Chicago Pest Control Blog

Big black ants. AAAAHHHHH!!!!

Posted by Janelle Iaccino on Fri, Jun 01, 2012 @ 03:55 PM

I know you've seen these guys before in your lifetime...

big black ants

But are those big black ants the same as these ones below?

pavement ants

Ants may all look very similar at first glance, but there are specific nuances that distinguish a carpenter ant from the other hundreds of species out there. Why should we care more about the carpenter ant than, say, a pavement ant? Because they can eat your house if you let them.

Let's take a closer look!

carpenter ant resized 600

Characteristics of the Carpenter Ant
(Camponotus pennsylvanicaus)

  • Black to dark brown and sometimes dark red brown coloring
  • One node segment (little spike) between the thorax and abdomen
  • Tuft of hairs at end of abdomen (rear end)
  • No stinger
  • Visible mandibles
  • 12-segmented antennae
  • Wood-Destroyers
  • Leave sawdust-looking material (with dead ant body parts mixed in it) behind them when occupying wooden structures
  • Polymorphic workers

Polywhaaaaat??? Let's talk about that last bullet point. Shall we? Polymorphic means that within one species, workers can occur in multiple different sizes. What this means is that NOT ALL CARPENTER ANTS ARE BIG BLACK ANTS. It would probably be safe to say that not all big black ants are carpenter ants also. LOL.

This image demonstrates polymorphism.

polymorphism

This ant obviously has a large head. But did you notice the tiny little guy on the right antenna? Same type of ant! Totally different size! And look at the chompers on that thing! If that doesn't say "I'm gonna eat your house!" then I don't know what would be more obvious.

polymorphic carpenter ants

Carpenter ants come in many different sizes, but they're all after the same thing: decaying, moist wood and voids to build their colonies within. If you see one or two a day, they're looking for a new comfy spot to build a satellite colony. If you see piles of sawdust, they already have a colony established and have already begun chewing away at your house. Regardless, our ant exterminator experts have solutions! We can help!

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Topics: ant info & tips

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