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How Common Are Carpenter Ant Pests Relative To Other Ant House Pests In Arizona, And How Can The Most Common Carpenter Ant Pests In The State Be Recognized?

Numerous carpenter ant species can be found throughout the United States including well over a dozen species that are known pests of households. Carpenter ants belong to the Camponotus genus, and nearly all species are notable for establishing nests within decayed natural wood sources, and occasionally, sound wood sources, such as trees, stumps, logs, tree hollows and fallen branches. Unfortunately, many of the carpenter ant species that are known pests frequently establish nests within structural wood and other finished wood sources.

Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not consume wood; instead, they excavate long tunnels within wood solely for nesting. Much like termites, carpenter ants weaken structural wood components, and they generally nest within moist and decayed wood, but workers often nest within sound structural wood as well. The two most common carpenter ant pests in Arizona are Camponotus modoc, and  C. hyatti, the first of which is commonly known as the “black western carpenter ant,” and the latter has not been given a common name.

A recent nationwide survey of pest control professionals found carpenter ants to be the most commonly managed ant pests within homes. The most destructive carpenter ant species in the US, the black carpenter ant, cannot be found in Arizona, but the western black carpenter ant is abundant in Arizona, and it’s considered the second most common and damaging carpenter ant species in the country. Luckily for Arizona residents, there exists a relatively small number of carpenter ant pest species in the state, and harvester ants, southern fire ants, pyramid ants, leaf cutting ants, longhorn crazy ants and odorous house ants are found in Arizona homes more often than carpenter ants.

Carpenter ants are one of the largest bodied ant species in the US, as workers from both the western black carpenter ant and C. hyatti species are around ¼ to ½ of an inch in length. The western black carpenter species ant is by far the most common carpenter ant pest in Arizona, and workers of this species can be recognized by their black bodies and reddish legs. C. hyatti is not considered a major structural pest, and workers of this species can be recognized for their shiny black, and occasionally, reddish-brown body color.

Have you ever found unusually large ants in your home?

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