Carpenter Ant

Carpenter Ant: Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name:Camponotus


Among the largest ants, from 1/4- to 3/8-inch long. The most common species is black, but some have reddish or yellowish coloration. Workers have large mandibles.


Resides both outdoors and indoors in moist, decaying or hollow wood. They cut "galleries" into the wood grain to provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest. Can leave "sawdust" behind that provides clues to nesting location.


Does not eat wood, but will feed on nearly anything people eat particularly sweets and meats. Will also feed on other insects.


Queen lays 15 to 20 eggs the first year and up to 30 eggs the second year. Eggs complete their life cycle in about 60 days. Worker ants can live up to seven years, while a queen may live up to 25 years.

Carpenter ants are large insects, ranging in size from 1/2-inch to one inch in length. They are most commonly black, but some carpenter ants exhibit both red and black coloration. They are common in many parts of the world.

Carpenter ants are active year-round and can be found both indoors and outside. It is also common for carpenter ants to have to have an outdoor nest, appearing indoors only to obtain water or food.

In nature, carpenter ants live in dead trees, rotting logs and tree stumps. They tend to build nests in deteriorating wood, but their colonies may extend to healthy wood, as well. In urban surroundings, carpenter ants will make their homes in telephone poles, house porch pillars and roofs, windowsills and wood that comes in contact with soil. Carpenter ants prefer to burrow into damp wood rather than dry wood.

Carpenter ants burrow to provide a nest for their colonies, and over a long period of time, their burrowing may compromise a structure. In controlling an infestation of carpenter ants, it is necessary to first find the nest. Once found, it can be removed or treated chemically. All moisture conditions that the ants found conducive must be corrected.

It is advisable to seek professional help in containing carpenter ant infestations, as incorrect procedures may allow the colony to "rebound" when surviving member resume their burrowing and foraging.