Ants may be black, brown, red or yellow. Adult ants range in size from as small as 1 millimetre (1/16 to 1/32 inch, e.g. little black ants and thief ants) to as large as 13 millimetres (1/2 inch) (e.g. carpenter ants).
Ants create new colonies by a process of swarming or budding. The appearance of winged queens and smaller winged males means that swarming is taking place. The ants may come indoors at this time, but this does not necessarily mean that the ants will succeed in colonizing in your home.
Depending on the species, a colony is made up of one or more queen and worker ants. The queens lay the eggs while the workers defend the nest, care for larvae (hatched eggs) and forage for food. The workers carry food back to the nest to feed the queen, larvae and pupae (developing young ants).
Carpenter ants are larger than other species although the sizes of the workers vary. They can cause structural damage to homes as they destroy wood to make room for their nests. Piles of sawdust may indicate you have carpenter ants (for further information please refer to Carpenter Ants).
Carpenter ants are sometimes confused with termites, but it is easy to distinguish between them: the termite has straight antennae and a thick waist, and the carpenter ant has a very narrow waist and “elbowed” antennae. Termites are present only in specific areas in Canada.