Limited Time: Save 15% at Checkout. Use Code: Ants15


Your Cart is Empty

February 10, 2023 6 min read

Over the last decade, tens of thousands of people from throughout the country have taken up antkeeping. These people enjoy investing in both ants and ant homes that they use to create large ant colonies over time.

Does antkeeping appeal to you? If so, you're going to need to figure out which types of ants you would like to welcome into your home. There are so many ant species for people to choose from.

Carpenter ants and black ants are two of the most popular options. You should learn about the differences between carpenter ants vs black ants to see which one would be the right choice for you.

We've put together a guide that will help you decide whether to go with carpenter ants or black ants at the start. It'll also help you determine which ant farms, ant food, and ant gear you'll need to get your hands on, so keep reading.


Carpenter ants and black ants are both, well, ants. But one of the first key differences between carpenter ants vs black ants is that they each belong to a different genus.

Carpenter ants belong to the Camponotus genus. Black ants, meanwhile, belong to the Lasius genus.

This is important because it's this difference that accounts for so many of the other differences between carpenter ants and black ants. You can trace everything from the different appearances of carpenter ants and black ants to their different behaviors back to the fact that they're each a member of a different genus. You can also say the same for many other types of ants.


In this day and age, you can find both carpenter ants and black ants out in the wild in the U.S. But it's worth noting that they aren't both native to this country.

Carpenter ants did, in fact, originate in the U.S. They were first discovered way back in the 1770s, and believe it or not, they were the first North American ant species to earn an official name.

Black ants, on the other hand, now live in all different parts of the U.S. But they didn't start off here. Black ants actually hail from Europe and Asia for the most part.


There are some types of ants that can be difficult to differentiate just by looking at them. Carpenter ants and black ants do not fall into this category. You will be able to tell them apart at first glance based almost solely on their size.

While both carpenter ants and black ants are on the smaller side, carpenter ants are bigger than black ants. They're somewhere between 6 and 12 millimeters in most cases. This makes carpenter ants up to twice as big as black ants in some instances since black ants are often only 4 to 6 millimeters.


You'll be able to tell carpenter ants and black ants apart using more than just ant size. You're also going to see some not-so-subtle differences in their appearances.

Carpenter ants can come in a wide range of different colors. You might find carpenter ants that are brown, black, and/or red.

This won't be the case with black ants. As their name would suggest, all black ants are going to be naturally black.

If you look at carpenter ants and black ants even closer, you'll also notice that they have different heads. Carpenter ants have heart-shaped heads, while black ants have round ones.

One other thing that makes the appearance of carpenter ants and black ants different is that black ants have two body parts between their heads and thoraxes, while carpenter ants have just one. Additionally, carpenter ants tend to have bodies that are more uniform than the bodies of black ants.


You might not necessarily associate most types of ants with wings. But nearly every ant species  has some members with wings, including both carpenter ants and black ants. The winged members are both male and female and are the only reproductive ants in the colony.

Carpenter ants have two sets of wings that they can use to get around during the mating season, called "nuptial flight". Black ants will only have one set of them.

This is a very small difference in the grand scheme of things. But the wings that carpenter ants and black ants have do have an impact on their behaviors.


You could argue that the biggest difference between carpenter ants vs black ants is the way in which they each behave. They couldn't be any more different in terms of how they behave.

Black ants are almost always on the hunt for food. They're known to work their way into homes and other structures to try to get it. But they won't usually set up shop in homes when they find food, as they would prefer to live outside in the ant hills that they create.

This isn't how carpenter ants operate. While they will also aim to make their way into homes and other structures to find food, they'll occasionally make themselves at home once they get in by digging tunnels and building nests in wooden beams and other structures. However, they prefer softer rotting wood and logs that can be found in the wild for nest building.

Because of this, carpenter ants will do more damage to homes than black ants ever will. Some people have gone as far as to put carpenter ants into the same category as termites as far as the destruction they can do, but this is usually an unfair comparison since termites actually eat wood as a food source and carpenter ants just excavate through it.


While carpenter ants and black ants take two very different approaches when it comes to entering homes, they also have different habitats when they're out in nature. You aren't usually going to find the two ant species set up in the same places.

Carpenter ants might not have access to wooden beams like they do in homes when they're out in the wild. But that doesn't stop them from finding moist wood that they use to build their nests. Something like an old tree stump would be the perfect place for them to settle down.

Black ants would prefer to live in dome-shaped mounds that are made out of dirt. These mounds might look small at first, but they can extend underground and provide black ants with plenty of space to spread out. It's why their colonies can grow to be so much larger than carpenter ant colonies.


If you're taking the time to learn about the differences that exist between carpenter ants vs black ants, it's probably because you're interested in creating a colony of one of these types of ants. It makes it important for you to find out which one will have the larger colonies.

Generally speaking, you're going to find that black ants will tend to have colonies that are up to five times larger than carpenter ant colonies. It isn't that uncommon for black ant colonies to grow to include more than 15,000 ants.

Carpenter ant colonies don't come anywhere close to reaching that number. There are some colonies that will contain 3,000 carpenter ants. But there are also others that will struggle to crack the 2,000 mark.

You'll need to purchase the right ant farm for your ants based on how large you anticipate their colony being. You will likely land on different ant farms for carpenter ants than you would for black ants.

Carpenter Ants Vs Black Ants: Which Should You Choose?

Now that you know more about the differences between carpenter ants vs black ants, you should have a better idea as to which one you want to go with. There are many differences that separate the two, so you'll need to give thought to which option would suit you best.

Both carpenter ants and black ants bring something very unique to the table. You'll enjoy the experience of raising either ant species. But you should keep their differences in mind and select the one that intrigues you the most so that you're able to appreciate what it will offer to you.

Contact Us for All Your Ant Farm Product Needs

Would you like to invest in ant farms, ant food, and other ant gear for either carpenter ants or black ants? Everything Ants has what you need in stock so that you can start to grow your own ant colony.

We can also supply you with additional information on the carpenter ants vs black ants debate. It'll make it so much easier for you to choose which ant species you would like best.

Touch base with us now to take advantage of all the great antkeeping products and services that we have to offer through our shop.