Black Carpenter Ant
Identification: A black ant, with one brown horn (pedicle) between the thorax and abdomen. Antenna has no club; the base (scape) is thicker at tip. First segment of antennae is longer than the head. The lower abdomen has long, silvery-white hairs. Major workers have large heads and are usually over 10 mm long. Sometimes the horn and top of the legs can be slightly reddish. Queens and males are black with reddish wings. Males have small heads.
Size: 6 to 13 mm. Major worker 12 to 14 mm. Queen 14 to 18 mm.
Flight Time: Mating flights occur from April to June.
Habitat: Any dead or rotting wood including logs, trees and houses.
Food: Favours sweets, such as decaying fruit, insects, treehopper and aphid honeydew.
Life Cycle: Nests are excavated in dead wood. Newly mated queens start colonies on their own, and feed their young for almost 2 months before they are ready to take over feeding the larvae. It will be many years before the colony produces winged ants capable of mating. Adult males and females over-winter in nest before their late spring flight. As the colony grows, intermediate and major sized worker appear. Usually 3 to 6 years before winged males and females appear.
Comments: Essex County – Ojibway Prairies.
Parasite: An alternate host for the Round Fungus Beetle Nemadus parasites.
Synonyms: De Geer 1773
Formica pennsylvanica, Camponotus herculeanus pennsylvanicus, Camponotus herculaneus var. mahican.
Type specimens are from Pennsylvania, but no type specimens housed in Canadian or U.S. institutions.