Carpenter ant

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Carpenter ant larvae

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 frass
Carpenter ant damage

Synonyms and Related Terms

carpenter ants (pl.); Camponotus spp.;

Physical and Chemical 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

Resources and Citations

  • at Link
  • Eric H. Smith, Richard C. Whitman, NPMA Field Guide to Sturctural Pests, National Pest Management Association, Fairfax VA, 2005.
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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