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Carpenter Ant Queen: How to Identify

carpenter ant close up

Are you frustrated with a colony of carpenter ants? If you’ve nodded in a yes, then do not feel alone. Every year, many homeowners in some parts of the world are forced to encounter the damage caused by hundreds of carpenter ants. These ants are capable of excavating wood as they generally form a tunnel in order to build their nests. While carpenter ants mostly nest outdoors, they can be easily found frequently on the roofs and nearby woodwork.

You can find them around the common sources of moisture and in other areas which are more exposed to the weather. While carpenter ants don’t eat wood, but large colonies can be supremely destructive for a space. It can ultimately cause damage to the structure of your home. If you are curious to gather more information on the identity, appearance, and other related stuff regarding carpenter ants, then make sure that you continue reading the article till the end.

Do Carpenter Ants Have A Queen Like Other Types Of Ants?

Carpenter ants are fast-moving, and they typically stop only to share their food with others or to feed. Being most active at night, a mature carpenter ant colony may comprise as many as 10000 ants. However, just like other species of ants, carpenter ants also have a sophisticated rather categorized social structure and caste system. The head of the carpenter ant colony is called the queen.

You can easily call a carpenter ant queen the heart of the colony. Whether you have a colony in your home with several ants or a single queen, without this specific type of ant in the hierarchy, there is no way to perpetuate the species.

An ant queen is ideally well cared and protected as it is responsible for ensuring the future of the nest. A carpenter ant queen is responsible for laying eggs for the colony. In a way, it is her only job, and other ants help her accomplish it. The development of carpenter ants eggs to adult workers longs for around six to twelve weeks.

Once the first generation of the ant workers becomes able enough of hunting for food, they ideally take over all the responsibilities for the colony, except they lay eggs. Now that it is clear carpenter ants do have a queen, it becomes important for you to understand that how you can identify her.

What Does A Carpenter Ant Queen Look Like?

To begin with, it is vital for you to note that it can be extremely rare for you to encounter a carpenter ant queen. It is due to the job of the carpenter ant colony to protect the queen. That’s why she remains hidden in a wood nest mostly. Carpenter ant queens are ideally larger than others in the colony. Ant queens measure approximately around 13 to17 mm in length.

When it comes to color, carpenter ants can be yellow, dark brown, black, or red. However, the color and size can differ considerably between species and even between the ants who belong to the same colony. When it comes to the appearance of a queen ant, her body can be divided into a thorax, head, and abdomen or gaster.

The midsection or thorax of a carpenter ant queen is particularly bigger in size. The thorax accounts for around half of the ant queen’s size. The trunk of an ant queen is generally as wide as the head. On the other side, a smaller head specifies an ant worker rather than an ant queen. Moreover, the abdomen of the carpenter ant queen is usually quite big because her major responsibility is to lay eggs. Thus, if a carpenter ant seems larger in size than those around her, there is a good chance she is the ant queen. Generally, people have a common confusion regarding the appearance of carpenter ant queen. Let’s talk about it now.

Carpenter ant queen

Does A Carpenter Ant Queen Have Wings?

Carpenter queen ants have wings at some point in their lifespan. Ideally, a young queen who is ready to bread will grow wings. After spending the wintertime in her colony of origin, the ant queen will leave the wings for good somewhere around May. Also, once the mating is done with the winged male ant and establishing a nest, the carpenter ant queen may shed or lose her wings.

So, if a queen lacks wings, it does not necessarily mean that an ant cannot be the queen of the colony. In addition to that, once the carpenter ant queen loses her wings, she typically gets small protrusions or scars from her back, somewhere where her wings were. If you get to examine her from a close distance, you may see it. 

Where Can You Find A Carpenter Ant Queen In Your Home?

The carpenter ant queen generally prefers rotten wood or moist area to establish her colony. Thus, they typically enter the home through a tiny opening or big cracks. If you have a tree branch abutting your roof, you can most likely find the carpenter queen ant and her colony near that area. Additionally, carpenter ants nest under decks, around windows, porches, and in other areas that are typically exposed.
Carpenter ants feed on other insects, be it dead or living, along with the plant nectars. You can find them in your home near syrups, sugar, honeydew, salt, grease spills, meat, fruits, pet food, etc. Carpenter ants are also known as renowned excavators as they use their powerful jaws in order to loosen and remove the wood debris. So, if you see a damaged wooden area in your home, you can expect to see the carpenter ant queen with her colony.

Do Carpenter Ants Leave If You Kill The Queen?

As mentioned before, the prime function of the queen ant is to reproduce. But when the carpenter ant queen dies, her colony dies too. However, the death of the colony will not be immediate, but it will gradually die off. The reason behind the death of the colony is that no other carpenter ant in the colony is capable of laying eggs.

Thus, with the death of the queen ant, the colony can no longer grow. You may see the colony active in search of food and building their nest. But the living days of the colony go limited. It may take several weeks, months, or in some cases even years for a carpenter ant colony to die off completely, but it will happen at some point.

Contact Clegg’s Pest Control

With this, we’ve come to the end of the article. The information stated above will provide you a broad idea about the carpenter ant queen and her colony.

Here at Clegg’s Pest Control, we are experts when it comes to all types of pests. It is important to know your enemy if you are going to attack him efficiently. If you have noticed any carpenter ants in your home, contact Clegg’s Pest Control Today for help. Fill out the contact form below for a free inspection.

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