Physical Characteristics

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

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter Ant


Carpenter ants are omnivores; they’re attracted to dead insects, the “honeydew”  waste product from 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.  Carpenter 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. Carpenter ant queens have lived as long as 27 years, and workers can live several years. Often the way people become aware of Carpenter ants nesting in their home is via rustling noises inside timbers, small piles of sawdust-like frass that contains powdered wood mixed with insect parts, or 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. Schedule your carpenter ant inspection today.

Latin Name: Camponotus modoc