Carpenter ants, because of their habit of nesting in our homes and offices, are a problem to humans. Carpenter ants DO NOT eat wood, but remove quantities of it to expand their nests. This excavation of wood frequently results in structural damage, and can potentially cause unsafe conditions.
The vast majority of problems with carpenter ants in Washington State are caused by two species, camponotus modoc and vicinis. These species commonly nest in standing trees, stumps, or logs on the forest floor. Since many houses are being built in and around forested areas, these well-established, vigorous colonies are already prepared to attack.
Carpenter ants are large, with queens 16-18 mm long and workers that vary from 6-13 mm long. Color is not always a good means of distinguishing these ants from other ants, as Washington has several species of carpenter ants that range from black, to red thorax with black abdomen, to light brown. Camponotus modoc, the most common local species, is black with reddish legs.