Black carpenter ants, known more commonly throughout the Midwestern United States as "Michigan black ants," are an especially large and pesky type of ant. They are also the most common kind of ant in the United States, with several easily identifiable traits associated with them.
Observe the color. Michigan black ants, as pointed out by their name, are black although some may look to be a very, very dark brown.
Count the segments. Unlike other ants that have two or even three segments between the head and the waist, the black carpenter ant only has one body segment.
Look for hairs. Michigan black ants have yellow and sometimes white hairs on their body that are easily identifiable when looked for.
Note that the antennae of black carpenter ants have 13 individual segments.
Measure their size. Michigan black ants grow to be between 6 and 13mm in length.