There are many factors that differentiate carpenter ants from other species. Besides common black carpenter ants, some species are yellow or red. They are the most substantial species of ants that are commonly seen in households, measuring as long as 1/2 inch. The average size for a worker is 1/4 inch. The queen grows somewhat bigger, sometimes even two or three times as large.
Carpenter ants are identified by the hair circling the tip of their abdomens. There is one node between the abdomen and the thorax. The thorax has a unique curvature that is specifically noticeable from the side. The larvae of carpenter ants are white and resemble grubs with no legs.
Seeing an ant indoors with wings or an ant flying is one of the most significant signs that the home has an infestation of carpenter ants. Because they are nocturnal, they are commonly seen at night when they are foraging for food. They usually make their nests in or near rotting wood, which sometimes is a sign that the home has a water leak, according to About.com.
Carpenter ants are omnivores. They feed mostly on fruits, sweet foods, other insects and invertebrates, fat, plant juices, and the sweet secretions from aphids.