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G & G Pest Control

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Wakefield, MA

Serving Metro-Boston and parts of the North Shore Area

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carpenter ant small CARPENTER ANT
Camponotus spp.
(larger picture)
Description: The black carpenter ant, Camponotus pennsylvanicus, in the east and C. modoc in the west are the most thoroughly studied species in the United States. Other species of Camponotus are distributed throughout the country. Carpenter ants are among the largest ants found in the United States, ranging from 1/8- to 1/2-inch long, the queens are slightly bigger. The workers of an established colony vary in size. They are commonly black; however, some species are red and block, solid red, or brown in color. They have one node in the petiole and a circle of tiny hairs on the tip of the abdomen. Their thorax is evenly rounded when seen from the side.

Habits: Carpenter ants are social insects that usually nest in wood. They commonly excavate galleries or tunnels in rotting or sound trees and, in structures, readily infest wood, foam insulation, and cavities. They prefer to excavate wood damaged by fungus and are often found in conjunction with moisture problems.
   The workers excavate the nest, forage for food, and care for the young. Carpenter ants feed on sugar solutions from honey dew-producing insects such as aphids, sweets, and the juices of insects they capture. They do not eat the wood as they excavate their nests. They actively feed at night well after sunset continuing through the early morning hours. Foraging trails may extend up to 300 feet and, upon close inspection, can be seen on the ground as narrow worn paths.
   Carpenter ants enter structures through gaps or cracks while foraging for food. However, the appearance of large numbers of winged adults inside a structure indicates that the nest(s) exists indoors. The workers push wood shavings and pieces of foam insulation out of the nest through slit-like openings in the surface of the wood or other nesting site material. This material, which may contain fragments of other insects, and structural moisture problems are things to look for when trying to locate a colony in an infested structure. Rustling sounds in wall voids are another indication that there is a colony in the area.