Physical Characteristics

Carpenter worker ants are 1/8 to 1/2 inches long, depending on whether they’re major or minor workers, and queens are 1/2 to 5/8 inches long. Their coloring can range from reddish brown to ebony black, depending on the species. Some species have hairy abdomens, and some are clean shaven. Their antennae each have 12 segments, without a “club.” Viewed from the side, the carpenter ant’s thorax is curved smoothly. Their pedicel, or waist, has one segment.

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter Ant


Carpenter ants are omnivores; they’re attracted to dead insects, the “honeydew” produced by aphids and scale insects, fruit and plant juices, sweets, eggs and meat. These wall-nesting ants live in large colonies with several queens. Their nests can be found in wall voids, insulation, rotting fence posts, firewood stacks and decaying trees. These ants can be very destructive to wood, which they chew through not because they have a hearty appetite for cellulose, like termites do, but to create tunnels between nests. They will forage up to 300 feet from their nests, and one main nest containing the egg-laying queens may be linked to up to 20 satellite nests populated by workers that forage to feed the main colony. Campotonus queens have lived as long as 27 years, and workers can live several years. Often the way people become aware of Campotonus activity at home is via rustling noises inside timbers, small piles of sawdust-like frass that contains powdered wood mixed with insect parts, or “swarmers” – winged reproductive ants – emerging indoors.

If you detect carpenter ant activity inside your home, your Clark technician can help devise a strategy to locate and eliminate any nests, then set up barriers to help ensure they don’t return anytime soon.

Latin Name: Camponotus modoc