the importance of checking tree around your home during a carpenter ant infestation

What is The Difference between Carpenter Ants and Black Ants

While ants in your home are unsightly, some species such as the carpenter ant pose a structural threat to your house. Many homeowners confuse carpenter ants with common black ants although there are many discernable differences between the two. Identifying the specific kind of ant you are dealing with is the first step towards effective pest control Toronto.

Difference Between Carpenter Ants and Black Ants

Identifying Carpenter Ant vs Black Ant

The black ant is just that; black while the carpenter ant can vary in colour between black, red, maroon, brown or some combination of these colours.

The carpenter ant is also significantly larger than the common black ant. The former is roughly 3 times larger. For perspective, the queen in a common black ant colony measures at about 10 mm while a typical carpenter ant worker easily reaches 12 mm. Generally speaking, the queen is the largest ant in the colony and a worker the smallest.

The carpenter ant also has a heart-shaped head which is a distinctive feature on this species of ant. The head has elbowed antennas and large jaws.

Furthermore, the carpenter ant workers have rounded thorax while the common black ant thorax is unevenly shaped. The petiole, which is the part that joins the abdomen and thorax, has a single segment on the carpenter ant while the common black ant may have two.

Reproductive carpenter ants have two sets of wings where the back wings are shorter than the front ones. This is often not the case with black ants. Carpenter ants do not have stingers.

Finally, one major clue on whether you are dealing with carpenter ants or black ants is the habitat. Black ants do not create nests indoors and simply come into the house to forage for food. If you see a procession of ants going in and out of your home, you are most probably dealing with common black ants. Carpenter ants, on the other hand, are notorious for creating nests indoors especially in wood. If you are sure you have a colony of ants nesting in the house, there is a high probability that it is the carpenter variety.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

The best option for getting rid of carpenter ants in Toronto is to hire a professional ant exterminator. These ants are resistant to most over-the-counter chemicals.

More importantly, carpenter ants are a huge nuisance for their habit of ‘Budding’ or ‘Satelliting’. Carpenter ants can have multiple queens in a colony while black ants only have one in a single colony. Budding happens when a queen leaves the nest with a few workers and eggs to form a separate colony. This splitting may happen when a colony is disturbed such as by unsuccessful extermination. A failed DIY attempt will simply make your ant problem worse since you are now dealing with multiple colonies.