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Latin name: Camponotus pensylvanicus
The black carpenter ant is an insect that lives in colonies.
A variety is black and red.
Several hundred or several thousand individuals from a nest
belong to one of the following 3 castes: reproductive
queens and males), workers and soldiers.
Colonies can contain from 2 000 to 6 000 individuals
The males are winged and die after they fertilize a queen.
Their color varies from red to black.
They range from 9 to 10 mm.
All males have two pairs of wings.
The front wings are much longer than the hind wings.
The queens lose their wings after mating.
Their color varies from red to black.
The queen of a colony of carpenter ants has developed an oversize abdomen.
They are the largest individuals of the colony and can reach up to 18 mm.
The workers are sterile females and wingless. Their color varies
and they are 6 to 10mm.
They have well developed crushing mandibles.
Soldiers are sterile females, wingless.
Their size is slightly larger than that of the workers.
Their head and mandibles are larger.
The presence of large soldiers indicates a more mature colony that lived in the
same place for a long period of time. Usually 3 years and up.
The mating of carpenter ants is usually held in May.
Each young queen mates with only one male and copulation occurs in flight.
The queen’s abdomen contains a spermatheca. This small spherical receptacle
receives the sperm of the male during mating. The spermatheca produces
nutrients that keep seed alive for many years,
allowing the queen to lay thousands of eggs without new
contact with a male.
After the nuptial flight and mating, the fertilized queen cuts her wings by rubbing them
with its rear legs. She then seeks a suitable location for her colony.
This location can be a tree trunk, a large stump or a piece of wood.
Once in its new home, the queen lays her first eggs.
She takes care of the first brood herself feeding them from her own
reserves. The first adult workers are tiny. This first generation
of workers, and all subsequent generations, will take care of the nest:
maintenance, expansion of the shelter, feeding the occupants, etc.
The queen is the only female that lays eggs in the colony and devotes her life to
When a new queen founds a colony, it feeds the first larvae using
food eggs, which contain only nutrients. The Queen herself
sometimes needs to consume her own eggs to survive until the apparition
of the first workers. Later, in severe stress to the colony, the queen
may resort to cannibalism to survive.
A colony is called mature after three to six years, and it has 2000
workers or more. From that moment, the queen produces winged, fertile individuals (males and future queens)
at the end of each summer. These new breeding adults
will accumulate reserves and leave the nest during next spring.
Carpenter ants are omnivorous insects. In nature, they
feed on the honeydew produced by aphids and other Homoptera, insects and small
dead or living invertebrates, as well as juices of plants and various fruits.
The food is often consumed locally by ants responsible for
food supplies and then regurgitated to the queen, larvae and other workers when they
return to the nest. More rarely, food can also be carried and stored intact
in the nest. The workers travel up to a hundred meters of the nest in
their search for food.
When they enter our homes, the ants add to their menu a number of
sugared foods, meats, pet foods and fats.
They can eat almost anything that humans eat.
They grow mushrooms in rotten wood from a water damaged portion
of the house frame, caused for example by water leaks.
All homes are vulnerable to infestation and damage caused by these
To prevent this problem, houses have to be kept clean and in good condition.
Water leaks from the roof or pipes should be repaired quickly.
Avoid storing firewood inside.
Outside the house, remove any rotten wood lying close to the walls.
It is important, when there is an infestation, or to locate the nests, to observe the
behavior of ants. Follow their columns and you will find them.
Finally, treatment can be applied but should be administered
by specialists to ensure that all sources of infestation are treated.