The two species of Carpenter Ant act the same but look different. C. modoc has a body that’s completely black with minute yellow hairs on its abdomen (last body portion). C. vicinus has a reddish-brown thorax (center body portion) and a black abdomen; this species may have black or reddish-brown legs.
Both C. vicinus and C. modoc cany be between 3/16″ and ½” in length; their relatively large size makes them easy to spot.
Both species of Carpenter Ants are most active during spring and summer; peak hours of activity take place between dusk and midnight. Sweet foods such as sugar and honey are most preferred by Carpenter Ants so they’re likely to be spotted in kitchens and pantries. They’re dedicated foragers and will pinch if they’re interrupted.
As their name suggests, Carpenter Ants are most often found in damp woody areas; tree stumps and roots are prime nesting locations, as are piles of decaying wood boards. The damp conditions inside the walls of buildings attract Carpenter Ants, so they’re likely to infest the attics and basements of houses. Any damaged wood gives Carpenter Ants an opportunity to create a new nest.