Carpenter ants are anywhere from 2.4 to 13 millimeters in length, and they are black, brown, red, orange or yellow, according to Orkin. The color and size of carpenter ants vary based on the species and even within a colony.
Carpenter ants can be identified based on their antennae, waist and wings, as explained by Orkin. The antennae of carpenter ants are bent, not straight, and the waist is constricted. When looking at the wings, the front pair is longer than the back pair. These ants have six legs, three distinct regions of the body and hair around the tip of the abdomen.
It is also possible to identify carpenter ants based on where they are found, reports Orkin. Most of the time these insects are found near wood. They can be identified by looking for a smooth, clean cavity in the wood. It is also common to see small piles of wood shavings near the areas where carpenter ants live. When these things are found, the odds of a colony are good. There may be satellite colonies nearby, so it is always a good idea to contact a professional pest control company when signs of carpenter ants have been sighted.