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Carpenter Ant (Camponotus spp.)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Carpenter Ant.


 Updated: 2/14/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org



  Carpenter Ant  
Picture of Carpenter-Ant
Picture of Carpenter-Ant Picture of Carpenter-AntPicture of Carpenter-AntPicture of Carpenter-Ant


Social and experienced in wood-working, Carpenter Ants may vary in color by region, but they are all mammoths in the Ant family.





Carpenter Ants are the largest ants on the continent. Some species are black, others are reddish brown. Short hairs form rings around their abdomen and clusters on the head and thorax. Their huge jaws are adept at shaving timber, eating other insects, and drinking plant juices. They are not poisonous and do not have stingers, but the bite of a Carpenter Ant can still hurt thanks to its large mouth parts. Carpenter Ants are also able to spray formic acid from the tip of the abdomen, which may irritate skin and eyes. The acid is a defensive chemical used to deter predators from eating them.

Carpenter Ants tunnel through dead or decaying wood to build colonies. They do not eat wood, they just live in it. Because wood is used to build almost every building, occasionally the ants move into homes, offices and other buildings. Construction of an ant colony begins with boring through weak wood, but they can also chew through healthy, living tree roots if more space is needed. A colony has one queen, many workers, and some scouts. In order to prevent re-population of a colony in buildings, the egg-laying queen needs to be killed, not just the workers. Professional exterminators are helpful in eliminating ant presence in human dwellings.

The diet of this ant is varied. It eats other insects, plant juices, and the liquid 'honeydew' secreted from the bottoms of aphids. (Ants shepherd aphids on plants in order to collect this sweet serum.) In hot summer months, Carpenter Ants are more active at night. An old, established colony will eventually produce long-winged males and queens called alates. The winged ants fly out of the colony to mate, creating new or satellite colonies. Swarms of alates are usually seen in the spring. This is the only time ants will develop wings and they only do it for this purpose.
Basic Information
Common Name: Carpenter Ant
Scientific Name: Camponotus spp.
Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar


General Identification
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 13mm (0.23in to 0.51in)
Colorwheel Graphic
Identifying Colors: red, black, brown
Additional Descriptors: large, jaws, mouth, big, fast




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Genus: Camponotus
Species: spp.


Ant, Bee and Wasp Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of both a bee and an ant insect
1
Antennae: Ants and Bees both have a pair of antennae on the head that senses their surroundings.
2
Head: The head contains the insect's compound eyes, antennae, and mandibles.
3
Thorax: Contains various vital parts such as the aorta and nervous system.
4
Abdomen: Contains various organs including the heart, gut, venom glands, and anus.
5
Legs: Ants and Bees have three pairs of legs attached to the thorax (center-body section).
NOTE: Ants, Bees and Wasps are part of the Hymenoptera order because they share many similarities.


Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed below as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections below indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico


Territorial Area Map (Visual Reference Guide)
The map below showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Carpenter Ant may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Images Gallery for the Carpenter Ant
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