Carpenter Ants (Camponotus spp.) are large ants that are mainly found in forests and woodland arenas across the world. They are mostly larger in size than common house ants measuring 0.3 to 1.0 inches or 0.76 to 2.54 cm.
There are more than a thousand species of Carpenter Ants and their characteristics and features vary significantly depending upon these varied species. They are extremely social creatures and prefer to stay in colonies.
Belonging to the family Formicidae, Carpenter Ants build their nests inside moist wooden logs but they don’t feed on wood. Their capability of excavating wood helps greatly in forest decomposition.
Carpenter Ants are also known to farm aphids and protect them. There are numerous interesting facts about Carpenter Ants which are worth knowing and acknowledging.
Let’s explore and learn these extremely fascinating and distinctive facts relating to the characteristic features and behaviors of Carpenter Ants!
21 Interesting Facts about Carpenter Ants
This article intends to present some of the most important and interesting facts concerning Carpenter Ants and their lifespan, feeding habits, attractions, chief characteristic features and differences with other ants.
1. What Do Carpenter Ants Eat?
The primary food supplements of Carpenter Ants include sources of protein and sugar such as insects and honeydew or sweets.
The dietary preferences of Carpenter Ants in the woods predominantly consist of honeydew secreted by aphids and scale insects, plant and fruit juices, insects and other arthropods. Indoors, they usually feed upon sweets and other sugary items, eggs, meat, cakes and grease.
People are seldom mistaken about Carpenter Ants eating wood. It should be noted that these large ants chew wood in order to make their nests but they don’t feed on wood at all.
2. What Attracts Carpenter Ants?
Carpenter Ants are primarily attracted towards areas with wet and/or moist woods and arenas with an adequate supply of water and food sources.
Carpenter Ants generally love wet and moist woods since this makes it easier for them to make their nests and therefore they are automatically attracted towards them.
The same goes for areas with adequate water and food sources. Carpenter Ants feed upon food supplements predominantly including protein and sugar.
Thus, arenas with sugary food and adequate insects attract Carpenter Ants since they genuinely get attracted towards an area where they are sure of continued food supply which has the capability of accommodating large colonies of theirs.
3. How Do You Know If You Have Carpenter Ants?
To know whether you have Carpenter Ants or not, first and foremost you have to look for signs of their penetration and nesting. Some other signs can also equally be observed.
Look for large black or red and black colored ants in your house. Find wood shavings or sawdust beneath wooden areas such as window sills, door jams, etc. You can also look for long ant trails or ant paths through your backyard and lawn.
Last but not the least, search for Carpenter Ants damage that looks like small holes in the wooden surfaces. If you can find these attributes in your home, you surely have Carpenter Ants that you don’t know of.
4. What Eats Carpenter Ants?
Carpenter Ants are in fact one of the most preferred food items of crow-sized, Red-topped Pileated Woodpeckers. There are numerous Birds, animals and larger insects that prey and feed upon Carpenter Ants.
Also, if these Carpenter Ants fall into water bodies, they are even eaten by a variety of Fishes that are present in the water. Therefore, Carpenter Ants are known to be preyed upon by a wide range of predators including all sorts of creatures, i.e., Birds, Fish, Animals, and Insects.
5. How Long Do Carpenter Ants Live?
Carpenter Ant Queens are known to live for about 7 to 10 years and sometimes up to 20 years depending upon the environmental conditions, whereas the Worker Carpenter Ants live for up to a year and dies a couple of weeks after mating.
Thus, the average lifespan of female Carpenter Ants is about 7 to 10 years and male Carpenter Ants are about one year since they die just after mating.
6. How Serious Are Carpenter Ants?
Carpenter Ants are not that dangerous since they don’t bite humans. Therefore, they are not typically thought to be a serious problem.
However, the main concern about Carpenter Ants is they are capable of damaging the wooden surface structures.
Prolonged and huge infestations incurred by Carpenter Ants can therefore become threatening and highly dangerous in another way.
7. Where Do Carpenter Ants Go in The Winters?
Carpenter Ants are cold-blooded creatures just like any other ant species; therefore they spend the winters primarily in dormancy.
Carpenter Ants survive the winters by penetrating deep inside their nests and holes, waiting for the warmer seasons to arrive at the earliest.
They don’t vanish during the Winters, rather go dormant deep inside their holes and come out when spring and summer arrive.
8. Why Do Some Carpenter Ants Have Wings?
Some Carpenter Ants have wings in order to be able to fly away from their existing colony, mate and produce offspring so that they can start their own colonies.
Not all the Carpenter Ants are capable of flying or have wings. The ones that do have wings are often called Carpenter Ant Swarmers and are mainly responsible for the expansion of their colonies into new areas.
After a colony has matured for about 2 years, the queen Carpenter Ant of the colony gives birth to these winged swarmers so that they can fly away from the existing colony and create their colonies in some other areas.
9. When are Carpenter Ants Most Active?
Carpenter Ants are most active during the springtime. The spring months of March and April usually witness the heightened activities of Carpenter Ants.
Carpenter Ants are expected to stay active all through the spring and summer months, from March to September. Although some worker Carpenter Ants are also active during the daytime, they are predominantly active during the night time of the day.
During the time periods when temperatures are quite high and food supplements of Carpenter Ants are plentiful, they are highly active.
10. How Many Carpenter Ants Are in A Colony?
A mature Carpenter Ant Colony generally consists of around 10,000-20,000 adult ants on an average.
Carpenter Ants are extremely social creatures and prefer to stay in colonies that comprise over 10,000 of their species.
Some species are also known to contain over 50,000 ants in a single Colony. Generally, each Carpenter Ant Colony has only one wingless functional queen.
11. Where Do Carpenter Ants Live in A House?
Carpenter Ants prefer to live and build their nests in or around moist wood or structures that are already damaged and ruined by other insects.
Therefore, they are mainly found in decaying wooden surfaces in a house such as in areas like windows, chimneys, sinks, door frames, bath traps, and hollow spaces like voids inside walls. Usually, they set up their base near water sources and on moist surfaces.
12. Why Do Carpenter Ants Vibrate Their Body?
Carpenter Ants are known to vibrate their body in order to communicate with each other.
These Ants can communicate through substrate vibration and seldom spread an alarm signal by drumming their heads against the ground.
They are also known to do simple vibration-type dance signals to nestmates towards food or other supplements.
Along with their exceptional sense of smell and taste, they utilize their vibrational patterns to trace food items and communicate with each other.
13. What Does the Temperature Have to be Outside for Carpenter Ants to Begin to Appear?
The outside temperature has to be a minimum of 50 degrees Fahrenheit for Carpenter Ants to begin to appear.
Carpenter Ants are most likely to go dormant in cold seasons like any other pests and are mainly active when the weather and temperatures are quite warm and favorable to them.
They reach their peak productivity when the temperature is between 75 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Carpenter Ants generally maintain their colonies and forage for food at these temperatures.
14. What is the Difference Between Fire Ants and Carpenter Ants?
Although it may seem pretty difficult to point out the differences between different species of Ants, there are some apparent distinctions amongst these ant species that can easily spot their differences.
Fire Ants and Carpenter Ants can be distinguished on the basis of their coloration, appearances, sizes, nesting habits, and behavior.
Fire Ants are mainly red to brown in color but Carpenter Ants are predominantly black, brown or a hybrid of orange and black.
Fire Ants are known for their aggressive behaviors and their stings are more intense than that of Carpenter Ants.
Fire Ants nest in mounds present on the ground but Carpenter Ants build their nests in moist and hollow spaces.
15. What is the Difference Between House Ants and Carpenter Ants?
Both House Ants and Carpenter Ants look similar to each other. However, few distinctive features in their appearance and behaviors help us to differentiate between the two ant species.
Carpenter Ants are generally larger in size than that of the House Ants. Even though they look similar, there are some differences in their appearances that distinguish them from each other, for instance, the difference in their thorax.
16. What is the Difference Between Carpenter Ants and Termites?
Their common attraction towards wood makes it harder for people to differentiate between the two. However, they differ significantly from each other in many aspects.
They can be differentiated on the basis of their body shapes, antennas, wings, and diet. While Carpenter Ants have narrow waists, Termites have broad waists.
Termite antennas are straight, but on the other hand, the antennas of Carpenter Ants are elbowed. The wings of Termites are uniform while that of Carpenter Ants consists of two large forewings and two smaller hindwings.
By far the main difference between the two is that while Termites stay and feed on wood, Carpenter Ants are simply attracted towards wood because of their tendency to build nests in moist wood and thus they don’t feed on wood.
17. What is the Difference Between Worker Ants and Carpenter Ants?
Worker Ants are distinctive in many ways and differ considerably within their species by varying in size and appearance.
An ant colony consists of thousands of worker ants that are primarily responsible for the well-being and harmonious operation of the colony.
They search for and procure food supplements for the entire colony. Every colony generally has a single queen who is responsible for laying eggs and the expansion of the colonies. While worker ants are mainly wingless, queens are winged.
18. What is the Difference Between Moisture Ants and Carpenter Ants?
Moisture Ants or “Yellow Ants” are often confused with Carpenter Ants by many people since both of them are known to destroy wood.
However, there are considerable differences between the two ant species. Moisture Ants and Carpenter Ants can be distinguished on the basis of color, appearances and behaviors.
Unlike Carpenter Ants, Moisture Ants are not able to excavate dry hardwood. Also, Moisture Ants are yellow to reddish-brown in color while Carpenter Ants are mainly black or brown in color.
19. How to tell the Difference Between Regular Ants and Carpenter Ants?
Carpenter Ants are generally much larger than Regular Ants and the body shapes of both these ant species are also different.
Regular Ants have a more circular head than that of the Carpenter Ants. Also, the thorax of Carpenter Ants is more symmetrical than the thorax of Regular Ants.
There are considerable differences in their behaviors too. While Carpenter Ants are known to build nests inside houses and their main attraction is wood, Regular Ants are more attracted towards food items since they don’t consume wood nor do they build their nests indoors.
20. What is the Difference Between Black Ants and Carpenter Ants?
It may be problematic to identify the differences between Black Ants and Carpenter Ants at a glance, but there are a few distinctive features of these ant species that can easily help people to distinguish between them.
Carpenter Ants are usually larger in size than Black Ants. Also, there are several differences in their body shapes, such as differences in head shapes and thorax.
However, the main difference between Black Ants and Carpenter Ants is that Carpenter Ants make their nests indoors and are attracted towards and destroy wooden structures, whereas Black Ants are mainly attracted towards food supplements present in houses and do not make nests indoors.
Carpenter Ants are generally red-brown in color while Black Ants are predominantly black in color. Thus, the body shape, size, color, and defining characteristic behaviors are the main differences between the two.
21. What is the Difference Between Wood Ants and Carpenter Ants?
The common name “Wood Ants” is mainly referred to as a group of ant species that either constructs their nests in forested arenas or are attracted towards wood and destroy wooden structures.
These characteristics make them quite similar to that of Carpenter Ants that also show somewhat the same tendency.
However, their sizes, body shapes, appearances, and characteristic behaviors point out the main differences between Wood Ants and Carpenter Ants.
This article intended to provide some of the interesting facts about Carpenter Ants, relating to their eating habits, attractions, lifespan, characteristic features, distinctive peculiarities, and their differences with that of Fire Ants, House Ants, Termites, Worker Ants, Moisture Ants, Regular Ants, Black Ants, and Wood Ants.
This discussion clearly shows that Carpenter Ants are one of their own kind with their own unique peculiarities and therefore they deserve our worthy appreciation.