|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Carpenter ants comprise several species of ants who excavate galleries in wood in which to lay eggs and raise their young. Depending on the specie, carpenter ants range in size from about 3/8 of an inch to slightly more than an inch in length. Most species are predominantly black in color. The ant in the picture on the right is a Pennsylvania Carpenter Ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) carrying a piece of insecticidal bait back to her colony.|
Like ants in general, carpenter ants are social insects with a well-defined caste system:
The queen is the center of a colony, and her primary job is to produce eggs. Queen ants also secrete pheromones that regulate the behavior (and possibly even the biology) of the other members of the colony.
The great majority of members of a carpenter ant colony are workers, whose duties include gathering food, escavating galleries, feeding and tending the reproductives and the young, and defending the colony. The workers are genetic females, although they are wingless and do not reproduce.
Mature colonies also produce winged reproductives, who leave the colony at the appointed time to mate. The males die shortly after the mating flight, and the fertilized females remove their wings and set about looking for a suitable place to build a nest. In nature, this would normally be a tree or tree stump.
In nature, carpenter ants nest outside in large pieces of wood such as trees and hollow logs. They can also nest in wooden fence posts, firewood, utility poles, and PVC pipes.
In buildings, they tend to prefer void areas with a rather high humidity level, such as soffits, wall voids (especially in kitchens and bathrooms), sill plates in basements or crawl spaces, and the spaces around window and door frames.
Carpenter ants prefer infesting wood that has already been moisture damaged. It is unusual for carpenter ants to infest dry, intact wood.
Carpenter ants will eat almost anything, but their natural diet consists primarily of dead insects, as well as a sugary liquid called honeydew that is secreted by aphids. (In fact, carpenter ants often tend and protect aphids for the purpose of harvesting ther honeydew.)
I cropped, resized, adjusted brightness and contrast, sharpened slightly, then framed it. I put it through Neat Image to remove some noise from the BG.
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