How To Get Rid of Ants

How to Identify Carpenter Ants

by writer - October 19th, 2011.
Filed under: Ant Facts.

Some ants can be more dangerous to your wood works than the termites… want to know which types of ants are these. These are the carpenter ants that dig your wooden furniture and turn them into fine sawdust. Commonly referred as the black ants, these come in different sizes among the same species. As the name suggests these ants have the capability of whittling down the wood. These ants cause a loss of millions of dollars in US in a year.

Often home owners get mistaken that their house has been infested by termites even though it’s not the termites but the carpenter ants. However, identifying carpenter ants can be quite difficult as there are around 18 species of the genus.

Unlike most of the ants that prefer dwelling inside the ground these carpenter ants reside above the ground making cavities in tree stumps, furniture, walls, floors, tiles, sub floors, etc.
How to Identify Carpenter Ants Carpenter1

How to Identify Carpenter Ants:

  • Size:
    The size of the carpenter ants varies from 1/4″ to 1/2″. However, some species can grow up to 2.5 centimeters.
  • Color:
    You will find carpenter ants in several colors when observing them. Carpenter ants of black, red, brown, orange and yellow colors can be seen. The most common color of carpenter ant found in United States is a different variety and quite a peculiar one – reddish brown head and thorax, black abdomen and body.
  • Caste system:
    Generally, in ants the division is like this:
    Workers, queens and males
    However, in case of carpenter ants, this caste system is a bit different. They have another polymorphic worker, i.e., division is made according to the size also.
  • Shape:
    To distinguish between a carpenter ant and a termite click here.
    The answer to how to identify carpenter ants from other ant species become quite simple by comparing their thorax. In case of carpenter ants the thorax region is even and contains only one node while in other ants, the thorax region is highly uneven and may contain one or two nodes.

How to Identify Carpenter Ants Carpenter

  • Habitat:
    Mostly, you will find the carpenter ants nesting at damp places. They prefer to excavate that piece of wood that has been destroyed by water. The largest member of the species nests by creating galleries in wood and does this whole process at night.

    A colony consists of around 3000 members and has two parts:
    Parental colony: consisting of queen, her brood and males.
    Satellite colony: consisting of workers only.

    This specie of ants contains one queen per colony.


    Once you see them on any surface and then after a few days so don’t find them, then don’t be relaxed it means that they have moved inside the furniture through a crack or any other opening. Furthermore, when working on how to identify carpenter ants one must note that other ants don’t infest on wood while the carpenter ants do so.

  • Food:
    Once these carpenter ants enter your house through the tiny cracks on doors and windows you will find them on any of the following if left open:

    Sweet, meat, eggs, grease, however, when outside they survive on rotten wood, living and dead insects. One can find them on honeydew like the other ant species. Mainly, they prefer food rich in proteins.
    One must note that these ants DON’T EAT WOOD, they just excavate it to make their nests.

How to Identify Carpenter Ants Carpenter2

The Picture shows the division in carpenter ants:

Top Left:Winged reproductive female
Top Right: Winged reproductive male
Bottom: Minor workers (female), major workers (female).

If one is quickly able to identify the carpenter ants infesting his house and takes serious measures, he can protect himself from sever damages to his home. However, if late action is taken against them, extreme damage can be caused. It is advised to contact a pest-control  service as soon as you find the carpenter ant’s nest in your home.

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