Carpenter Ants

Camponotus spp.

Adult Carpenter

Adult carpenter ant; thorax evenly rounded (April Nobile,

Ant Damage

Carpenter ant damage (Edward H. Holsten, USDA Forest Service,

Ant Damage

Carpenter ant damage (Joseph O’ Brien, USDA Forest Service,


  • one node (bump between middle and rear body sections)
  • typically black or black with a reddish-brown body
  • ants of different sizes
  • evenly rounded thorax differentiates them from field ants
  • sawdust outside of nests/galleries

Nesting Habits

  • establish nests in wood, especially decaying wood
  • have a primary nest and separate satellite nests
  • satellite nests may occur indoors
  • foragers—they go out in search of nutrients but return to the outdoor nest


  • living and dead insects, meats, and sweets, such as jelly, honey and honeydew excreted by aphids and other insects
  • DO NOT eat wood but remove it to create galleries and tunnels


  • damage wood, infest food and may bite

IPM Recommendations

  • Have ants identified to determine damage potential.
  • Find nesting locations by following workers back to their nest, if possible. 
  • Destroy indoor and outdoor primary and satellite nests.
  • Remove and replace water-damaged or decaying wood.
  • Seal potential ant entryways.
  • Remove food and water sources in and around structures.
  • Use ant baits to help eliminate nests that are hard to find.

Additional Resources:

Carpenter Ants fact sheet

IPM for Ants: Integrated Pest Management in Sensitive Environments (University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension)