How To Get Rid of Carpenter Ants?

winged female carpenter ant (Camponotus) sitting on a blade of grass
winged female carpenter ant (Camponotus) sitting on a blade of grass

Fighting off carpenter ants can be either extremely easy or incredibly difficult. The extremity of the situation can determine if it is going to be a simple task or a long and frustrating situation. Carpenter ants typically infest in large numbers. When the infestation begins, it typically takes only twenty to thirty carpenter ants to be a nuisance. Quickly these ants can multiply, so fighting off the problem early on is the ideal thing to do.

The first and most important part of getting rid of carpenter ants is to do a thorough inspection of your property outside. Carpenter ants usually feed on wood. Wood can be anything from a wood porch that has rotted, a door, an old tree stump or a wooden fence.

If you have problems locating the nest you may benefit by setting out a small sugar dish as a bait trap and following them back to their nest. This may require a lot of patience and you staying up late into the night. Listening to the air is also a helpful locating tool. Large carpenter ant nests contain a lot of movement so you may be able to hear crunching from the wood where they are located.

Locating the area where the ants are coming from is crucial to getting rid of them. Once you find the nesting area open it up to expose the inner nest. Next, get a large bucket of boiling water mixed with ant killer and completely drench the nesting area. This is going to get rid of the majority of the ants that live on your property.

Another option is to spray aerosol pesticides into the entrance of the nest and place a bait trap at the entrance. A recommended bait trap consists of a mixture of 1 cup of warm water, 1/2 cup of sugar and three tablespoons of boric acid. This sweet mixture can be left in a shallow dish for the ants or soaked up inside of a cotton ball. Boric acid is a mild acid that is used to treat a variety of infestation problems ranging from ants and termites to cockroaches.

If you notice more than twenty little carpenter ants inside of your home, then the problem may be rooted inside instead of outside. As with outside treatment, it is important to locate the nesting area. Inside a home, carpenter ants will come out through cracks in a wall where they have nested. Carpenter ants will eat away at the wood inside of the walls and can lead to serious problems in the future. It is not recommended to pour extreme amounts of water into the nest as it is good for outside. If the infestation is inside of the home, it is recommended that you take a drill and pass a small hole through the wall to the area where you see ants coming out of. With a small spray straw can, spray ant killer or insecticide into the wall.

A preventative measure you can take to keep the ants from coming back is to then pour boric acid into the hole and into the walls. That way the powder is there to treat them and not laying out all over your flooring.

After treating any carpenter any infestation it is important to fix the problem. If the ants were infesting a rotted area on your porch, you should fix the rotted area by replacing I with a new, fresh piece of wood to eliminate the possibility of the carpenter ants coming back.

It is also highly recommended to switch out any gravel beds you have around the home to containing a white gravel bed instead. White gravel has extreme benefits with drying out an area. This acts as a great barrier to carpenter ants and other pests that prefer a warm, moist environment to live.

Always remember to do a swift check during the spring time to see if there are carpenter ants that are trying to nest on your property.


Author: Allan

Allan Thomes has been a professional writer for 1 &1/2 years. He joined the THF Team in May, 2011. Along with the numerous other hobbies he enjoys, Allan spends many hours doing home remodeling projects, entertaining family and friends, and gardening.

6 thoughts on “How To Get Rid of Carpenter Ants?”

  1. ants are coming out from under hard wood window frames on inside of house.
    does this mean the frames may be rotten? We thought they were nesting in the cavity wall insulation

    1. Lindseymobile, whether there’s any wood damage or inside the home nesting depends on the type of ants that are entering your home.  Some ants will nest inside the walls and flooring, such as carpenter ants.  They can cause damage to the wood and insulation inside your walls and flooring, which means replacing the damaged wood/insulation.

      Other species of ants, such as the acrobat ant, will live inside rotted window frames.  They don’t cause the damage to the window frames, but the window frames need replacing if they’re rotted enough to attract the ants.

      But if the ants are coming from under the window frame, they may have a nest outside and are just coming in after food.  It may simply be a matter of repairing/replacing the caulking around the window and closing the ants’ entry hole.

      1. We had a problem with the little black ants yesterday. I found them all over the counter, kitchen sink and stove stop. I decided to test the baby powder method of getting rid of them. It works very well! I just sprinkled lots of baby powder on the stove top, counters and around the edge of the sink. I’m still finding a few ants now and then, but for the most part they are now gone. This has convinced me to keep a large bottle of baby powder on hand!

  2. Help! We bought an ant farm this last December and well it didn’t last long because my 3 yr old son dumped them on my bed! Now its June and we see these ants flying around our home which is a log home. Pretty concerned. The ants that came with the farm were carpenter ants…

    1. Tara, you have my sympathy. I don’t know how large your ant farm was, but I’m sure it had plenty of ants in it to cause quite a good ant infestation . And apparently, if you are seeing them flying about, these ants are ready to breed. There are several good articles and forum threads on THF that might provide you with some ideas. For instance, the two article entitled “How to Get Rid of Ants in the Home and How to Get Rid of Ants in the House” both offer excellent advice from the author and other viewers. I also found this website that provides useful information on how to control carpenter ant infestations. Here’s a link to the website: Good luck with getting rid of the ants!

  3. I am in southeast Texas. I have been trying to get rid of carpenter ants (1/4 to 1/2 inch long with reddish head and thorax and a black body) for about 6 months. They drilled a hole in the sheetrock in my dining room and come out of it mostly at night. The attic is inaccessible without doing serious damage to the ceiling. Out of all the articles I have read, nothing works.

    I have tried to attract them to meat, sugar, honey, molasses, peanut butter and biscuit flour. They just walk around all of it, but a few drown themselves in my humming bird feeders outside. My thought has been to bit them, but first I have to find something they like to eat. What will they eat, and how should I tackle them??

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