Carpenter Ants

Learn about Utah Carpenter Ants

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The worker carpenter ant ranges in length from 1/8 – 1/2 inch, with the queens being slightly larger. Carpenter ants are most commonly black, although some species are red, red, black, or even brownish.
Carpenter Ant


Carpenter ants are social insects and prefer nesting in wood. They commonly hollow out galleries or tunnels in trees, structures, wood, and foam insulation. Carpenter ants typically seek wood with moisture, decay, or that other insects have softened. Carpenter ants are active year-round and can be found both indoors and outside.
Carpenter ants have main colonies and sub (satellite) colonies. The main colony takes about five years to mature. Once mature, the large colony needs help, so it sends out swarmers (winged ants) that locate a new nesting spot in the vicinity where the sub-colonies can thrive. Once a site is found, they shed their wings and start a new colony. Parent colonies have a single queen, brood, and about 2,000 workers, while satellite colonies have no egg-laying queens, larvae, or eggs but contain thousands of workers.

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A Carpenter ant’s diet will vary depending on where it lives. Carpenter Ants that invade a home primarily feed on protein and sugars. Outdoors, Carpenter Ants eat both living and dead insects and honeydew.

Life Cycle & Reproduction

The typical life cycle of a Carpenter Ant is estimated to be 6-12 weeks from egg to adult. A mature Carpenter Ant colony will take 3 to 6 years to develop fully. Carpenter ants have a very simple society with two castes: the majors, who act as soldiers for the colony to guard and protect the territory. And the minor (workers) who forage for food and other resources for the colony and take care of the young. The only role of the queen is to lay eggs.
Once the colony begins to mature, the queen, after about 2 to 3 years, begins to produce winged males or females. These winged Carpenter Ants exit their home base to establish new ant colonies elsewhere.

Carpenter Ant Damage

Carpenter Ants do not eat wood, but they damage it by chewing and tunneling through it to create nesting cavities. Carpenter Ants can damage a structure and weaken support beams over time – the same as termite damage. Click here to learn more about Ant Removal.
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