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How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants Before It’s Too Late

Carpenter ants are a nuisance to homeowners, carpenters, and anyone who likes to spend time outdoors. These pesky insects can wreak havoc on your home if left untreated. 

Carpenter ants don’t just infest wood structures; they also enjoy other items like paper, insulation, and even electrical wiring!

The carpenter’s population has exploded in the last few years due to their ability to adapt quickly.

The carpenter ant problem is not limited to one geographic region; carpenter ants can be found all over North America.

If you think that you might have an infestation of carpenter ants in your house or yard then there are steps that you should take immediately before it becomes out of control!

What Are Carpenter Ants?

Carpenter ants are insects that belong to the carpenter ant species. They build nests in wood, including inside walls and furniture within homes.

Carpenter ants have a dark-brown or black appearance with orange legs. Their size is typically between 0.75”-0.80” long, including their wings; carpenter ant queens are slightly larger than carpenter worker ants [1].

carpenter ants crawling outside

Carpenter ants build nests inside the wood and can be found in homes around the world due to being able to adapt to a variety of climates. They have been known for damaging furniture, walls, and wooden structures.

Carpenter ants are attracted to sweet foods because they contain sugar. However, carpenter ants do not only eat sweets but also proteins, carbohydrates, oils, or greases in meats and fish products; carpenter ant larvae also enjoy eating honeydew from aphids when available.

How Do Carpenter Ants Get Inside a Home?

Carpenter ants are able to find their way into homes through cracks in the foundation or gaps along windowsills. Carpenter ants have poor eyesight, so they use pheromones as a guide to lead them back to nests.

The carpenter ant has an internal GPS that allows it to follow these chemical trails even if its path is blocked.

This means carpenter ants can find their way into homes even through cracks smaller than a credit card and up walls and ceilings.

How Do I Get Rid of Carpenter Ants?

Carpenter ants are ants that have adapted to carpenter bee-sized nests, which makes them easier to access. 

They’re also very difficult insects to get rid of because they will keep coming back if you don’t find all of their nests and destroy them. 

If possible, try calling a professional exterminator who has the tools necessary to find carpenter ant nests and destroy them.

Also read: How to get rid of ants in your home and garden

single ant crawling

Carpenter ants typically enter your home through a crack or opening in the walls, flooring, or foundation of your house.

In order for carpenter ants to get into your house, you must have an exterior carpenter ant nest somewhere. This is either connected with tunnels from their colony to your home, or they’ve found an entrance point.

Carpenter ants feed on many different things including plant nectar, honeydew produced by aphids, carrion (dead animals), extrafloral nectaries of plants, secretions from homopteran bugs such as aphids or scale insects, and even honeydew excreted from certain scale insects.

Carpenter ants do not eat wood directly instead carpenter ants chew on the wood to make it easier for them to digest which leaves a sawdust-like material behind that will be harder than the original piece of wood was before the carpenter ant damage occurred.

1. Check for Frass or Wooden Trails to Identify an Infestation

Carpenter ants live in wood and leave behind frass or carpenter ant trails. Check your window sills, doorframes, and any wooden structures for carpenter ant infestations by looking for these telltale signs:

  • Tiny piles of carpenter ant frass (sawdust) below the infestation area. Check for carpenter ants in cracks and crevices, window sills, or doorframes.
  • Wooden trails left behind by carpenter ants leading to their nests – these are found near where beams meet foundation walls, underneath porches, in doorframes, and in roof beams.
canpenter ant trail

2. Make a Bait and Track the Ants Back to the Nest

Once you have located carpenter ants, make bait out of boric acid or powdered sugar. Mix the ingredients together and coat a piece of cardboard with it.

Place this in an area where carpenter ants are found. Some carpenter ant species will consume the mixture for its sweet taste but their digestive system is not strong enough to kill them.

The carpenter ants will carry the mixture back to their nest and feed it to other members of the colony, which causes a slow death for most of them. The carpenter ants then die from either starvation or dehydration because they cannot leave their nests due to the powdery substance on their bodies that prevents them from moving around.

alone carpenter ant crawling on the woods

3. Destroy the Pheromone Trail

Carpenter ants communicate with each other using pheromones. 

When carpenter ants come into your home, they leave a trail of pheromone for the rest of the carpenter ant colony to follow along. If you destroy this trail, it will prevent future carpenters from entering your property and infesting an area that is already carpenter ant-free. 

To destroy the pheromone trail, you can use diatomaceous earth powder to remove it. 

Diatomaceous earth is a natural way to get rid of carpenter ants without using chemicals in your home or yard. This will not hurt humans or animals but once carpenters walk through this powder, they will die. 

To do this, sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the carpenter ant trail and wherever you have seen carpenters so far.

carpenter ants on wood

4. Destroy the Nest

Once carpenter ants have been spotted, it’s best to take action as soon as possible. As carpenter ants can multiply quickly and spread throughout a home or building in no time at all, the longer these insects are left alone, the harder they will be to remove.

To destroy carpenter ant nests before an infestation occurs, it’s vital to be aware of carpenter ant activity in the area. Use a flashlight at night and look for carpenter ants on trees, woodpiles, or other remnants outside. 

Pay attention to any old wooden structures around your home or property that may have been damaged by carpenters ants already, including window sills and door frames.

Once carpenter ants have been spotted, it’s worth paying a visit to your local hardware store for advice. Try using carpenter ant spray or powder in cracks and holes where nests may be forming.

big colony of ants

How to Kill a Carpenter Ant Nest

Take carpenter ant nests seriously; carpenter ants can easily do a lot of damage to your property. If you see carpenter ants near your home, it is time to act immediately and kill the carpenter ant nest before they multiply enough to become an infestation. 

Here are two ways to kill a carpenter ant nest.

Chemical Solution

To get rid of carpenter ants, you can use a chemical solution to kill them. 

In general, carpenter ants are attracted by sweet foods and water sources such as leaking pipes or pet food bowls. Once they have located their target, carpenters will create one or more colonies inside the house where there is constant access to food and water.

By using a chemical ant killer solution on their food supply, they will carry this back to the nest, which can kill them.

Natural Remedies Against Carpenter Ants

One of the most effective carpenter ant treatments is to use borax. Borax is a natural remedy against ants, as it’s poisonous to small insects. There are many ways you can use borax against ants, but here’s the easiest:

Mix borax with a sweet substance, syrup, or honey, works great. Next, place the mixture near an ant trail, or any other area ants are known to gather. This will attract them to the borax.

When it comes to killing ants, Borax must be used with caution because its dust particles are harmful if inhaled and on skin contact. Gloves should always be worn when applying this powder.

spray bottle to kill ants

When to Call the Experts (Pest Control)

If carpenter ants are in your home, it might be time to call the experts.

The best way to get rid of carpenter ants is by hiring a professional exterminator. These insects can be tricky and require specialized knowledge for removing them in an effective manner. 

ant spray

If left untreated, carpenter ant infestation might just cause you more problems.

Carpenter ants are coming from a carpenter ant nest and are drawn to your house by the smell of chemicals scout ants emit from their mandibular gland and anal scent glands when they find food.

But, it’s not always easy to identify these ants without professional help. 

There are also some carpenter ant killing methods you can try out at home, including:

  • Using carpenter ants poison
  • Spraying carpenter ant killer on their trails and nests
  • Removing carpenter ant hills with boiling water or steam cleaner
  • Filling up holes with boric acid powder or diatomaceous earth
  • Carpenter ant baits

While natural carpenter ants remedies are not preferred by experts, they can be used to kill carpenter ants in some cases or alongside other methods for better results. 

You might try using essential oils like peppermint oil which repels carpenter ants effectively while lavender oil is known to attract them instead.

Exterminators are carpenter ant control experts, but you can try your luck at getting rid of carpenter ants on your own if you want to save money. 

However, it is important to note that carpenter ant extermination requires more than just one treatment and should only be left up to the professionals for best results.

What Attracts Carpenter Ants?

Carpenter ants build carpenter ant nests in wood, which means that they are attracted to anything and everything made of wood.

If you have wooden furniture or any other type of wooden items inside your home, carpenter ants will be drawn towards it. They can also set up their carpenter ant nest anywhere outside on trees and plants as well.

Learn more: What attracts carpenter ants?

carpenter ants eating

Soft, Wet Wood

A carpenter’s ant nest is usually found in wood that has been softened by water damage.  Carpenter ants are attracted to this type of wet, softened wood because they can easily penetrate the surface and find sustenance for themselves.


Carpenter ants are attracted to food sources [2].

This makes it important for homeowners with carpenters ant problems in the home, especially in kitchens and pantries, to clean their home when spotting an infestation. 

Also read: What do carpenter ants eat?

It is also helpful if you can find out whether or not carpenter ants have invaded your space by identifying their droppings. 

Carpenter ant feces look very similar to termite droppings.  Both are long and cylindrical in shape, but carpenter ant feces have ridges along the sides while termite droppings do not.

worker ant collecting food

Damp and Dark Places

Carpenter ants love damp and dark places. This can be a carpenter ant nest, but you might also find carpenter ants in the walls of your home or even under loose flooring! You should check all these areas for carpenter ant nests as soon as possible before they build up into infestations that are much harder to control.

Preventing Future Carpenter Ant Infestations

Once carpenter ants have infested your home, it is important to take precautions for future prevention. One of the most common ways carpenter ants are able to get into a house is through small cracks in doorways and windowsills that lead towards the outside. To prevent carpenter ant infestations from happening, check around these areas of your house for carpenter ants and seal up any cracks you find.

Clean Up Your House

Remove everything that carpenter ants could be attracted to. This includes food, water sources (such as leaking pipes), and any other carpenter ant attractants you can find. The cleaner your house is, the easier it will be for you to avoid an invasion of carpenter ants.

bleach cleaning to kill ants

Seal up Any Openings

One of the first things you should do is seal up any openings around your home. Carpenter ants are known to use existing holes and cracks as entry points, so this will help out a lot.

  • Use steel wool or metal mesh for these gaps.
  • Fill in larger cracks.
  • Make sure to check the carpenter ant’s nest for any openings. If you don’t have a carpenter ant nest, there is still a good chance they will find one somewhere else on your property.
  • You should also seal up around vents and other openings where pipes come into your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants?

You can start by killing carpenter ants as quickly as possible with the most effective carpenter ant killer.

As mentioned above, carpenter ants are not just icky and annoying little creatures but also a serious threat due to their destructive nature and ability to damage your home or property if you do not act fast enough.

How Do I Get Rid of Carpenter Ants in My Home?

The most effective way to get rid of carpenter ants is to call for professional help.

If carpenter ants are already in your home, getting rid of carpenter ants is not an easy task. You need to inspect each and every room for carpenter ant nests – use a magnifying glass or flashlight if necessary. 

If you see sawdust coming from the floorboards it’s possible that carpenter ants have already built their nest inside the walls so be sure to look for carpenter ant nests there as well.

Carpenter ants are known to build nests in wood, and although they don’t eat the wood itself, carpenter ants can quickly destroy a house if left untreated. 

There is also an increased risk of getting carpenter ants when you live near trees or plants that produce pheromones – this type of carpenter ant does not eat wood but carpenter ants can still cause a lot of damage if not dealt with right away. 

Another clue that you have carpenter ants is when you see sawdust coming from your walls, windowsills, or other areas around the house – carpenter ants love to build their nests in moist and damp places.

If you have carpenter ants in your home, it’s important that you act fast before they cause any more damage – the first thing you need to do is find out where carpenter ants are coming from and how many carpenter ant colonies there are on your property.

What Is the Best Product to Kill Carpenter Ants?

There are many carpenter ant killer products on the market. There is no such thing as one best product because there are so many different carpenter ants and they all have their own preferences for food, nesting sites, and other factors that attract them to certain places in your home or business. Therefore it’s important not just to look at carpenter ant killer products but also carpenter ants and their preferences.

There is a carpenter ant kit that includes carpenter ant baits, carpenter ant sprays, and carpenter ant dust to help you get rid of the entire colony.

Do Carpenter Ants Go Away on Their Own?

It is not recommended that carpenter ants are allowed to stay in your home. If carpenter ants go away on their own, then they may return or other carpenter ant colonies will move into the area. 

Carpenter ants eat many things but there are some foods they prefer over others. They also like sugary substances so it is likely if you have carpenter ants in your home, they will leave some of their food behind. This is important because carpenter ants like to eat this sugary substance and it causes them to expand their nest which can result in more carpenter ant problems later on.

Some common foods that carpenter ants love are syrup, jelly, honeydew melon (honeydew), and carpenter ants also love fruit trees. If you see carpenter ant trails going from your home to a tree, this is another way they can enter the home. Carpenter ants are not picky eaters so it doesn’t matter if it’s an organic food item or processed sugar, carpenter ants will find it all tasty.

Do Carpenter Ants Nest in Trees?

Yes, carpenter ants do nest in trees. If you find carpenter ants in a tree, there is a good chance that the tree is already weakened. Carpenter ants prefer weak trees, as their wood is easier to dig through.

About Teodoro Pittman

Teodoro is a nature and animal lover. He specifically focuses on insects, such as ants, bees, and the like. In his free time, he takes care of his own ant farm, where he analyzes their behavior. Teodoro has spent the last 7 years studying the intricate behavior of these small creatures.

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