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When I searched carpenter ant in Google, this looks kind of like some of the images. Some other images show reddish or winged ants and I have not seen any of those.

I've seen 3 or 4 of these big black ants in the last month we've been in our new house, wondering if I should be concerned.

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  • $\begingroup$ Which country is this one from? $\endgroup$
    – Nakx
    Apr 4, 2018 at 23:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Nakx - this is in the United States, Minnesota. $\endgroup$
    – Smern
    Apr 5, 2018 at 15:53
  • $\begingroup$ There are probably a few similar species that are hard to distinguish, but Camponotus pennsylvanicus is a common black Camponotus in the USA. $\endgroup$
    – Nakx
    Apr 5, 2018 at 23:32

2 Answers 2

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  1. Correct color? Yes
  2. Proper antenna shape? Yes
  3. Thorax shape? difficult to assess
  4. Pinched waist? Yes
  5. Heart-shaped head? Yes

Generally speaking, carpenter ants are black/brown in color, have bent antennas, a pinched waist, a round thorax, and a heart-shaped head.

And to address your confusion from seeing winged ants when searching on Google.. winged carpenter ants appear a few years after a nest/colony has been formed, so if you're not seeing any wings, it may be a relatively new colony.

One last thing.. carpenter ants (should) have hair on their abdomen. From your pictures I'm not seeing any hairs.

Conclusion: I'm 90ish% confident that's a carpenter ant.

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  • $\begingroup$ i think the rings might actually be made of fine hairs... sucks to see these things in a home we just bought $\endgroup$
    – Smern
    Jul 26, 2017 at 12:28
  • $\begingroup$ That explanation is pretty close -- the more reflective rings on the abdomen are more or less hairless, the less reflective rings with enough fine hairs to scatter the light. $\endgroup$
    – user32396
    Jul 26, 2017 at 17:06
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Hmm, the picture that you shared has ants with a striped abdomen, a characteristic feature of Carpenter ants.


(source: doyourownpestcontrol.com)

Wikipedia seems to confirm the same thing.

Carpenter ant

So I would say yes, this is a carpenter ant.

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    $\begingroup$ It is a Camponotus, but other genus also have striped abdomen (Formica for example). $\endgroup$
    – Nakx
    Apr 4, 2018 at 23:55

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