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Carpenter Ant adult
(John Obermeyer, Purdue University)
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Common Name: Carpenter Ant - adult
See also: damage

Scientific Name: Formicidae: several species

Status: usually beneficial, occasionally a pest of homes and buildings

Damaging Stage: adult

Biology: Carpenter ants range in size from 1/4 to 3/4 inch, depending on whether the insect is a queen or a worker. Queens are large and black with some red, brown, or yellow spots occurring on parts of the body and legs. The smaller workers are brown and have a large head and a small thorax. Ant larvae are legless and grublike. They are approximately ¼ inch long and cream colored.

The queen establishes a nesting site in a wood cavity. Each stage of the life cycle (egg, larval, pupal) takes approximately three weeks to complete, but cool weather can lengthen these periods. The queen rears her first brood of workers, feeding them salivary secretions. The workers then take on the maintenance, rearing and foraging duties of the colony.