Color: Black, red, or a combination
Shape: Segmented; oval
Size: 1/3-3/4 inch long
Region: Found throughout the U.S., especially in the North
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 1/4 of an inch for a worker to up to 3/4 of an inch for a queen.
Carpenter ants typically attack wood that is or has been wet. They usually come into buildings through cracks around doors and windows, holes in a structure meant for wires, or through wet, damaged wood. They will also crawl along overhead wires, shrubs, or tree limbs that touch the building far above the ground. Carpenter ants build their nests in various wood sources including tree stumps, fence posts, firewood, or landscaping. A colony can have multiple nests inside structures as well as outdoors. Carpenter ants need a constant water source to survive.
Carpenter ants damage wood through their nest building. Over time, an infestation can cause serious structural damage to a property.