Carpenter Ant Habit and Habitat Carpenter ants (camponotus spp) are large (.25 to 1 in or 0.64 to 2.54 cm) antsindigenous to many forested parts of the world. They prefer dead, damp wood in which to build nests. They do not consume it, however, unlike termites. Sometimes carpenter ants will hollow out sections of trees. They also commonly infest wooden buildings and structures, and are a widespread nuisance and major cause of structural damage. The most likely species to be infesting a house in the United States is the black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus). However, there are over a thousand other species in the genus Camponotus. Diet Carpenter ants are foragers that typically eat parts of other dead insects or substances derived from other insects. Common foods for them include insect parts, "honey dew" produced by aphids, or some secretions from plants. Carpenter ants can increase the survivability of aphids when they attend to them. They attend to any aphid species but can also express preference for specific ones. When workers find food sources, they communicate this information with the rest of the nest. They use biochemical pheromones to mark the shortest path that can be taken from the nest to the source. When a sizable number of workers follows this trail, the strength of the cue increases and a foraging trail is established. This ends when the food source is depleted. Foraging trails can either be underground or above ground. Contrary to popular belief, carpenter ants do not actually eat wood because they are unable to digest cellulose. They only create tunnels and nests within it. Nest Nuptial flight When conditions are warm and humid, winged males and females participate in a nuptial flight. They emerge from their satellite nests and females mate with a number of males while in flight. The males will die after mating. These new fertilized queens will discard their wings and search for new areas to establish primary nests. The queens build new nests and deposit around twenty eggs, nurturing them as they grow and until worker ants emerge. The worker ants will eventually assist her in caring for the brood as she lays more eggs. Again, satellite nests will be established and the process will repeat itself.