Do Carpenter Ants Have a Queen?

Carpenter Ant Control
Carpenter Ant Control

Carpenter ants are an unwelcome sight in any home due to their propensity for causing significant structural damage in moist or rotting wood. Though comprised of thousands of workers, a typically colony houses only one queen, capable of surviving up to 25 years and laying thousands of eggs.

Identifying the queen:
The largest ant in the colony at up to 1 inch, the queen may be dark brown, yellow, red or black in color. Responsible for laying eggs, she sheds her wings after mating, seeking out a nesting site of moist or rotting wood for her young to establish a new colony. She seals herself into the wood, laying an initial brood of 9-16 eggs that will develop into workers and future queens.

The carpenter ant family:

• Winged female swarmers
Born in the spring for mating purposes, these ¾ inch females lose their wings after mating. Each wingless female then attempts to become the queen of a new colony.

• Winged male swarmers
These exist for the sole purpose of mating with female swarmers, dying shortly after accomplishing the task.

• Workers
¼-½ inch long, female workers are sterile and responsible for all activities except egg laying, including caring for the queen and developing ants.

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