Carpenter Ant

 Introduction: The black carpenter ant, Camponotus pennsylvanicus (DeGreer), is a native species and the common species in the east. Camponotus modoc Wheeler is the common western species.  These ants get their common name from their habit of hollowing out galleries in pieces of wood for nesting purposes.

 

Recognition: Workers polymorphic, large (1/8-1/2” or 3.5-13 mm) but vary greatly in sizes; queens about ½-5/8” (13-17 mm) long. Color black, combinations of red and black, or completely red or brown.  Antenna 12-segmented, without a club. Thorax lacks spines, profile evenly rounded on upper side. Pedicel 1-segmented. Gaster with anal opening round, surrounded by circlet of hairs. Stinger absent, Workers capable of emitting a strong formic acid odor.

 

Habits: Most carpenter ant species establish their first nest in decayed wood and later expand or enlarge this into sound wood. Inside, nests are located in wood (preferably softened by fungus rot), in insulation, and /or in wall voids. Workers are a nuisance when out searching for food but are destructive to timbers utilized for nesting activities. Outside, nests are typically located in rotting fence posts, stumps, old firewood, dead portions of standing trees, and under stones or fallen logs.

 

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