Bug of Week 6: Carpenter Ant

This week we're learning about the Carpenter Ant. Carpenter Ants are one of the largest types of ants, measuring up to 1/2 inch. One of over 1000 types of ants, Carpenter Ants get their name because they build their homes by making intricate tunnels in wood, making them both an important decomposer and a household pest.  

Please be gentle and respectful to all animals and insects.


HABITAT (WHERE THEY LIVE): Carpenter Ants make their homes near water in damp or moldy wood such as tree stumps and logs. They can also enter homes through a damp or damaged spot in the wood.

NUTRITION (WHAT THEY EAT): Unlike a termite, Carpenter Ants don't eat wood as they carve tunnels through old rotting logs, but deposit it outside the nest. Their diet includes other bugs, plant nectar, meats, fats, and sugary foods.

PREDATORS (WHO EATS THEM): Carpenter Ants don't have any natural predators- unless you count the exterminator! 

LIFE CYCLE: Carpenter Ants go through four stages during their metamorphosis from egg to adult. Winged "swarmer" ants emerge from the nest to mate in the spring, after which the males die and females establish new colonies. A female queen will lay up to 20 eggs, which turn into larva and resemble legless grubs. After three weeks, the larvae pupate and emerge from their cocoons as adult worker ants. The workers hunt for food, expand the nest, and care for the young. A colony of ants can quickly grow to include over 2000 workers!