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Western Carpenter Ant

western carpenter ant, major worker

western carpenter ant, major worker (Photo credit: Genista)

The Western Carpenter ant is a foraging ant that is commonly found west of the Mississippi River. They have a dull black body with reddish legs. One easy way to distinguish the Western Carpenter ant from other ant pests is that this ant has a circular ring of gold colored hairs on its abdomen. These ants cannot sting, but do inflict mild to moderate bites.

While Western Carpenter ants frequently eat fruit juices, plant honeydew, and dead insects; they also like to gorge themselves on human and pet foods. You’ll notice these ants in your home searching for sweets, grease, and food crumbs. Western Carpenter ants will enter homes through eaves, pluming and electrical lines, and tree branches; and through small cracks and crevices along your doors, windows and attic.

A colony of Western Carpenter ants can have as many as 100,000 worker ants, but a typical nest will house around 20,000. Nests are usually made in decaying wood, like that of damaged or dead trees, tree stumps, and rotting logs. One way to tell if you have a Western Carpenter ant nest around your property is that you’ll begin to notice sawdust piles near the decaying wood, accompanied by dead insect parts. When you find a Western Carpenter ant nest on your property, you should consult with an ant control professional.