Their name suggests that it is an ant that builds, and it does that very well. The actual places ant nests are built in can be quite a nuisance for humans. Carpenter ants are unlike termites as they do not eat wood. They prefer to live inside wood, not consume it.
They build colonies of up to 10,000 ants in dead trees, telephone poles, wood piles and sheds, under house insulation or inside the walls of houses. Infestations can cause a lot of damage and are best removed by a professional exterminator.
Black Carpenter Ants do bite, though they cannot sting. Another defensive maneuver they use is spraying formic acid at a possible threat. All members of the family Formicidae build up an internal store of formic acid and use it to ward off predators.
Black Carpenter Ants feed on plant juices, fungus, food scraps, and even other insects. Most food foraging is done under cover of night.
Worker ants cannot fly and live to solely to serve the one queen in a mature colony. Solitary scouts are sent to forage for food and return to the spot with more ants later. Males have wings and do fly as do potential queens. From late spring to the middle of summer, they form swarms as they are actively trying to breed. The queen ant produces eggs quickly and it takes little time for a small colony to grow into a massive one. A large colony will start expanding to smaller satellite colonies is space is limited.