The species, Camponotus pennsylvanicus, or carpenter ants, forage for their nutrition, covering long distances in their search eating different kinds of plants (Ahlstrom 1999). Scientists have analyzed these plants and found that the species enjoys high protein content when it is available and they also found that they like sugars but do not have any specific preference (Ahlstrom 1999).  One in particular, as seen in the photo to the below, is the honeydew of aphids (Dunn 1999). 

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They may travel long distances, up to one hundred years away, in search of their these fruits (Dunn 1999). The honeydew is packed with carbohydrates which supplies these organisms with most of their energy and is used for their expansion and growing in numbers (Eisemann and Charney 2010).  Small workers rarely, 1% of the time, come back with solid food such as an dead insect (Eisemann and Charney 2010).  Carpenter ants, like other species of social insects, use foragers to gather food and return with it in order to feed others (Ahlstrom 1999).  They are fully capable and will eat certain insects as well as dead ones as another source of protein (Eisemann and Charney 2010). However, Carpenter ants cannot eat items of any size due to the hairs in their mouths which restrict them from eating large particles of food (Ahlstrom 1999). As another restriction, the mouth also houses a pouch which catches pieces that are too big so that the ant may spit them out (Ahlstrom 1999). Another reason the ants are unable to eat large items is the proventriculus, or the small area between the fore and mid-stomachs – large pieces cannot fit through (Ahlstrom 1999).  In contrast, the main reason they venture into the home at all is because they are in that constant search for a sugary substance.


These are large worker Camponotus pennsylvanicus collecting the sugars from these fruits.

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