These insects are sometimes compared to termites because they both chew through wood. The difference is that termites eat the wood and carpenter ants do not. Instead, they chew it up and spit it out.
Even though these large ants don’t consume wood, they pose a threat to structural beams and other wooden structures. Fortunately, carpenter ants typically stick to damp, decaying wood like old tree trunks.
Believe it or not, carpenter ants are very neat and clean. They remove decayed food and deceased ants from their nests and also create their own disinfectant. The ants work together to collect resin that is then used to chemically disinfect the nests.
Pharaoh ants mate in their nests and spread by “budding”, i.e. splitting the colony. They lack nestmate recognition so there is no hostility between colonies. A single colony may contain as many as 2,500 workers, but the close proximity of multiple colonies can give the illusion of a single, large, super colony.
Nests often include multiple queens, which are capable of leaving their existing colonies to establish new colonies nearby. This makes the pest particularly troublesome because queens can spread colonies throughout the home in a relatively short amount of time.