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Pest Library: Carpenter Ants

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Carpenter ants are one the most destructive insects in the northeast. They will infest wooden portions of your home, excavating galleries and tunnels under siding, in basement sills or other wooden areas of the home. They prefer damaged or rotted wood, but have been seen nesting in sound, dry wood as well. Carpenter ants range in size within the same colony from 1/4" to 3/4" in length. Carpenter ants have black, three-segmented bodies with one node between the thorax and abdomen.

The queen loses her wings after mating and selects a nest site where she raises the first brood of workers. These workers start caring for the immature ants and, due to better care, future ants grow larger. Workers do all the food gathering, excavating of a nest and caring for the young. Carpenter ants will eat a variety of food sources, but prefer sugar sources such as syrups or dew-producing insects such as aphids. It is interesting to note that wood has no nutritional value for an ant.

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