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carpenter antsCARPENTER ANTS
Camponotus species

Most common in the Northern half of the country, carpenter ants get their name because they excavate wood in order to build their nests. Their excavation results in smooth tunnels inside the wood. Carpenter ants range in size from one-quarter inch for a worker ant to up to three-quarters inch for a queen.

With each succeeding brood, workers increase in body size, as foraging workers take over the task of feeding larvae from the queens. Workers from a queen's first brood may only be about 1/4" long, but later broods may grow as large are 3/4" long. As such, the presence of very small or very large workers can indicate how long a colony has been established, and thus how many hundreds or thousands may be found.

A common sign indicating the location of carpenter ant nests are small piles of fine wood dust very similar to "sawdust" where workers have excavated their galleries.

All species mainly attack wood that is or has been wet and damaged by mold. Even though these ants first invade wet, decayed wood, they may soon begin building paths through dry, undamaged wood. They usually come into buildings through cracks around doors, windows, or through holes for wires. They will also crawl along overhead wires, shrubs, or tree limbs that touch the building far above the ground. Carpenter ants build their nests outdoors in various wood sources, including tree stumps, firewood or landscaping. They need a constant water source to survive. They will enter homes through wet, damaged wood.

A colony may produce 200-to-400 winged ants during a summer. These hibernate during the Winter, then leave the nest the following Spring or Summer.

Workers can live up to seven years, and queens can live up to 25 years. The long life cycle, huge numbers, and well hidden nests can make these ants difficult to eradicate, requiring ongoing vigilance to avoid attraction, as well as control when found. Because of the extensive damage they cause, they can pose a structural hazard to any building they invade.

pavement antsPAVEMENT ANTS
Tetramorium caespitum

Pavement ants get their name because they make their nests in or under cracks in pavement. They can infest structures.

These ants will eat almost anything, including insects, seeds, honeydew, honey, bread, meats, nuts and cheese. These ants live in or under pavement cracks.

These ants do not pose a public health risk, but they can contaminate food and should be avoided.



This page is intended as a quick reference. Pest experts should be contacted for case-by-case evaluation if you believe that you have a pest problem that requires professional assistance.

Some information found in this overview has been compiled from household pest information sheets published by the Ohio State University Extension Office: HYG-2099-97, and by the Penn State University Extension Office. This information is included on this web site strictly to help in the identification of various pests, and no profit is directly derived there from.

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