The way a black carpenter ant constructs its nest is how they come to have their moniker. They do this by the excavation of wood and continuous formation of tunnels within it. The ants carpenter as they tunnel their way inside wood as a way of making their nest; ants do not eat it.

Carpenter Ants

A colony of mature western black carpenter ants may have around 10-20,000 worker ants in it. Larger ones often have upwards of 50,000 ants or more.

Black Carpenter Ant

A colony typically consists of one queen and her workers. The size of the queen is larger than the workers.  She has a large thorax and is winged; while the workers have none.  The queen is black with the hairs on her abdomen being yellow. She measures in at around 1.2 centimeters in length (approximately a half-inch).

Interesting Species or Pests?

How the black carpenter ant is viewed is determined by where their home is.  Where this ant species nests yearly determines whether they are expensive pests or insects of interest.


Instinctively, the black carpenter ant will make its nest in the forest or dying pieces of wood.  Ants do not eat, they chew, through the wood. This process is the best way to get the tunnels and cavities which make up the carpenter ants' nest.

Creates Damage

This activity is beneficial in that it aids in wood decomposition and the breaking up of timber that is decaying. Yet, it also gives black carpenter ants the reputation as pests because of the damage they do to the support beams of a structure.  They make a rustling sound in the wall voids as it does wood damage to structures.

The Carpenter Ant

Camponotus is the scientific name that has been assigned to the black carpenter ant. These ants are large and indigenous. They keep their primary home in forested areas. Their nests are galleries created by their constant chewing.  Workers use their mandibles to chew damaged wood, they prefer the wood is wet or moist. Unlike other species,  black carpenter ants do not eat wood.  Although the material they discard is like sawdust.


There are several things one should be aware of in regards to the existence of a black carpenter ant infestation. Besides many ant workers, several slight cavities may appear on the surface of the wood.

The Galleries of an Ant Infestation

The areas of ant infestation may dislodge damaged wood that consists of sawdust shavings, dead insects, and insulation.  Excellent proof of an ant infestation is this debris as it accumulates under the openings.  Black carpenter ants make the inside wall of these galleries appear like they are sand-paper smooth. The ant carpenter to maintain operating galleries and keep the debris areas clean.


Their Wrath

Carpenter ants like to damage wood.  Black carpenter ants prefer wood with water or fungus damage. For this reason, you should investigate the areas of your home for moisture. This is the best way to find a  carpenter ant infestation.

Carpenter Ant Nests

Black carpenter ant nests found inside a building or structure belong to satellite colonies to an outdoor nest.  We must comprehend the management and organization of the black carpenter ant.  One might find a satellite nest within a structure's wall void or hollow space.

Is it a Nest or a Colony?

There is a difference between carpenter ant colonies and a carpenter ant nest.  Thousands of ants are in a colony.  This is often treated like a single creature dedicated to reproduction and care of its young.  Some of the colony does the building, while others collect food and defense.

The Development of the Ant Embryo

The colony of carpenter ants has a queen and many workers. Life for the black carpenter ant starts as an egg. This egg has many stages of development. As larvae, it depends on the workers to nourish and care for it. The workers behave as a parent does, ensuring the larva advances each stage of life.

Embryos grow to mature larvae then advance into pupae.  The adult is transformed and reorganized of its external and internal appearance.

What is Camponotus?

Camponotus or carpenter ants are big, indigenous insects, measuring 0.3 to 1.0 inches or 0.76 to 2.54 cm.  Carpenter ants are black or dark-brown, making areas that are green and moist their home.  They aid in forest decomposition due to wood excavation skills.


Farming Aphids

The food sustaining carpenter ants is mostly produced by aphids. The process of farming them involves carpenter ants protecting them.  The aphids emit a sweet fluid called “honeydew”.  Carpenter ants use their antennae to caress the aphids to get them to release this sweet fluid.

Know the Difference

Termites and black carpenter ants are similar. Both create a lot of damage to wood.  Equal in size to other ants in the category of carpenter ant.  Below are some differences in the physical appearance of these two:

  • The primary difference is body shape. A carpenter ants center is narrow; whereas, a termite has no distinct “waist”.
  • The antennae on carpenter ants are elbow-shaped and the termite's feelers are straight.
  • Both are winged; both have four wings. However, this characteristic is different between them. The termites eat wood and are fragile-- lost ones can be found near the entrance of their nest.  Large carpenter ant with wings are shorter in back, not disproportionate in size with its body.
  • The worker has a reddish to dark-brown or black color. Termites are almost transparent, a creamy, light color.

Getting Rid of Them

The queen and her workers initiate a colony of monogyne species. Besides the wood damage, these pests create there are many reasons to want to get rid of them.  The pest control professional must locate the parent colony to eliminate them.

Carpenter ant nests found around a building are satellite nests.  This nest is part of a parent nest located outside. The professional knows how to get rid of black carpenter ants invading a structure.

The pest control company you hire follows these steps to remove these pests from your home and property:

  • The pest control professional may need to do a complete investigation of your property before they get started
  • Exterminator’s use pesticides that are family-friendly to ensure the safest removal of these colonies
  • Follow-up maintenance will be scheduled to make sure a recurring infestation around your home and property doesn’t happen

To get rid of black carpenter ants in your home call Ant Pest Control for pest removal services.



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