Carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.) are large (0.3 to 1.0 in or 0.76 to 2.54 cm) ants indigenous to many forested parts of the world.
The carpenter ant species resides both outdoors and indoors in moist, decaying, or hollow wood. They cut “galleries” into the wood grain to provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest. They also commonly infest wooden buildings and structures and are a widespread nuisance and major cause of structural damage. They are most attracted to certain parts of a structure, such as around and under windows, roof eaves, decks, and porches, because these areas are most vulnerable to moisture.
Sometimes, carpenter ants hollow out sections of trees. One of the most familiar species associated with human habitation in the United States is the black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus). The genus includes over 1,000 species.
Carpenter ants are foragers that typically eat parts of other dead insects or substances derived from other insects. Common foods for them include insect parts, “honeydew” produced by aphids, or extrafloral nectar from plants. Carpenter ants can increase the life span of aphids when they tend them. They tend many aphid species but can also express a preference for specific ones. Interestingly, carpenter ants do not consume the wood, unlike termites.