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Camponotus pennsylvanicus, the black carpenter ant, is a large (75-150mm long) black ant and a common pest in the United States, as they colonize wood structures to make satellite nests, and exacerbate damage done by water or rot. They are also important contributors to ecosystems, as they break down old dead and rotting trees. These ants do not eat wood, since they cannot digest cellulose. Rather, they chew through it, especially damp or soft, rotting wood, and remove the pulp in order to create tunnels and galleries in which to house their colony. Omnivores, black carpenter ants eat other insects, dead or alive, aphid honey dew, and have a penchant for sugars and fats: juice from fruit, sugar crystals, and crumbs of meat will often attract these ants into homes to forage. Camponotus pennsylvanicus ants can be controlled with ant baits, traps, and sprays, and by boric acid. Properly storing food and keeping clean countertops, as well as removing stumps and rotting trees around the house are important for eliminating black carpenter ants from homes.

(Jacobs 2008; Morton Arboretuml; Wikipedia 2011)


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