Carpenter ants are either completely black, or red and black depending on the species and are polymorphic, meaning individuals of the colony vary in size (1/4” to 3/4”). They are one of the largest ant species encountered and in their natural habitat, they aid in the decomposition of dead, decaying trees.
Carpenter ants excavate galleries for nests in wood and they prefer wood that is moist or unsound, such as logs, stumps, hollow trees or other soft materials (such as foamed plastic insulation board). Around or in the home, this ant species prefers areas associated with wet or damp wood such as near water leaks or behind gutters. They do not use the wood for food, but their activities can weaken a structure, although not to the extent of termites. Also, carpenter ants are active foragers, often traveling great distances in search of food. Colonies established outdoors may even send the large, dark-colored worker ants inside structures to feed on a variety of items. Homes built in wooded areas are especially subject to carpenter ant infestations.
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