Inside the United States, there are several types of carpenter ants.  One thing these insects pest have in common is their nests are created inside the wood.  Another thing these big black insects have in common, if their colonies are left alone, they create a lot of damaged wood.  Damaging wood structures like sheds, garages, and homes. Anything else with a wood frame they may choose to call home.

This article is going to help you learn how to recognize when these big black winged ants are around.  Aid in confirming they are indeed carpenter ants and help you take necessary steps for pest management and control.

What do carpenter ants with wings look like?

The carpenter ant has been recognized in the United States as one of the biggest species of ants. However, just because you see a large ant or dead ants on the floor, this doesn’t mean it is a carpenter ant. On the other hand, not seeing large ants doesn’t mean you do not have a carpenter ant infestation.  The reason for this is carpenter ants come in a variety of sizes.  Each caste--queens, soldiers, and workers--is of varying size, as its sex. In addition, they can be black, red, or dark brown in color.

Close up of a carpenter ant with wings

How big do these carpenter ants get?

An example of some of the different sizes these insects come in is as follows:

  • The worker ant is only ¼ to ⅝ of an inch long--these are the most widely seen
  • The male carpenter ant is about the same length as worker ants; however, they are seen flying with the queen from the nest when mating.
  • The biggest ant is the queen-- she can be around two to three times the size of her workers

Are flying carpenter ants dangerous?

Carpenter ants are not really dangerous to humans; however, they do pose a threat to your house made of wood. Even though these pests do not eat wood, they use their large mandibles to make galleries in which they nest.  They also add tunnels that connect these galleries.  Through the action of excavating wood, carpenter ants cause structural damage to a home or other building.

A winged carpenter ant posed danger to humans too

Where do carpenter ants nest?

An outdoor carpenter ant nest is usually found around decaying wood, like old stumps, firewood, and hollowed-out, rotting trees. Areas with water and moisture are the most susceptible places for a carpenter ant colony infestation.

What does a carpenter ant eat?

A carpenter ant will eat mostly sugars and protein as food.  This includes sweets (jelly, syrup, honey, etc.) and meat.  They also like the honeydew that aphids make.  They like foraging around for food during spring and summer at night. Although carpenter ants chew and make tunnels through the wood, ants do not eat wood.

Carpenter ants looking for sugar and protein foods

 

Can these ant pests bite a human?

Although they do not sting, they are capable of serving up a very painful bite. These black ants in the house have strong mandibles, coupled with a shot of formic acid, which equals a very red, stinging wound.

Signs of an ant infestation

In the early spring, late, or fall, you may see these insects near a building or your home. You can also see some carpenter ants in the winter. This could be a sign you have an infestation.  However, seeing a couple of carpenter ants does not signal you have an ant problem. These ants carpenter their way into your home or building any way they can.

What are flying ants?

You should be made aware that what you think are flying ants may actually be termites, particularly if it is in the early spring months. They are found close to an area with spongy wood or water or leaky pipes. They most likely are carpenter ants. Many ants and termites look similar at first glance.

What are termites and ants?

Termites and carpenter ants with wings are about the same size.  Both are known to damage wood in a home.  Termites and carpenter ants with wings are foes to the woodwork in your home.

Similar to termites, both have four wings. Termites' wings are uniform, and winged ants have two front wings larger than the back two.  The antennae on a termite are mostly straight, whereas these insect antennae are shaped like an elbow.

Carpenter ant vs termite: The difference between them

What makes termites different is they eat wood, and ants use the wood to build their nest. The body of a termite is something else to look at to tell them apart.

Carpenter ant vs. termite - a comparison of their structure

Are flying ants dangerous?

There are two species of flying ants. These are the pharaoh and carpenter ants.  Carpenter ants will cause damage to property by chewing through the wood.  A flying ant is not dangerous; even though it may bite, they are not poisonous.

How do we discover where carpenter ants with wings come from?

To find out where a carpenter ant colony is, you must track them to learn where they come from. There may also be an ant infestation nearby if you find a pile of dead ants inside the home. But, sometimes, you can find nests within the walls or beneath the structure of a house.  If this is the case, it should be easy to find and relocate these nests and deter a flying ants infestation to spread.

Swarmers or Queens?

Colonies of carpenter ants have winged ants called swarmers.  They will exit the nest shortly after mating in order to start a new colony.

People will see 100s or 1000s of these winged ants during their annual mating season from July to August, usually when the weather is humid and hot.  However, rarely will the queen be seen in this swarm of carpenter ants with wings.

The swarmer's size is ¾ of an inch long.  This is larger than the average carpenter ant. If you see carpenter ant swarmers, you can be certain there will be a colony of carpenter ants nearby.  These swarmers are often mistaken to be a termite.

Similar to other species, the queen carpenter ant is liable to lay eggs. The male-winged swarmers are alive solely to reproduce with the female swarmers.  The size of a queen is from 1 4 to 17 mm long. They can be yellow, dark brown, black, or red, depending on what species they are.

A colony of a carpenter ants with wings

What is a worker ant?

Although they are some of the smallest in the colony,  worker ants play a very important role within it. Worker ants are small in size, with a body measuring ¼ to ½ of an inch long.  There are many duties assigned to the worker ants. One of which is to ensure their queen has food, as well as defend the colony, nest, and larvae.

How does one identify them?

A carpenter ant is usually a very large black ant species. However, size isn’t the primary feature we use to identify one. This species is polymorphic, meaning a carpenter ant may be any size.

A close up of carpenter ant to identify them based on their body structure

There are three categories within this species of carpenter. The large soldiers are the main workers in a carpenter's ant nest. The smaller carpenter ants are called the media carpenter ants.  This category of medium-sized ant does the majority of food foraging and building of the colony. You may also see them foraging in and around your house.

How to get rid of a big black carpenter ant with wings?

If you have an ant problem or infestation of carpenter ants and swarmers, you will need to seek professional assistance on how to kill ants in yard. Once the bait is spread around the yard and inside your house, it could take 7 to 1 4 days to notice a decrease in pests.  The workers will bring the bait back to the rest of the colony.  Your first choice is to call A.N.T. Pest Control for an inspection of your home and property.  These professionals know the business of ant control as well as the places ants may actually hide.

These specialists have the following qualifications:

  • Professionals who are experienced and skilled in pest control
  • A licensed company
  • Understanding and having the knowledge needed about a carpenter ant and its habits

We can end those swarmers in the sky and workers on the ground.  Call us today for your ant extermination needs. We will start at the queen and end them all.

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1200 S Cedar Rd #2D/E
New Lenox, IL 60451

815.215.7211

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