If you see ants in your home, you know how much of a nuisance they can be. Ants can get into your food and linger on all the water sources in your home. Even worse than being annoying, ants can also cause immense damage if you don't get rid of them as soon as possible.

The first step to getting rid of ants is identifying what type they are- carpenter ants or black ants. So what's the difference between the two?

What Are Black Ants?

Even though there are different species of black ants, there are two common ants you will find in most homes; the little black ant (Monomorium Minimum) and the odorous house ant (Tapinoma Sessile). The house ant has a distinct rotting coconut smell.

Black ants are the most prevalent species found worldwide. You will mostly find them moving from your home to the garden, giving them the name pavement ants. Black ants can sometimes look dark brown and are among the smallest species of ants, usually about a quarter inch. With just half an inch in length, the black ant queen is bigger than the rest.  

A trail of black ants in your home shouldn't alarm you since they mostly come for food and leave. The ant colony has about 7,000 workers, though the number could go up to 15,000 if you are not so lucky.

Black ants can resemble carpenter ants, but if you take a close look, you'll notice certain distinctions such as:

  • A small stinger on their tail which is harmless but dangerous to other insects
  • Uneven thorax, unlike other ant species, which are even.

Black ants also don't build nests or dig through wood. They construct their homes from soil to form an anthill, so they don't cause much destruction in your home.

The ants are mostly attracted to sugary foods, so avoid leaving food lying around if you don't want them in your home. Once a colony has collected enough food, they leave behind a scented pheromone to guide other ants back into the home.

What Are Carpenter Ants?

Named for their nest excavation abilities, carpenter ants (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) are quite different from black ants. These ants are among the larger household ants primarily found in the US.

Carpenter ants may appear reddish-brown even though they generally have a dark color. They have a heart-shaped head which is distinct from other types of ants. Carpenter ants have large jaws with elbowed antennae, and their thorax is round and smooth, unlike others with rigged thoraxes.

Carpenter ants can sometimes be mistaken for termites since they both infest and damage wood. However, unlike termites which eat the wood, carpenter ants dig a hole inside the wood. You will notice sawdust from the destruction brought about by the ants.

Carpenter ants also prefer to dig their nest inside moist and decaying wood. You will mostly find them in porch pillars, dead trees, and windowsills. If they have infested your home in large numbers, they can cause massive destruction. Some states have even listed them as wood-destroying insects (WDI).

Infestation Patterns of Black Ants and Carpenter Ants

Signs of Black Ant Infestation

You will only find black ants in your home when they come in for food. These ants live outside in anthills. You will mostly see them entering and exiting through cracked walls or gaps in or under your door. If you follow their trail, it will lead you straight to their home.

To get rid of black ants, just spray an ant killer inside the anthill and follow the trail inside your home.

Signs of Carpenter Ants Infestation

You will notice live or dead ants around your home, mostly at night. Areas covered with sawdust are also a sign of a carpenter ant infestation. 

If you tap on the walls and hear a rustling sound,  carpenter ants have made your home their home. Since they like warm, damp, and humid areas, check around your kitchen sinks, bathroom, or any other place with water leakage.

Protect Your Home Against Black and Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants and black ants can both be a nuisance in your home if you don't deal with the infestation early on. Of the two ant species, carpenter ants are the most destructive and should be taken care of immediately when you notice an infestation. 

Contact us for professional help if you have an ant infestation. Our expert exterminators will help find the source and eradicate all pests from your property.

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