Carpenter ants are social insects that live in colonies, mostly in wood. They hollow out wood to build their nest, making their galleries and chambers velvety-smooth as if a carpenter had been sanding the surface. It is this behavior that give them their “pest” status.
Carpenter ants are among the largest in the US. Adults may vary in length from about 1/4 inch to 9/16 inch long. As adults they are identified by having 6 legs, 3 distinct body regions, and prominent elbowed antennae. They may be a solid dull black or yellowish-red to a combination of black and a dull red or reddish-orange. Carpenter ants have only one segment or node between their thorax and abdomen, and an evenly rounded thorax when viewed from the side. Winged carpenter ants resemble winged termites, in Texas, and it is not uncommon for both of these wood-destroying insects to swarm at about the same time.