Common Name: Black Carpenter Ant
Scientific Name: Camponoyus Pennsylvanicus
Introduction: Carpenter ant colonies consist of three different types of ants. Winged queens are 3/4 of an inch long and have rustic color wings. Wingless queens tend to be small in size at 5/8 of an inch long. The males may or may not have wings and are smaller than the queens. Finally, there are the workers which are between 1/4-1/2 an inch long.
Biology: After mating the male carpenter dies and the queen forms a colony usually moist or decaying wood. The queen will only mate once in her lifetime and lays 15-20 eggs over 15 day period. The eggs will go from larva to adult in under three months at temperatures between 70-90 degrees, but could take as long as ten months in cooler temperatures. The queen’s main duty in the colony is to lay eggs. Carpenter ant colonies can range in size 3000-5000 ants. The males that produce wings are called swarmers and it usually takes a colony three years to produce swarmers. A typical carpenter ant colony will have between 200-400 swarmers with only one queen.
Habits: Carpenter ants do not eat wood. Carpenter ants feed on a wide variety of food such as insects (dead or alive), plant juices, fruits and any other sugary food. The workers have been known to travel as far as 100 yards from their nest for food. The ants make tunnels and galleries in wood as part of their nesting site. The frass or wood shavings from the decaying wood is carried and deposited outside of the colony. The nests are established in moist or decaying wood in an area that is dry and in some cases even in the soil around the structure. When large numbers of ants are seen during the day in one particular location it usually means a well established colony exists within the structure. This will increase the possibility of damage to structurally sound wood. When the colonies become too large Carpenter ants will form satellite colonies in other areas of the structure. If Carpenter ants go untreated these ants can cause extensive damage to homes over time.