaped head.

How to identify carpenter ants

Figure 1: Carpenter Ant

They excavate nests in wood in the form of smooth tunnels or galleries. This leaves small piles of sawdust. Generally, the nests can be found in roofs, porch pillars, windowsills, and dead trees.

Black Ants – Definition, Characteristics, Importance

Black ants refer to the small ants that are black in color. The size of the body of a worker ant is 0.2 inches. The queen may reach up to 0.4 inches. The size of the colony can be around 15,000 ants. Black ants make their nests in the soil. They travel long distance searching for food.

How to identify carpenter ants

Figure 2: Black Ants

Generally, black ants cause no harm to humans and they do not make nests inside the house. They only come into the house for food.

Similarities Between Carpenter Ants and Black Ants

  • Carpenter ants and black ants are insects, a class of Arthropoda.
  • Both of them belong to the family Formicidae.
  • Both from colonies.
  • The fertile males of ants are called drones while the fertile females are called queens.
  • The sterile wingless females are called workers or soldiers.
  • eat sweet, sugar, meat, and other insects.
  • Destroying the nests is the easiest elimination method for both types of ants.

Difference Between Carpenter Ants and Black Ants

Definition

Carpenter Ants: Large ants that burrow into the wood to make nests

Black Ants: Small ants that are black in color

Significance

Carpenter Ants: Create colonies inside the house

Black Ants: Go inside houses to search for food

Found In

Carpenter Ants: Found in North America

Black Ants: Found in Europe, North America, and Asia

Body Color

Carpenter Ants: Black, brown or red

Black Ants: Black

Carpenter Ants: ¼ or ½ inch in size

Black Ants: 0.2 inches in size

Thorax

Carpenter Ants: Smooth, rounded thorax

Black Ants: Rigged thorax

Nests

Carpenter Ants: Create nests in moist wood

Black Ants: Nets are large, domed-shaped mounds

Conclusion

Carpenter ants are large and black ants are comparatively small. Carpenter ants have black, brown or red bodies while black ants have black bodies. The major issue with carpenter ants is that they make their nests inside household wood by excavating them. The main difference between carpenter ants and black ants is the size of the body.

Reference:

1. “Carpenter Ants (Department of Entomology).” Department of Entomology (Penn State University) via Available Here
2. “Little Black Ants| Little Black Ant Control | TERRO®.” Terro.com via Available Here

Image Courtesy:

1. “Camponotus sideview” By Richard Bartz, Munich Makro Freak – Own work (CC BY-SA 2.5) via Commons Wikimedia
1. “Black-ants” By Rakeshkdogra – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

Carpenter ants are common sights in the Americas, Europe and other parts of the world. Because carpenter ants cause damage to wooden areas where they nest, their presence can be mistaken for a termite infestation. However, while termites eat wood, carpenter ants merely make galleries in wooden areas for shelter.

All species of carpenter ants prefer decayed wood for their nesting sites, as these areas provide proper and consistent humidity and temperatures. Although carpenter ants do not eat wood, damage can be severe when nests remain active for several years. Over time, a colony can expand into several satellite colonies near the parent colony. Workers excavate wood for extra space, causing extensive damage to structures and woodwork.

There are 24 pest species of carpenter ants in the United States alone. For this reason, carpenter ant identification can be difficult. Size and color of carpenter ants can vary among species and even among individuals within one colony. Carpenter ants measure from 3.4 to 13 mm in length and can feature black, red, brown, yellow, orange, or red and black coloration. Although carpenter ants are among the largest ant species worldwide, size is not a reliable factor in carpenter ant identification because workers within a species vary in size.

Carpenter ants are often mistaken for termite swarmers, particularly during swarms when winged male and female ants fly out of their colony to mate. The most important characteristics to look for when identifying any winged ant are elbowed antennae, a pinched or constricted waist and a front pair of wings that is longer than the back pair. Termite swarmers will have straight antennae, a broad waist and both pair of wings similar in length.

Carpenter ants develop by complete metamorphosis: from eggs to larvae to pupae to adults. Adult carpenter ants have six legs, a constricted waist, three distinct body regions and a ring of hairs at the tip of the abdomen (best seen under magnification.)

Locating carpenter ant nests can be accomplished by following the trails of the worker ants themselves. Search for a clean and smooth cavity in the infested area, as well as slit-like windows in the surface of the damaged wood. Small piles of wood shavings can often be found below the openings. After identifying a colony, it is advisable to contact a pest control professional, as several satellite colonies may exist elsewhere within or around the home or building.

How to identify carpenter ants

How to identify carpenter ants – Carpenter ants are commonly mistaken for termites . It’s an easy mistake because they can both be found in wood structures. The one distinct giveaway that its carpenter ants within the wood structure are the evidence of wood shavings. Termites are within wood structures because they are eating the wood. While carpenter ants are within the wood to build a colony, they do not eat the wood. Instead, they will chew the wood and spit it out to make way to build their tunnel. Here are some other signs to take note of to help you identify carpenter ants.

Identifying Carpenter Ants

  • “With more than 20 subspecies of carpenter ants found throughout the United States, it can be difficult to identify the army of invaders accurately in your home or business. Nonetheless, they are typically either black or dark brown, with large jaws for chewing through wood.”
  • They typically measure between 3/8 and ½ of an inch. As mentioned, before they are very similar to termites and very often can be mistaken for them. Winged Carpenter ants look almost identical to winged termites. This makes it very difficult to properly identify what pest is causing damage to your home. Another factor to take note of is the size of the carpenter ant. Due to the various sizes of carpenter ant workers, this method is unreliable because they may not all be the same size.

How to identify carpenter ants

How to identify carpenter ants How do you know you have a carpenter ant infestation?

Carpenter ants can nest in any type of wood. However, they prefer more damper wood than dry wood. Wood that’s sat in a shaded area for a while would be a perfect habitat for carpenter ants.

The most obvious sign that you have an infestation would be physically seeing carpenter ant workers within your home or building. This would be the first sign that you may have a problem. As mentioned before, seeing wood shavings under any wood furniture or wood structures would be another sign that you may have a carpenter ant infestation.

Another sign that there may be an infestation on the property would be seeing large, winged ants emerge from ceilings, walls, and other hidden crevices. If this is seen an infestation is almost certain.

Scientists estimate that there are almost 700 species of ants in the U.S. and Canada. Of these, about 30 species are carpenter ants. Fortunately, only a few of these actually invade homes. However, the carpenter ants that invade homes often cause serious damage because of their habit of making their nests in wood.

Homeowners get nervous when they think that carpenter ants have invaded their home. An accurate identification is important because ants are all different. The same treatment does not work for all species of ants.

What Does a Carpenter Ant Look Like?

Scientists identify carpenter ants by looking at particular parts of the ant’s body. The scientists make comparisons to decide if the ant is a carpenter ant or not.

  • Is the ant’s thorax rounded or irregularly shaped?
  • Does the pedicel have one node or two?
  • Does the antenna have twelve segments? Does it have a club?
  • Is there a circle of hairs at the back of the abdomen?

How to identify carpenter ants

photo credit:Univ of Minn

How to identify carpenter ants

Carpenter Ant

Some of these characteristics can be hard to see without a magnifying glass. It may be easier for a homeowner to identify the ant in other ways. By considering the ant’s size and behavior, homeowners can identify many common ants, including carpenter ants.

How big are the ants?

How to identify carpenter ants

Image credit:Laurel Hansen, NPS.gov

Workers
A carpenter ant colony has workers of different sizes. The smallest workers can be less than 1/8″ long. The largest workers can be more than half an inch long. There are black carpenter ants, red carpenter ants, and carpenter ants that are brown and even two-toned ones. Black ants that are all the same size may be acrobat ants.

Queen
The queen is usually the largest ant in the colony. In most colonies there is only one queen. However, in colonies of Camponotus vicinus (Mayr), there are several queens. This may be the reason for the colonies of this species of carpenter ant being very large.

During the year, most of the ants in a carpenter ant colony are workers. There are very large workers, called major workers. These can be more than 0.5″ long. There are also small workers, called minor workers. These are often less than 1/8″ long.

Behavior

Most carpenter ants nest in trees and woodpiles. (Exception: the Florida carpenter ant often nests in the ground under leaves or items that are on the ground.)

As they burrow into wooden beams in houses, carpenter ants are highly destructive. Tiny as they are, the pests easily enter homes through cracks in windows and doors, holes in siding and roofs, and fissures in building foundations. Carpenter ants set up parent nests in addition to several satellite colonies in close proximity to each other, so individuals may encounter multiple nests in infested homes.

Where To Look For Them

Colonies are typically found in moist or decaying wood where there’s plenty of condensation and poor airflow, including under bathroom tiles, around dishwashers, under roofing, around windows, and under tubs, sinks, and showers. When carpenter ants come into homes, they often make nests inside walls and under cabinets.

Nests Inside
If there is wood that is damp or decaying, the carpenter ants will hollow it out and make their nest in it. Has there been a plumbing problem, a roof leak, or a drainage problem? Carpenter ants readily nest in wood in areas where there is dampness. Moisture ants like damp areas too, but they are yellow ants.

However, dry areas like those found in insulation, wall voids, and hollow doors become infested with workers, pupae, and larvae.

Noises
Homeowners often hear rustling sounds of carpenter ants moving around in their nest inside the wall.

Nocturnal Activity

When did you see them?
Carpenter ants are active at night. (Outdoors they are also active on cloudy days.) A few workers may forage during the day, so it is possible to see a couple of ants wandering around.) However, at night the workers move around in lines.

They follow trails between their food supply, the water supply, the satellite nests, and the main nest. Homeowners who suspect they have carpenter ants may benefit from making an inspection at night. During the inspection, look outside at window sills, eaves, fences, utility lines, and tree limbs that touch the house. Trails of ant workers will often lead to the nests.

Protect your home or business from carpenter ants by learning techniques for identification and control.

Treatment

How do I get rid of carpenter ants?

What Orkin Does

In controlling a carpenter ant infestation, it is necessary to first find the nest. Once identified, it can be removed or treated chemically. All moisture conditions that the ants found conducive must be corrected.

If treated early, serious structural damage to houses and buildings can be avoided. However, these ants could damage structures immensely if they continue undiscovered for an extended period.

DIY control methods often involve incorrect procedures that can allow the colony to rebound when surviving members resume their burrowing and foraging.

Orkin technicians are trained to help manage carpenter ants and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique carpenter ant treatment program for your situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

These insects usually build their nests in damp, sound or decaying wood. Homes with moisture issues caused by leaks are prime targets for carpenter ants. The pests will also use tree branches that overhang roofs as a bridge, accessing buildings to find a way inside. Unsealed openings around utility pipes and wires are common entry points.

When carpenter ants build nests, they dig out tunnels in wood, weakening it from the inside. A long-term infestation with multiple colonies in a home often means serious structural damage and unsightly cosmetic damage.

Workers and swarmers (winged ants) are the most likely sign homeowners observe.

Workers: The workers may be observed foraging for food.

Swarmers: Swarmers usually are produced when a colony matures and is ready to form new colonies. These winged individuals often indicate a well-established colony.

Debris: An additional sign of activity is the debris they produce from tunneling in the wood. Rough wood shavings mixed with parts of dead ants from the colony indicate nesting activity.

Sound: A final sign may be the “rustling” sound sometimes heard as the ants go about their activity in the home’s wood.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Understanding Carpenter Ants

Appearance

Length: Carpenter ants are among the largest ants in the United States, ranging from 3.4 to 13 mm long. More size information.

Color: The most common color is black, but some species have reddish or yellowish coloration. The color also varies among species, ranging from jet-black to dark brown, red, black, yellow, orange, yellowish tan or light brown. Some ants exhibit both red and black coloration.

Mandibles: Workers have large mandibles.

Habitat

Carpenter ants reside both outdoors and indoors in moist, decaying or hollow wood.

Carpenter ants do not eat wood as termites do, but instead remove wood and deposit the debris outside of their nests in small piles. They will feed on a variety of food people eat—particularly sweets and meats. They will also feed on other insects.

Attraction to Moisture

In natural environments, carpenter ants dwell in both dead and living trees, stumps and rotting logs. However, they may also establish their nests inside of homes and buildings where wood is found, especially where wood has been exposed to severe moisture.

Reproduction

Queens lays 9 to 16 eggs the first year and may live up to 25 years. Eggs complete their life cycle in about 6 to 12 weeks.

Galleries & Nests

Ants of the genus Camponotus are known as carpenter ants because they prefer to establish their colonies in galleries excavated from damp or damaged wood. They cut galleries into the wood grain to form their nests and provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest. This activity produces wood shavings mixed with parts of dead ants which provides clues to nesting locations.

Carpenter ants clean their nesting sites, and their galleries are not lined with mud or moist soil as termite galleries typically are. The workers keep their galleries as smooth as sandpapered wood.

Parent vs. Satellite Colonies

Carpenter ants build two types of nests: parent colonies and satellite colonies. Parent colonies consist of a queen, her brood, and workers. Satellite colonies consist of workers, older larvae, and pupae. Workers create satellite colonies when the parent colony lacks sufficient space or when there is a suitable supply of food or water. There may be several satellite colonies associated with a parent colony.

How to identify carpenter ants

It’s easy to mix up carpenter ants with other kinds of ants, or even termites! With their wood-tunneling habits and their many physical similarities to common ant species, it’s no wonder that people don’t often catch carpenter ants until they’ve done significant damage. Here in Wisconsin, we have seen carpenter ants cause some seriously expensive damage before ever being discovered. So, how can you tell apart carpenter ants and other pests?

What Does a Carpenter Ant Look Like?

Carpenter ants look a lot like other types of ants in Wisconsin, but they do have a few characteristics that you can distinguish them from others by. These are:

  1. Their size: Carpenter ants are larger than most ant species in the United States. They reach up to 1.5cm in length in some cases.
  2. Their color: Some kinds of carpenter ants are plain black all the way through like other ants in the area, but some subspecies have a unique yellow-red tint that becomes more prominent toward the back of their bodies.
  3. Other features: Some distinguishing features of carpenter ants are their swarmers’ long wings and their workers’ large mandibles. If you see winged carpenter ants in your home, it is a bad sign that there is already an active outbreak of them causing damage to your home.

How to Tell if You Have Carpenter Ants

If you aren’t sure that the ants in your home are carpenter ants based on how they look, there are a few more indicators to look for. Carpenter ants tunnel through the wooden structures in homes just like termites do, but the difference between them is that termites eat the wood that they chew and carpenter ants don’t. This means you’ll often find trails of wood shavings where they’ve been present.

Other signs of carpenter ants are:

  • Swarmer wings that have broken off
  • Wood damage
  • Ant activity in crawl spaces and attics

It’s a good idea to check your vulnerable spaces for ant activity routinely. When you do find ants in the house, try to find out whether or not they are carpenter ants. When it comes to carpenter ants, it is crucial to act quickly to get rid of them.

Get Rid of Carpenter Ants in Wisconsin

If you’ve found carpenter ants in your house in Wisconsin, don’t worry about them biting you or causing disease. What you should be worried about is the amount of damage they could cause or may have already caused. The safest way to stop carpenter ants is to tell your local pest control company about them. The ant control experts at Batzner Pest Control can eliminate active infestations and set up preventative measures to stop future infestations. For a free ant control quote, contact us today!

How to identify carpenter ants

Ants are one of the biggest pest challenges in any home. Without proper equipment, it’s almost impossible to remove them. They are house guests that you should exterminate as soon as possible.

Odorous ants and carpenter ants have different identifications. With enough experience, you can identify which type of ant you have.

In this article, we’ll give you a detailed guide on how you can differentiate smelly ants from the basic carpenter ants. Then you can decide which action to take for the pests in your home.

1. What You Need To Know To Identify

Before you can do a successful ant identification, you need to first understand a few details. When you see an ant, it’s best to look around if you can find other ants with same characteristics. All ants live in colonies and almost never travel alone.

Many ants will follow along a trail, which serves as their foraging ground. This is their way back into the nest. This will help you also find their nest by following them to a trail.

If you give them a quick look, there are a few areas you need to give a nice, detailed observation. These details are:

  • Body features and characteristics
  • Ant nests and shelters
  • Ant general behavior
  • Ant worker size

These crucial details will help you differentiate odorous house ants from the basic carpenter ants. Here are a few details:

Get a Fast, Free Estimate

2. Identifying Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants tend to be large in size, going anywhere between ¼ inches to ½ inches long. They have different colors, being brown, black or a combo of black and red-orange. The workers have different sizes and a single pedicel – the connective segments in ants.

How to identify carpenter antsA carpenter ant also has a smooth profile in its thorax. Its color helps it move in stealth at night, consider that it is a nocturnal insect. Many will come out of fences, tree branches and many linear trails and objects. Their colonies like to reside in hollow trunks and tree branches but can also stay in hollow wooden areas.

These ants can also produce swarmer ants, which are versions that are larger than workers with wings. Once the colony starts maturing, they will try to find new homes and new colonies. The job of their swarmers is to find new territories that they can colonize.

If you are looking into identifying a carpenter ant, the best way to see is if they have swarmers.

Is A Carpenter Ant A Pest?

Carpenter ants are some of the worst pests in your home. Their ability to process wood and turn it into a nest can compromise the structure of wooden homes. Their primary target can be areas where the foundation connects to ground areas.

While a carpenter ant is not as damaging as termites when processing wood, they can still pack a punch. They love wet, damp, and damaged wood as it’s easy to convert it into a nest.

A carpenter ant colony has a strong destructive nature. Apart from talking to pest control experts, you want to spruce your backyard. Keep it clean and manicured, cutting your lawn and removing any dead, rotting wood.

Eliminate any excess water from your backyard. It’s best to call ant extermination experts to remove any infestation.

3. Identifying Odorous Ants

The odorous house ant or Tapinoma Sessile is the most common ant. You can find them both indoors and outdoors, with nests in most wet areas. You can find them almost everywhere, including in mulch, stones, and outside/inside objects.

An odorous house ant is medium in size. It can go between 1/16 inches up to 1/8 inches in length. They have a single connective pedicel that, if you look from above, is not obvious.

How to identify carpenter antsThis house ant has one of the smoothest bodies among all ants, with zero to a few hairs. They tend to be brown or black in color and will have a woodsy, licorice-like smell once crushed. This smell is dank, hence their name.

They’re also voracious eaters and will eat almost anything they can get their hands on. They have a particular liking for sugary, sweet foods. Like many ants, they will go indoors once the rainy season starts and will swarm your walls.

Once they invade, you will find them lining up in your kitchen. A carpenter ant likes to make its home in exposed soil, cracked walls or under floors. They will use these areas to create a home where they can rear their white ant eggs.

Are Odorous Ants A Pest?

Odorous ants are not damaging to your home per se. Even then, their sheer numbers can be annoying once they start infesting your food. If they start nesting in woody areas around your home, they can also emit a dank, musty smell.

If you want to prep your own home, secure the two most crucial resources that these ants want. These are wood and food. Keep food in airtight containers and clean gardens to prevent wood rot. Some DIY pesticides can be effective, but it’s best to talk to pest controllers for your home.

How Do You Control Carpenter and Odorous Ants?

To identify carpenter ants vs odorous house ants, it’s best to know the characteristics of the ant. You would want to check their behavior and keep your environment clean in general.

If you’re looking to exterminate an entire infestation, you need experts with years of experience.

Viking Pest Control will keep any pests out of your home and remove them as soon as possible. From destructive ants to nasty bed bugs, we can help you.

Viking Pest Control is the best pest solution you can find! Schedule a free estimate online or talk to your friends here at Viking. Dial 1-800-618-2847 for more information on how we can help you do the job.

How to identify carpenter ants

Flying carpenter ants are fascinating and troubling, specifically for their incredible ability to spread their species. Some people hate them passionately. Others find them incredibly captivating. The more extreme fans of the flying carpenter ants have dedicated their lives to studying these small yet wildly significant creatures. This includes the intricacies of their colony development and their unique biology. But with just a little knowledge on these insects you can learn how to identify these highly socialized ants for yourself.

Flying Carpenter Ant Colony Development

The colony of flying carpenter ants is something of a marvel. Carpenter ants are incredibly efficient when it comes to establishing and growing their colonies. They can be somewhat aggressive in this regard. Carpenter ants will not develop the winged reproductive until the colony is mature. This typically takes about 3-5 years to develop.

The time that larvae spend being nurtured as they grow is arguably the most comfortable phase of their existence. Once larvae develop and turn into worker ants, it’s all downhill from there, no pun intended. Hint hint, anthill, no laughter? Well then, time to continue.

One of the most significant events in the lives of flying carpenter ants is the nuptial flights. During the nuptial flights, males chase after the queen ant, who endeavors to evade their pursuits.

Carpenter Ant Queen

The Queen is elegant and artful in evading her male pursuers. One could argue that she is merely playing hard to get, but this would be something of an oversimplification. There is a natural, biological reason for the Queen’s erratic behavior. Making it difficult for the males to achieve their goal of mating with the queen ensures that only the fittest and most physically accomplished males will succeed. Regardless of the weather or the amount of workers foraging, the Queen will continue to reproduce 365 days a year.

By selecting the most athletic male carpenter ants, the Queen’s progeny will exhibit favorable traits that will make the colony stronger and ultimately more successful as a whole.

Carpenter ants create their colonies by burrowing into wood such as decaying trees. Unfortunately, your house could be a target for a flying carpenter ant’s satellite nest. Satellite nests serve the main colony. Large trees, decaying wood, or telephone poles are locations the main colony can be typically found. Almost always, though, these main colonies will be outside the home. Even if you successfully destroy the satellite nest, the flying carpenter ant menace can return fueled by fresh forces hailing from the main colony.

It’s worth noting that the inside of a flying carpenter ant colony, the walls are remarkably smooth. They put a lot of effort into creating smooth walls within the interior of the wood they live. If you were to compare this to a termite nest, you’d find that the termites are much less meticulous as the walls of their homes look rough in comparison.

As beautiful as the quality of a flying carpenter ant colony or satellite nest may be, you don’t want them in your home.

How to identify carpenter ants

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Biology Of The Carpenter Ant

How to identify carpenter ants

If you thought May Flies had a short lifespan, flying carpenter ants don’t have it much better. The lifespan of a flying carpenter ant ranges from 6 to 12 weeks. This period includes the time they spend from an egg through development, adulthood, etc.

In terms of biology, carpenter ants are refreshingly simple yet remarkably complex. Technically, they start as larvae, which are nurtured and fed by the females of the species. The females feed the larvae by secreting nutritious fluid from their bodies.

It takes somewhere around 4 to 8 weeks for the larvae to develop and mature from their larval state and ultimately emerge as productive worker ants.

One of the unique characteristics of flying carpenter ants is their wings. It is these wings that distinguishes them from many other types of ants.

As far as their diet goes, flying carpenter ants will readily devour other insects, living or dead. They seek out any protein source they can find and tend to do most of their foraging at night. Those who have the misfortune of hosting carpenter ants in their home will notice they specifically seek out sweet foods like meats and jellies.

How To Identify Flying Carpenter Ants

Identifying carpenter ants have relatively long legs, bent antennae, and wings. These wings are longer than the back wings. These differences serve to distinguish flying carpenter ants from swarming termites, which while similar in shape, are decidedly unique.

How to identify carpenter ants

There are certain physical and cosmetic differences between carpenter ants located in different areas. For example, flying carpenter ants are present in both the Eastern and Western United States. Carpenter ants in the Western United States are all black, while carpenter ants from the Eastern United States are black with dark red legs.

Other differences exist as well. Carpenter ants based in the Eastern United States can support a mature colony of around 3,500-5,000 worker ants, while carpenter ants in the Western United States can support much larger colonies of approximately 15,000 worker ants. The incredible size of colonies of carpenter ants in the Western United States is impressive and thought-provoking.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know more about flying carpenter ants, you can appreciate how complex and fascinating these insects genuinely are. The world is host to millions of insects, but few are as impressive as carpenter ants. These insects remind us that we share the planet with incredibly massive yet remarkably small societies like countless colonies of carpenter ants.

While flying carpenter ants might seem small individually, the colonies they build number in the millions, making them a more substantial presence in our world than many realize. While this introduction has given you some insight into carpenter ants, there is still much to learn!