Carpenter Ant Size: Unveiling the Goliath Queens & Mighty Workers 2024

Carpenter Ant Size: Secrets of Queens & Mighty Workers 2024

Last Updated on March 27, 2024 by themubbi63

Ever wondered how big an ant is exactly? Well, that’s not exactly an easy question to answer given that there’s so many species of ants. But let’s look at carpenter ants of the Camponotus genus. These ants build inside wood so they’re found in the woods and the forests of the world. There’s several species within the genus.

Worker Carpenter Ant Length

The size of an ant can vary a lot depending on its gender and whether it’s a worker ant or a queen ant. (Queen ants are usually the largest.) Carpenter ants happen to be quite big in general.

The worker ants (the female ants among which the queen isn’t included) are infertile and make up the largest portion of the ant colony. They can measure anywhere between 4 and 13 mm (¼ – ½ inch). In smaller species, worker ants usually measure 4 – 7 mm while in larger species they measure 7 – 13 mm.

The reproductive processes of ants are complicated. Mostly, it’s just the fertile queens who can lay eggs and give birth to a new generation. However, some of these sterile female worker ants can lay unfertilized eggs from which male ants are born (no, they don’t have any fathers).

Carpenter-Ants (Workers)0.15 – 0.54 – 13

Worker Carpenter-Ant Weight

Most worker carpenter ants weigh between 1 and 5 milligrams. However, there are some specimens in the larger species who can weigh even more, going up to about 17 milligrams. 

The queen ants usually weigh much more than the worker ants and are bigger as well.

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Queen Carpenter Ant Size

Queen ants have a much longer lifespan than either the workers or the male ants. They can live up to 25 years or even more! In comparison, worker ants live between 1 and 7 years and a reproductive male might just live a few weeks.

Queen ants not only live longer, they’re also bigger. A queen carpenter ant usually measures around 9 – 20 mm. This is bigger than both the workers and the males. It can weigh up to 50 milligrams.

Carpenter-Ants (Queens)9 – 20 mm (0.35 – 0.8 inches)50 mg

Male Carpenter Ant Size

A male carpenter ant, which hatches from an unfertilized egg and only has one set of chromosomes from the mother, has a very short lifespan. Their purpose is basically to mate with the queen and produce a new set of workers. 

Males live in a colony for a very short time and die within a few weeks (right after mating). They usually measure between 5 and 13 mm, putting them in the same size range as the worker ants (smaller than the queen ant). 

Carpenter-Ants (Males)0.19 – 0.55 – 13

Carpenter Ant Clutch Size

The first clutch that a carpenter queen ant lays has around 9 – 16 eggs. Since she takes care of and nourishes them all herself, this first brood is usually smaller in size than the future ones. It takes carpenter ants 6 – 12 weeks to fully mature from eggs to adults capable of work.

These queens live for many years and can lay thousands of eggs over their lifetime. They get help from the worker ants in the nurturing and nourishment of these eggs.

Carpenter Ant Weight Carrying Ability

Did you know that ants are capable of carrying up to 50 times their size? That’s why you might spot an ant walking by with a lump of sugar on its back. This might not seem like a lot but it’s remarkable when you think of the actual size of an ant.

Thus, for a carpenter worker ant, which weighs around 1 – 5 mg, it can carry a weight of 50 – 75 mg. 

Carpenter Ant Vs Fire Ant Size Comparison

Carpenter Ant Vs Fire Ant Size Comparison

Fire ants, native to South America, are also called bullet ants because of their aggressive bites. They can be downright terrifying because of how painful their bite marks are. Carpenter-ants may look scarier but they aren’t as aggressive.

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Carpenter ants are much larger than fire ants. The average worker fire ant is 1.5 mm in length while the average carpenter-ant is around 7 mm. However, fire ant workers can be 2 – 6 mm. The maximum weight they can reach is 2.2 mg as compared to the 17 mg of the carpenter ants.

Carpenter-Ant4 – 13 mm (0.15 – 0.5 inches)1 – 17 mg
Fire Ant2 – 6 mm (0.07 – 0.2 inches)0.04 – 2.2 mg

Carpenter Ant Vs Black Ant Size Comparison

Carpenter Ant Vs Black Ant Size Comparison

Black ants are, again, smaller than carpenter ants. They’re more likely than carpenter ants to build their colonies outdoors and are very good at following scents. They don’t cause damage to human homes and burrow into wood the way carpenter ants do.

Black ant workers are just about 2 – 4 mm in length and they’ve got very narrow bodies compared to carpenter ants. A black ant weighs just about 1 – 4 mg.

Carpenter Ant4 – 13 mm (0.15 – 0.5 inches)1 – 17 mg
Black Ant2 – 4 mm (0.07 – 0.5 inches)1 – 4 mg


Carpenter ants come in a variety of sizes, with queens reigning supreme. Their impressive strength allows them to carry massive loads, making them fascinating creatures despite their potential to cause property damage.


Do male carpenter ants play a role in the colony?

(They have one job!) Male carpenter ants only live a few weeks and solely focus on mating with the queen before perishing.

How big is a queen carpenter ant compared to a worker?

Queens are the giants of the colony, measuring up to 20mm, significantly larger than worker ants’ average 13mm length.

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