Carpenter Ants

There is a lot to know about Carpenter Ants. There are many species that we deal with. Carpenter Ants are of the Camponotus genera, so if you looking for images or specific information use the Latin name “Camponotus”.

On this page I will have different links to some interesting technical reading. The first is from Laurel Hanson Ph.D. This lady knows ants.  I have seen Laurel speak at conferences on a number of occasions very informative.


Parent Nest

There is a parent nest containing the Queen. This area is typically of high relative humidity. This is typically outside in a tree or landscaping material.

The Queen just lays eggs and as the colony gets bigger they need to expand the nest(house) they live in. Satellite nest(Storage areas)are formed at this point. Workers start moving out the eggs and larvae from their “main house” to the “storage areas”. This is when you will start to see ant trails.

Satellite Nests

Satellite nests(storage areas) can be anywhere and the relative humidity is not as important as in the Parent colony. When the temperature are correct ants moving around outside are looking for food. If you see ants carrying something they are going back to “storage” to feed the larvae, they will show you where it is with your patience.

If they are carrying something white(an egg or larvae, pupae)they have come from the Parent colony and are going to the satellite nest.

If you are experiencing many winged ants those are male and female reproductives, that means that the nest is inside and has been there for a minimum of two years. Males and females emerge from satellite nests.


We search for active trails. In the Niagara Region we are in plant hardiness zone 6a and 6b (You may view the Plant Hardiness Map here), this means we have lots of cold temperatures. Carpenter Ants sleep/hibernate in the winter here. If you have Carpenter Ants in February and March that means you have them in the structure. They are not coming from outside.Ant trails that we are looking for are outside. This will not happen until we have temperatures that are <17 deg C.

Trails may be under ground, under concrete slabs, cut through grass. They will utilize structural edges of house or landscape construction. They will also utilize electrical lines and tree branches that lead to the structure.

An interesting read on trails of Carpenter Ants by Grzegorz Buczkowski.

Ants Species Found in Ontario Canada

These are links that are intended for you to properly identify the Ant your dealing with. For knowledge only.

Black Carpenter Ant-Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Camponotus herculeanus

New York Carpenter Ant-Camponotus noveboracensis also New York Carpenter Ant-Camponotus noveboracensis

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus nearcticus

Camponotus castaneus

Camponotus caryae

Camponotus americanus