What is the difference between a regular ant and a carpenter ant?

Question: What is the difference between a regular ant and a carpenter ant?

Answer: Carpenter ants can be black, brown, red or a combination of these colors. They can be easily distinguished from most other pest ants by the carpenter ant’s “heart-shaped” head. They also are larger than most pest ants. Speaking of sizes, the workers are polymorphic, meaning they are in different sizes. Carpenter ant workers also have a smooth thorax. Carpenter ants can be found throughout the U.S. and are named for their ability to excavate nests in wood, creating smooth tunnels or galleries. In the U.S., few other ant species have this behavior.

Carpenter ant damage is sometimes confused with that of termites, which also damage wood. Unlike termites that eat wood, carpenter ants hollow out wood, leaving behind small piles of sawdust. Carpenter ants prefer to build nests within decaying, moist wood – sometimes creating multiple nests in a single area. They are commonly found in porch pillars, roofs, windowsills, dead trees and dead parts of living trees.

These ants can cause structural damage if they nest inside of a home in large numbers. In many states they are listed as WDIs or wood destroying insects. If you suspect you have a carpenter ant issue, contact your local Orkin Branch Office and request to have an inspection of your home and surrounding property performed by a highly trained inspector. The inspector, once completely assessing your issue, will develop a customized treatment plan that best fits your needs.

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