Whether you think you have a pest problem or simply want to learn more about insects, there are many differences between carpenter ants vs black ants. One of these ants is much more troublesome than the other, but do you know which one? You may already have a good guess, but we are here to go over all of the differences between these two bugs.
In this article, we will address everything you need to know about carpenter ants as well as black ants, including how you can identify them. We will also go over their behavior and what you can expect if you have either insect in your home. Let’s get started and talk about carpenter ants vs black ants!
Comparing Carpenter Ant vs Black Ant
|Carpenter Ant||Black Ant|
|Size||6-12 mm; larger than black ants||4-6 mm long; smaller than carpenter ants|
|Appearance||Evenly shaped body and heart shaped head; can be found in red or brown as well as black||Only found in black; unevenly shaped body and head. Has two different body parts between its head and its thorax|
|Wings||Two sets of wings||One set of wings, or no wings|
|Behavior||Digs tunnels in wood, especially in homes||Nests outside, but comes indoors for food|
Key Differences Between Carpenter Ant vs Black Ant
There are many key differences between carpenter ants and black ants. Carpenter ants belong to the Camponotus genus while black ants belong to the Lasius genus, and the carpenter ant is much larger than a black ant in general. The appearance of the black ant differs from the carpenter ant in just about every way, and their behavior is extraordinarily different from one another as well.
Let’s talk more about these differences in greater detail.
Carpenter Ant vs Black Ant: Genus
A primary difference between carpenter ants vs black ants is their genus and species classification. While both of these ants are indeed ants, carpenter ants belong to the Camponotus genus while black ants belong to the Lasius genus. This leads to very important differences in the appearance and behavior of these two ants.
Carpenter Ant vs Black Ant: Physical Appearance
You can easily tell the difference between a carpenter ant and a black ant. For example, a carpenter ant is always larger than a black ant, ranging from 6-12 mm in length compared to 4-6 mm for a black ant. Carpenter ants are also found in a wide variety of colors, including brown, black, and red, while black ants are naturally only black.
The body shapes of these two bugs differ greatly as well. Carpenter ants have a heart shaped head compared to the rounded head of a black ant. However, the size of black ants makes this difficult to tell without magnification. A black ant has two different body parts between its head and its thorax, while a carpenter ant only has one. Carpenter ants also have a much more uniform body when compared to the body of a black ant.
Carpenter Ant vs Black Ant: Behavior
The behavior of carpenter ants vs black ants is extraordinarily different. This is what makes one of these ants more dangerous than the other in terms of what they can do if they invade your home. Let’s talk more about this in greater detail now.
Black ants can invade your home just like carpenter ants can, but they are only looking for food. Carpenter ants live within the walls of your home or other wooden objects, and it is very difficult to remove them, something that is very different from black ants. Many pest control companies have greater difficulty with carpenter ants than with black ants, and many homeowners consider carpenter ants as much of a pest as termites!
This is because black ants make their homes outside in ant hills, while carpenter ants live within any wooden structure they can. Carpenter ants dig intricate tunnels and nests within the walls of your home, often leading to severe damage.
Carpenter Ants vs Black Ants: Wings
Another difference between black ants and carpenter ants is the presence of wings. All carpenter ants have wings, while not all black ants do. Black ants also have a single set of wings, if they have any at all, while carpenter ants have two sets of wings. While this is a subtle distinction, it is indeed a key difference between these two bugs.
Carpenter Ants vs Black Ants: Preferred Habitat
A final difference between carpenter ants vs black ants is their preferred habitat. While both of these insects can be found inside of your home, black ants prefer to live outside, while carpenter ants often live inside the walls of your home or other wooden structures nearby.
However, why do black ants enter your home in the first place if they enjoy living outside in a garden or backyard setting? Black ants are pests known for seeking out food within the home, and this is often why you will see them. However, black ants will leave once they have sufficiently fed, while carpenter ants linger in your home for a long time. You can think of carpenter ants as moving in, while black ants are just there to visit!
How Do You Get Rid of Black Ants?
To keep ants at bay and maintain a pest-free home, there are various natural methods you can use to get rid of those pesky ants.
So, if ants have already invaded your surfaces, consider these steps:
- Mix a solution of half vinegar and half water, which effectively kills existing ants. (This vinegar solution also acts as a deterrent for future ant visits, as ants can detect the scent of dried vinegar which is undetectable by humans)
- Planting mint around your home or using peppermint essential oil can serve as a natural repellent for ants, who strongly dislike the minty scent.
- Diatomaceous earth, glass cleaner, liquid detergent, ground black or red pepper, tea tree oil, and lemon eucalyptus oil are additional options for controlling ants while keeping your home smelling fresh.
- Lemon eucalyptus oil and oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) can also be employed as natural ant repellents.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Amelia Martin/Shutterstock.com
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