Do Carpenter Ants Have Wings?

Queen and male carpenter ants have two pairs of wings that allow them to fly from one nest to another and to participate in nuptial flights (mating flights). The worker carpenter ants do not possess any wings.

Do Carpenter Ants Have Wings
A Carpenter Ant

The queen mates with multiple male carpenter ants during the nuptial flight following which it gets rid of its wings and establishes a nest to lay eggs. The male carpenter ants do not survive much longer right after the mating process.

In this post we will take a closer look on:

  • The classic distinctive physical traits of the carpenter ants, that will further allow you to identify them easily.
  • A deep dive into the activities of the winged carpenter ants.
  • Reasons you may have winged carpenter ants in your house.
  • Tips on how you can remove winged ants from your home.

So let’s dive right in…

Read Also: Which Ants have Wings?

How do you tell if an Ant is a Carpenter Ant?

  • Notice the color: Generally, carpenter ants have a combo of black and orange colors in their body. But they can also come in fully darker shades of black, brown, or red.
  • Take their size into consideration: Carpenter ants are rarely larger than half an inch. The majority of the workers are smaller than that. However, the queen and the males can be larger in size and have wings.
  • Note the shape of their body: The middle part of the body will be slimmer than the rest of the body. Also, their thorax or the part just below the head region will come off as a rounded structure.
  • Check the Antennae Shape: Both of their antennas will typically have a small bend.

How to Differentiate between Winged Carpenter Ants and Termites

Carpenter ants and termites are quite similar in their activities given the fact that they both are responsible for heavily damaging the wooden framework of the houses.

They also can look pretty similar if you don’t pay close attention and it’s quite easy to mistake both as the same. So here are some of their prominent differences:

Winged Carpenter AntsTermites
They contain the head, thorax, and abdomen.Only contains a head and thorax, no abdomen is present.
Wing sizes are smaller.Wing sizes are larger than carpenter ants.
It chews wood to make tunnels and not as a dietary requirement.Woods are viable food sources for termites and it is a prominent nutrition source for them.
Carpenter ants have got a narrower waist size.Termites have got little to no waist, they have got a broader body shape.
Wings do not fall off easily.Wings can fall off easily particularly found more at the entrances of the termite nests.

Read Also: Do Flying Ants Bite?

Are all Winged ants Carpenter Ants?

Carpenter ants are just one of the species of ants that consists of winged ants. Many other species including fire ants, redwood ants also contain winged varieties of ants.

They are the largest ant species found in the USA along with many other countries. As carpenter ants are more frequently seen than other varieties, they are more easily related to the category of winged ants.


1. What do winged carpenter ants do?

Winged forms of the ants are directly related to mating. In general, the queens and the male ants are the only varieties of ant in a population that contains wings.

Hence the carpenter ants that can fly are sexually mature than other ones. Their major role is mating.

“Why do I have ants with wings in my house?”

In case it’s winter and you regularly see winged ants in your house, chances are high that they have established some kind of a colony in your place.

Winged ants are no different than wingless ants regarding the fact that they get attracted to food and moisture. Ants can survive on any kind of food however they prefer sweeter food options.

2. How to make sure you don’t have winged carpenter ant infestations?

In case you have a sudden infestation of ants in your home, check for damp places that are holding moisture. Commonly these include the kitchen and the bathroom.

Also, they must be getting their food supply from someplace in your house, so make sure to check your kitchen and the food storage place.

So if you wanna keep ants from establishing nests in your house you need to…

  • Always make a habit of keeping fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator.
  • Store dry food items like bread in air-tight plastic containers.
  • Deal with any kind of food spilling immediately.
  • Make sure you keep organic food wastes in a tight plastic container in the bin. If you are getting rid of food packets or bottles and cans of sugary food items wash them thoroughly with water.

These tips can help you to keep carpenter ants away however remember that carpenter ants can live off other insects and a variety of other food sources which are not offered by you. So even if you keep your home extremely neat and clean, you can still have them.

3. Do carpenter ants go away on their own?

If the carpenter ants have already established their colony it is extremely unlikely that they will go away on their own.

4. How do you get rid of carpenter ants with wings?

Vacuuming is the most common and convenient way of dealing with winged carpenter ants. Make sure you dispose of the ants along with the other waste materials, outside your home right after you are done vacuuming.

Spraying pesticides directly onto the ants also works well.

However, vacuuming and spraying won’t help you get rid of the ant colony from your house. If you find that your house is crawling with ants, there is a high chance that they have already established a colony in your place.

The best way to deal with this is to seek the professional assistance of any pest removal services.

5. Do flying ants eat wood?

Carpenter ants are often referred to as flying ants as they are more commonly responsible for becoming a nuisance. They love to feed on protein and sweet food sources.

Carpenter ants do not eat wood. They chew away through the wooden structures in order to make tunnels and pathways that lead to their main nest.

Related: Do Carpenter Ants Eat Wood?


Some varieties of carpenter ants including the queen and the males ants contain wings that directly help them in mating. The worker ants do not have any kind of wings. Even the queen ant eats away its wings when it establishes a new colony to lay eggs.

Carpenter ants usually make their nests on wooden structures however unlike termites they never eat any wood. They just chew their way through the wood to make new routes around their main nest.

Winged carpenter ants are never good news especially if you are seeing loads of them around. They can do unrecoverable damage to your structures and can become a big nuisance with time. So you need to act quickly and take the rightful measures to get rid of them.

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