How To Tell the Difference Between Carpenter Ants and “Regular” Black Ants

By Horizon Pest Control

Any kind of ant infestation is a nuisance. However, if your home has trouble with carpenter ants, you could end up with property damage as well. While many ants can look extremely similar, it’s important to familiarize yourself with what carpenter ants look like—that way you can know what you’re dealing with and get ahead of substantial damage.

Because carpenter ants are dark, they’re often confused with little black ants, pavement ants, and odorous house ants. Below, we’ll provide you with some color and sizing details to help you distinguish between these ant species.

Carpenter Ants (Camponotus Ant Species)

Carpenter ants are the most important type of ant to watch out for of the four ants we’ll be discussing. When infesting a home, carpenter ants will build their nests by tunneling into posts, beams, and other wooden items used in landscaping and building construction. They’re most attracted to rotting or water-damaged wood.

  • Size: About 1/2 to 5/8 of an inch long
  • Color: Black, red, brown, or a combination of red and black

While many common house ants tend to be brown or black, a reddish body can be a giveaway that you’re dealing with carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are also about 4 to 8 times the size of the ants listed below.

Pavement Ants (Tetramorium caespitum)

Pavement ants can be similar in color to carpenter ants, but they’ll only be about half the size. As their name suggests, these ants will often make nests in pavement cracks, but they also frequently infest homes. They’ll consume just about any type of human food, as well as other insects, and they can contaminate the food in your pantry if they get inside the containers.

  • Size: About 1/8 of an inch long
  • Color: Dark brown, almost black

Odorous House Ants (Tapinoma sessile)

If you smash these ants under your thumb, you’ll smell the rancid odor that earned these ants their name. These ants have a bit more size variation than other species but are about 4 to 8 times smaller than carpenter ants. Odorous ants are attracted to warm, humid areas of a building and tend to occupy areas around leaks, water heaters, and hot water supply pipes.

  • Size: About 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch long
  • Color: Brown or black

Little Black Ants (Monomorium minimum)

These ants are the tiniest on our list, making them easily distinguishable from much larger carpenter ants. Little black ants are attracted to grease and meat as well as fruit and other sweet foods. In buildings, they tend to nest inside walls and woodwork.

  • Size: About 1/16 of an inch long
  • Color: Dark brown or black; black is most common

Ant Exterminators In New Jersey & New York

Do you need help with an ant infestation on your property? At Horizon Pest Control, we have more than 50 years of experience to help you out! Call us today at (201) 447-2530 to get one step closer to an ant-free home.

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