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How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

What comes to mind when you think of wood work? Beautifully designed crafts, or carved wooden panels? Or you might think of a fireplace, or maybe even a house with wooden floor surrounded by trees and a garden. Well guess what? Carpenter ants are almost thinking along the same lines.  They might just consider it their safe haven. They love wood!

But we don’t love having them as uninvited guests, eating our house away, and biting us every chance they get. Read on to learn how to get rid of carpenter ants the DIY way.

What are carpenter ants?

They’re an insect that comes in various sizes, species and colors. They live in colonies, and are headed by a queen. They are red, black or brown in color and can sprout wings. Their colonies have a caste system consisting of the queen, workers and males. The indoor carpenters feed on sugary substances like honey, jam and even meat. The outdoor carpenter ant usually feed on plants and insects and are fond of honey dew, a sugary substance found inside certain insects.

The carpenter ants usually build and expand their colonies (read infest) around spring and summers season go hunting for wood inside and outside home. They love moisture and search for wooden place from where they can easily construct tunnels, galleries and build their nests. This requires a lot of workers as they need two nests, one being the parent nest which is built outside on moist stumps and rotting trees etc the other is the satellite colonies or nest which are built indoors in dry locations such as hollow walls, dry wood, etc.

Damage caused by carpenter ants

With all the heavy lifting, construction works the ants cause major damage to the wood depending on the size of their colonies. This means weakened structure of the building or house in which ants have infested themselves. Not to mention saw dust, wood shavings, and wood panels chipping off and tunnels and galleries destroying the structure from the inside. This is why its important to learn how to get rid of carpenter ants.


  1. Locate and destroy the nest

The best time to find them is between evening and midnight using a flashlight with a red colored lens on it as this color is not visible to the ants. Observe closely areas they usually form their nest like fire wood placed outside, wood stumps, shrubs and other damp areas. Inside the house the trails of sweet or meat like tuna could be placed in the suspected areas. Once they come for the food they can be followed back to hidden nest once found it can be destroyed. Sound of rustling inside hollow wood is also a sign of infestation of nests.

  1. Use aerosols

Insecticide sprays and liquids containing bifenthirin, cyfluthirin, cypermethrin,deltamethrin etc spray the insecticide directly into the best as much as possible covering the entire area of the nest. Make sure the colony has been located and the spray is ready to be used before hand avoiding the carpenter ants any of escaping and relocating their residence. It is necessary to locate ants crawling outside on walls, the porch, and base boards, and spray them off as insecticides alone don’t destroy the nest. There is a better chance of getting rid of them while they are hunting and looking about. As there is less chance the ants will be affected by the insecticide.

Solutions has a number of effective insecticide concentrates and aerosols which can target carpenter ants such as Alpine Termite And Ant Foam, Phantom Aerosol and Cyonara 9.7 Insecticide.

  1. The delayed toxicant effect

To get rid of ants make indoor, bait must be used like sweet or any other food they are attracted to and mix it with slow acting toxicant. Once the unsuspecting carpenter ant has ingested the poisoned food, it has a very slow effect. The ant can move about for days without suspecting any trouble. This leads them to go back to their nest and share the food with the other carpenter ants.

Before the toxin starts to effect the ants, the entire colony has been affected with the poisoned food subsequently; eliminating the entire colony. These toxins are available in both liquid and granular form. Some of the baits we carry in stock here at Solutions Pest & Lawn that specifically target carpenter ants include Advance Carpenter Ant Bait and Maxforce Carpenter Ant Gel.

Follow directions given on the package and place the selected baits where the ants are usually found.

  1. Natural and organic substances

Organic food grade called Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is quite effective in eradicating the ants. DE powder can be injected or sprinkled into cracks and areas where nests have been found using a dropper or any other instrument. It can also be powdered inside and outside the home.

  1. Peppermint and cedar oil

Cotton balls could be soaked in pepper mint oil and placed where trail of ants have been found crawling around. The cedar oil kills the carpenter ant by suffocating them and turning their fats into tiny droplets. Introducing the oil directly into the nest will definitely be effective in exterminating the infestation.

  1. A splash of dish soap and a spoon full of baking soda

Mixture of baking soda and dish soap in form of solution can be sprayed inside the nests and directly on the ants. The solution suffocates the carpenter ants ultimately casing them to expire.

Prevention of the carpenter ants

Make sure the all wood stumps and blocks of wood are removed. Make sure to remove shrubs and trees with decayed wood and cracks in them. Chop off branches that may be coming in close contact with the house. Fix hollow walls and change all the decayed or damp walls insulation and wood. All sweetened products such as sweets, honey, jams and even meat like tuna should be tightly placed in sealed containers. Fix all the roof and plumbing leaks. Seal in all the cracks and holes. The house must have proper insulating system.

It is extremely crucial to take careful measures in order to avoid the invasion of carpenter ants and be aware of  their arrival so that instant steps could be taken stop all the inside carpentry and woodwork.


Carpenter ants are next to termites in terms of how damaging they can be to wood elements of your homes. However, by applying the tips we’ve shared above and equipping yourself with some of the carpenter ant control products we mentioned, you can successfully remove carpenter ants as a problem for your home.

For more pest control DIY advice or more information on how to get rid of carpenter ants call us at 800-479-6583 or email us at askapro@solutionsstores.com.

Click Here To Go To Our Carpenter Ant Control Page


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