Black Carpenter Ant    (Camponotus pennsylvanicus)


Identification:
Carpenter ants are one of the largest of all ants’ species ranging in
color and size. The average size of a carpenter ant is two to 20
millimeters in length. The colors of carpenter ants also vary between
species which include, jet-black to brown, red, black, yellow, orange,
yellowish tan or light brown. Male, female and, the queen carpenter
ants also have different characteristics. Male and female carpenter
ants (the workers and reproductive ants), can measure up to 18
millimeters in length, where as the queen can reach 20 millimeters to
one inch in length. When a carpenter ant infestation is identified, these
characteristics are rarely used; the infestation is usually identified by
the physical damage the carpenter ants have created.
Biology:
A Carpenter Ant colony has one wingless queen and many sterile,
wingless, female workers. It also has white, legless larvae and, at
certain times, winged females and males. The eggs are white and the
pupae cocoons are tan. Usually, a colony does not produce winged
males and queens (the reproductives) until it is several years old and
has about 2,000 to 3,000 workers. When the colony is large enough,
winged males and more queens will be produced, up to 200 to 400 per
colony in the summer. During the winter months Carpenter Ants are
inactive, unless the nest is located near a warm area of a building.
The basic function of the queen is to produce young. When the nest is
first developed she lays her first batch of eggs and after 60 days the
first brood of workers has been produced. Typically the first bath of
workers that are born are small, due to the fact that they have only
been feeding off of what the queen has stored in her body. Once they
have grown to adults, the queen’s only job is to lay eggs. The workers
job is to enlarge the nest and bring food to the queen and any larvae.
Once the colony has reached a certain amount of workers (2,000 to
3,000), more reproductive males, females, and winged swarmers will
be produced. In the summer months these swarmers, both male and
female, leave the nest to mate. After they have mated

the male dies and the female chews off her wings. She then finds a
new location to create a nest, becomes the queen of that colony, and
the process starts over.
Habits:
Carpenter ant colonies in a natural environment dwell in both dead
and living trees, damp or damaged wooded areas, stumps, rotting
logs, etc. However, carpenter ants may also establish their
nests/colonies inside of homes or buildings where wood is found. In
this case, they prefer to make their nests in areas where the wood has
been severely damaged by moisture. Some common areas in a home
that these ants may infest include windows, chimneys, sinks,
doorframes, or bath traps and in hollow spaces such as wall crevices,
electric wires and pipes. Unlike termites, carpenters do not eat wood,
they remove wood from the galleries they create and leave deposits of
debris in small piles. Given the perfect conditions of damp wood,
appropriate temperature and protection from predators, carpenter ants
can thrive, causing major problems for home and business owners.
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