Color: Varies depending on species, from red to black, but the most common in the Washington / Oregon areas are black.
Size: one of the largest ants, adults can be up to 1 inch long. some species are as small as 3/8 inch, and are often confused with other small ants
Feed on: a wide variety of foods, primarily sweets and proteins, including honeydew, honey, bread, meats, nuts, tuna, as well as other insects. Preference can vary by season and the needs of the colony.
Nests: in wet, decayed, or damaged wood of outdoor tree stumps, logs, firewood, or landscaping wood. Will also tunnel through wood of structures for their nests.
Identifying Characteristic: winged swarmers; small piles of coarse sawdust or wood shavings around openings where ants have been excavating their nests; and/or sound – active colonies often making a dry, rustling sound that gets louder if disturbed.
Distinction from Termites: Termites have a thick, barely observable “waist”, equal-size wings, and straight antennae. Ants have a narrow waist, front wings longer than back wings, and elbowed antennae. Winged carpenter ants are also usually larger than termites.