The insect group commonly known as Carpenter ants are household pests throughout the United States, and they belong to the Camponotus genus. Numerous carpenter ant pests have been documented in the country, and while a relatively small number of these ants inhabit the northeast, the most common carpenter ant pest species in the US, the black carpenter ant, is abundant in the region. According to a recent nationwide survey of pest control professionals, carpenter ants were the most commonly managed ant pests in US homes during 2016.

Not only is the black carpenter ant the most common pest of its kind, they are also the most economically significant. This is because, like most carpenter ants, black carpenter ant workers excavate long winding tunnels within structural wood and other finished wood sources within, and on the exterior of homes. Another common carpenter ant species found in the northeast, Camponotus nearcticus, frequently establishes nests within homes, particularly in wood located beneath shingles, but this species is mainly a nuisance pest.

Carpenter ants are notable for being one of the largest, if not the largest ants in the US, as workers from most species are between ¼ and ½ inch in length, or longer, which makes them easy to recognize within homes. C. nearcticus, on the other hand, is unique among carpenter ants for being relatively small, as workers of this species are normally around ⅕ inch in body length. Because of this, C. nearcticus, is aptly known as the “smaller carpenter ant.” Workers of this species are brown to black in color, and the heads of some specimens are reddish-brown. Much like the lack carpenter ant, smaller carpenter ants are known to nest within wall voids, and occasionally within structural wood in wall voids. Unlike the black carpenter ant, smaller carpenter ants live in small colonies containing around 300 individuals, and they are often found infesting wood on roofs and sometimes wood in attics.

Have you ever found insects infesting your attic?