What is a Carpenter Ant?

What is a Carpenter Ant?

Carpenter ants are known for their ability that can help degrade wood over time, using their strong jaws to remove wood and form tunnels inside it.

What is a Carpenter Ant? A carpenter ant is an ant species having red and black bodies with one node and rounded thorax. They are almost 0.4 to 1 inch in length and are commonly present indoors, like windows, wooden furniture, bathroom tiles, kitchen sinks, etc. Moreover, they like to eat sweet and protein-rich food like insects and honeydew. Furthermore, they have almost 30,000 to 50,000 workers in a colony that can live for 2 to 3 months. 

The carpenter ants are polymorphic, with varying members in the colony living inside rotting wood.

In addition, the queens can produce legless larvae from oval-shaped eggs having a cream-colored outer shell that will become adults after the completion of the hatching and growth period.

How to identify a carpenter ant?

You can easily identify a carpenter’s ant by looking at its color as it appears red and black, or a few of them have black bodies.

Moreover, their waists have only one node or petiole and a rounded thorax. The queens and reproductive males are bigger than the workers and have two wings on their bodies.

The approximate length of queen bodies is 0.8 to 1 inch, while the workers are smaller and are 0.4 to 0.8 inches in length.

In addition, they have uniform bodies and heart-shaped head that makes it easy to differentiate them from black ants having the same body color.

Their bodies are covered with fine hair in the form of rings on the abdomens and clustered together on the thorax and head region.

Furthermore, Camponotus pennsylvanicus have large jaws that help shave the wooden structures and obtain food from insects and plant juices.

These ants belong to the Camponotus genus and have different species with varying body colors and habitats.

Where do carpenter ants live?

Most commonly, the carpenter ants live in Minnesota and are considered the largest species of ants. However, they are also present in the eastern United States and Canada.

You can find heavy infestations inside homes and wooden houses as they like dry and moist wood.

They prefer to live in a moist place where you can find them crawling around dishwashers, leaky water lines, kitchen sinks, and bathrooms.

You can easily detect these insects as they make a rustling sound that can help find their nests in walls and other areas.

It can also produce a sound like crinkling cellophane, which is more noticeable at night. They can quickly build their nest within small wall gaps and make their way inside the house.

In addition, they form two types of nests, including parent nests which are usually present outdoors like the wooden logs, tree stumps, and roots, and close to windows.

The bathrooms have showers, bathtubs, and sinks that can also attract them to come inside as it provides a good source of moisture.

However, the satellite nests are primarily present in dry places in indoor areas containing workers and larvae, and the workers keep moving from the satellite nests to the parent colony.

What food do carpenter ants like to eat?

Almost every ant species is interested in food sources rich in sugars and proteins. You can find them enjoying a feast on the food type that is easily available to them.

In addition, they are omnivores and like to eat living or dead insects. Many people think they can eat wood as they shave the logs for food purposes but do not consume the flakes.

These insects shave wood to build narrow tunnels that can help them live inside. They can also consume sweet juices or honeydew produced by soft-bodied organisms.

Moreover, pet foods are not safe from the attack of these insects as they get nutrition from them. Food items like sugar syrups, jellies, peanut butter, and other sweet foods can attract them.

They remain active in food collection as you can see them foraging for food in summer and spring when they can go far from their nests to search for food sources.

What is the colony size of carpenter ants? 

The carpenter ants are social insects that like to build nests and live in colonies where all the members of different castes interact together to ensure their survival.

Like every ant colony, it also contains reproductive males and females that have to continue the population by fertilizing the eggs and hatching them to form adults.

In addition, they have a large number of workers that are multi-tasking and control multiple activities like food collection and feeding, cleaning of the nest, and its protection from predators.

You can find almost 30,000 to 50,000 members in a carpenter ant colony. However, an adult colony is based on 2000 to 3000 members that are all performing some tasks.

Some species can build larger colonies of around 90,000 to 100,000 members. These larger colonies have multiple queens to ensure the continuity of species by increasing the population quickly.

How long does a carpenter ant live?

The lifespan of carpenter ants depends on multiple factors, including the nature of the habitat, availability of food type, and the presence of predators close to the territory.

Moreover, they can die early due to severe environmental changes when they have to leave nests due to flooding and cannot find a suitable spot to live.

In the same way, the absence of food makes them prone to death as they need food to keep themselves in working condition, and predator attacks can be responsible for their death.

However, the average lifespan of carpenter ant workers is 2 to 3 months until the larvae turn into adults and replace them.

The males have an extremely short lifespan as they can only survive until mating, while the queens can live for a few years due to care and protection from workers.

Are carpenter ants active at night?

The carpenter ants are active at night time as they like to forage for food in the dark to ensure safety when their predators are probably sleeping.

Moreover, you can see a swarm of these insects coming out of their nests right after sunset when darkness prevails.

They can get involved in activities like going several feet away from their nests when foraging for food and following a trail one after another.

Furthermore, they can run fast and keep moving until they have to stop to share the food with the nest members and then begin to walk again at maximum speed.

Do carpenter ants damage wood?

The carpenter ants like to live within the wood and build their nests inside the narrow tunnels in a wooden log or timber.

Moreover, they can excavate wood or shave it continuously to give a defined shape that provides a suitable spot for living inside. These areas are clean and do not contain debris or sawdust.

It can cause minor to significant damage depending on the size of the colony living inside the wooden structure, as a larger colony can bring visible structural damage in a short time.

Furthermore, it decreases the strength of wood by excavating the material from inside and damaging it completely sometimes.

This structural damage is not a one-day task, as it can take many months or even years to cause a significant change in the structure and damage it completely.

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