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Florida Carpenter Ant

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Foraging Characteristics

Florida carpenter ant is a large to very large, orange and black ant. C. tortuganus is similar but paler with less color contrast. Gaster of latter often with light spots, background color variable, and head looks narrower. Both species have many sized workers that follow loose foraging trails (individuals following each other are widely dispersed or solitary). Workers can emit formic acid. Mainly nocturnal. Female reproductive similar in appearance to larger workers but with wings folded over back. Male reproductives with small heads and larger wings. Males darker then workers but similar in size to smallest workers.

Nest Sites & Characteristics

Single queen per nest. Nest in dead tree branches, rotting logs, tree stumps, piles of limber, or under yard objects (potted plants, trash cans etc.) in voids such as curtain rods, hollow porch columns, wall and attic insulation, timer boxes, and pump housing. Do little excavation and will nest in existing voids and in attics. This species does not do structural damage, but may be a sign of preexisting damage. Satellite colonies common.

Detailed Description

5.5 - 11 mm (1/5 - 4/9 in ) long. No sting. Twelve - segmented antenna without club. End of abdomen with circular ring of hair. One petiolar segment. Thorax evenly convex. C. floridanus: Antennal scape flattened at base and broad throughout. Legs and antennal scapes with numerous long, coarse brown to golden erect hairs, shorter than those on body. C. tortuganus: Major worker head longer than broad. Tibia of all legs and antennal scapes without erect hairs. Body hairs abundant, long, and golden. About 15 Camponotus species occur in Florida. A small dark species, C. planatus is becoming more widespread. Subfamily Formicinae.

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