There are many ant species in central Texas, but the carpenter ant (Camponotus sp.) is one often noticed because of its activity around houses. Unlike the much maligned imported fire ant, carpenter ants don't sting, but they can bite defensively. There are several species of carpenter ants in the area, and their habits vary. Some prefer to nest in old wood, where they excavate tunnels. When they enter the side of a house, they may remove not only wood bits but also insulation, which they pile up near entrance holes. Some other species are only found in the ground under rocks. There are even some small carpenter ant species that live mostly in hollowed out twigs on trees. None of these species actually eats wood like termites do, they only excavate it.
The worker caste of carpenter ants has two sizes; the ant shown here is a major worker, distinguished by its large size and especially large head. The minor workers are not only smaller but their heads are also more narrow.