Carpenter ant

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Carpenter ant


Large, black wood-nesting ant of the genus Camponotus that is native to North America. Carpenter ants hollow out nest areas in old logs, dead trees, and wooden structures. These black ants are about 1 cm in length. They prefer to nest in moist areas and can severly damage any type of wood. Their frass looks like coarse sawdust and often contans dead ants and insect parts. Their bites can be painful when formic acid is injected. The two most common carpenter ant species are:

- Camponotus pennsylvanicus: Eastern US, black with yellowish hairs
- Camponotus modoc: Western US, black with reddish legs
Carpenter ant

Synonyms and Related Terms

carpenter ants (pl.); Camponotus spp.;

Other Properties

Workers: 3.5-13 mm; may emit strong formic acid odor

Queens: 13-17 mm

Color: most commonly black but may be combinations of red, brown, and black

Antenna: 12-segmented, no club

Thorax: no spines

Additional Information

Eric H. Smith, Richard C. Whitman, NPMA Field Guide to Sturctural Pests, National Pest Management Association, Fairfax VA, 2005.

Additional Images


  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, Comment: "ant." Encyclopdia Britannica. 2005. Encyclopdia Britannica Premium Service 3 Feb. 2005 .

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