How to get rid of carpenter ants

Do you know that there are more than 12,000 species of ants all over the world? Carpenter ants are among the world’s largest ants, their sizes range from 3.4 to 13 mm long. They have earned their name from their amazing ability to whittle down wood. Considered as the one of the most valuable insects, they are also the most destructive insect pest. The good news is that there are strategies on how to get rid of carpenter ants.

Identifying carpenter ants

Carpenter ants have several colors but the most common are black and red. However, their colors depend upon their colony roles and genus. They are much bigger in size compared to ants commonly found in your household.  Adult ants are hexapods, contracted waist and tri-distinctive body regions with circular hairs at their abdomen tip.

Winged queen is the biggest in the colony measuring as long as one inch or 2.54 cm. Reproductive males and females have wings and measure from 3/4 inch or 1.9 cm.

Major workers are black ranging in size from 3/8 to 1/2 inch or 1 cm to 1.3 cm. Minor workers look like stereotyped ants measuring from 5/16 to 7/16 inch or 0.8cm to 1.1 cm. They have heart shaped head equipped with huge jaws and their antennae are elbowed. It is easy to identify them by looking at pedicle/waist with a single-segment that are constricted mid the abdomen and thorax. The upper thorax is rounded and smooth. Notice that the wings in front are longer than the wings at the back.

Carpenter Ants Damage

Carpenter ants are not like the termites they are not feasting on woods because they are hollowing out the wood to build their comfortable nests. The hollowed structure becomes weak and therefore results in structural damage. Significant damage on the structure may take years. If the ant colony has been whittling on the property for many years, the result will probably be extensive structural damage. Noticeable carpenter ant damage can be seen by tiny circular galleries appearing on the wood’s surface. There will be sawdust-like debris surrounding or below the holes’ exit. You can see the inside part of the wood looking smooth and without sign of debris. To prevent structural damages, you have to kill carpenter ants colony because they have made a home inside this wooden structure.

Signs of Carpenter Ants

Some of the signs you might have carpenter ants in your home are the following:

  1. Tap on the wood where there might be signs of damage and see if it sounds hollow or empty.
  2. Saw dust piles or trails that are left behind by carpenter ants making holes in the wood around your home.
  3. A light rustling sound in wood that is thought to be infested.
  4. Brittle wood that can be broken or punctured easily.
  5. Wings found along the baseboard.  These are wings that have been shed from swarmer carpenter ants.

If you think you have a carpenter ant infestation, follow these steps to get rid of carpenter ants in the house.

Identify the Source and Colony for Carpenter Ants

  1. Be sure you are dealing with carpenter ants. They whittle the wood to make their nest and leave behind materials similar to sawdust. If you see this pile, carpenter ants are not far behind.
  2. Look for wood damage. Wood will have slits or holes with frass scattered nearby as well. Carpenter ants like to nest in the hollows of beams, cabinets, doors, structured woods and walls. They like the wood to be slightly moist.
  3. The bait is used to lure out the ants. By following them back, you will discover the location of their nest. Small honeydew bits or tiny sugary fruit chips are good baits.
  4. The ants will readily take the bait and return to their nest. You will see them crawling all over the place. At last, you have discovered discover the nest’s location.
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Black Carpenter Ant

Best Product for Getting Rid of Carpenter Ants

Maxforce Carpenter Ant Bait Gel – For getting rid of carpenter ants this is the first product you should try.

If invasion of carpenter ants remains unchecked, it will surely lead to expensive repair bills due to damaged foundation. This onslaught has to be stopped using the right pesticides.  If you’re looking for commercial products, check out our Shop for Ant Insecticides and Baits that has only the top products and recommended products.

  1. The nervous system of carpenter ants and other insects are the focal points of the Pyrethroid pesticides. The destruction follows as soon as pesticides are ingested when carpenter ant comes into physical contact with the chemical.
  2. The protective outer coating on an ant’s body is destroyed by desiccants as it begins to dry causing death to the ant. Diatomaceous earth loses its efficacy when it gets wet.

Kill Carpenter Ant Nest and Colony

For carpenter ants it is best to use Maxforce Carpenter Ant Bait Gel.  When dealing with carpenter ants, spraying should only be used after killing the colony because it could lead to dividing the colony or what is called “budding”.  Sprays like the Tempo Ultra SC Insecticide are a great deterrent but only once the carpenter colony nest has been killed.

A single colony could attempt to start a new nest which can lead to bigger issues.  If you call a pest control company, some will spray and hope they’ve killed them.  Another method is to drill holes into the wood and sprinkle insecticide dust into the holes.  If they are carpenter ants, both of these methods can cause “budding” or splitting of the colony.  Make sure to use bait traps to kill the nest and then use a spray once you are sure they have been killed.

Other Techniques to Kill Carpenter Ants

  1. Use direct dusting. After you have accessed the nest, you will directly dust the entire colony as it is the best method. Apply dust directly over the queen as well as entire ant colony. Utilize carpenter ant dust and by reading instructions contained in the package. Follow the proper way of applying the dust to the nest. Since Diatomaceous earth is natural and nontoxic dust, it can kill carpenter ants but does not bring poison to your home.
  2. When using the bait method if the nest is inaccessible as it is well-hidden. The bait will lure out ants which has borax in it.  To find out more about about this, see our information about Borax for Ants. Within one to three days, the ant colony will have shared the bait and will start to die off. Buy gel bait for carpenter ants and combine with one spoon of sugar and one spoon of milk. Set the mixture near the nest. The ants will be attracted and will come out and take the bait.
  3. Use the boric acid bait. Purchase boric acid, and make a mixture with powdered sugar with this ratio: 1/3 sugar to 2/3 boric acid. Fill bottle caps with the mixture. Set cups all around the area where ants are conglomerating. When they return it to the nest with the substance, it will kill carpenter ants in the nest. Boric acid is fatal to them as it penetrates and dissolves inside the ant’s body.

Prevent carpenter ants from coming back

  1. Always keep your house clean to make it an unpleasant nest for breeding carpenter ants.
  2. Seal any breakage in the house. Seal the foundation of your house with caulk including all the cracks or holes on doors, windows, and other areas.
  3. Remove all kinds of natural debris around the home as often as possible.
  4. Pick up and seal all water leaks.

Natural Ways To Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

  • Ways to Kill carpenter ants natural and effectively
  1. Diatomaceous Earth is an effective food-grade substance that kills carpenter ants.  The proper grade can be found in our store here Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth.  If you would like to read more about Diatomaceous Earth please read our informational article about Diatomaceous Earth for Ants.
  2. Kill ants using liquid ant baits.  The recommended liquid baits for carpenter ants is TERRO Liquid Ant Bait which can be found in our store.

Liquid ant baits are designed to attractive household ants that are attracted to sugar because these baits contain a sugary mix. Once the ants consumed the liquid bait, their digestive system will be slowly affected by the active ingredient borax because it makes them starve and they will die.

  1. Use lemon water to get rid of carpenter ants from home

Lemon water is a practical and effective home remedy to kill carpenter ants. Combine water with some lemon juice and you have a potent spray against ant invasion. Spray the area several times for effective result.

  1. Vinegar blocks the ant’s path and acts as a deterrent for carpenter ants.  See more about Using Vinegar for Ants.

To kill carpenter ants is an easy task using vinegar. Vinegar works wonderfully in dealing with all sorts of pest problems.

  1. Dish soap harms ants – Dish soaps and dish detergents are not only used to wash dishes but a harmful substance for ants for the chemicals break down protective layers of the ant’s exoskeleton.
  1. Cayenne pepper for ant defense

Cayenne power makes food sizzling hot but hated by ants; the same applies to black pepper too.

Read more here for more information about here for more Natural and Nontoxic Ways To Get Rid of Ants.

Remove carpenter ant Inside the house

These are the best options on to get rid of carpenter ants inside the house.

  1. Keep all floors and surfaces clean and free from dust on a regular basis as this is the best way to keep carpenter ants and other insects at bay.
  1. Use hot water and soap when cleaning; it will not only kill ants naturally but gives your home a good and clean smell.
  1. Remove your rubbish as often as you can by keeping it far from your home.
  1. Close the lid on your bin at all times.
  1. Place spoiled food in a plastic packet and throw it in your bin.
  1. Do not leave food exposed around your home, especially bread and sugar.
  1. Utilize an ant trap or insecticide if needed.

Get Rid of Carpenter Ants Inside the house

These are the best options to get rid carpenter ants outside the house

  1. Correct problems regarding moisture, plumbing and roof leaks.
  2. Have limbs or branches of trees cut down as this will serve as an ideal bridge for carpenter ants to go to your structure.
  3. Seal all cracks tightly including openings at the foundation, especially the utility pipes and wires coming from outside.
  4. Keep your stack of firewood far from the house possible on elevated grounds.

Do’s and Don’ts on how to get rid of carpenter ants

Carpenter ants whittle galleries into wood and moist and decaying wood are their preferences as a result they are likely to move around the house looking for more structures of sound wood to be their future nest. When you handle carpenter ants infestation, you consider these dos and don’ts for a way to eliminate them.

Dos For How To Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

  1. Follow continuously these tips to help prevent any future ant problems.
  2. Pay close attention to the movements of the ants as to where they are emerging; this could be a good clue indicating the location of the colony.
  3. Investigate the wood around your place; inspect the trees and falling branches for any visible signs of carpenter ants’ activity.
  4. Contact your local pest control company so that a professional can do the inspection and identification of the ant species and do their best to advise you on how to get rid of carpenter ants.

Don’ts For How To Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

  1. Try to open up the infested wood with carpenter ants as you might be creating further structural damage.
  2. Attempt destroying carpenter ants yourself using insect spray from the corner store. These are ineffective attempts to end the ant colony. It will not stop your infestation problem.
  3. Lose too much time before deciding to call professionals in ant control, because you are risking a lot of money you will need to repair structural damages.

Carpenter ants are often absolved for causing any serious structural damage to wooden structures; however, when left unabated for a longtime, these ants are no longer harmless as they could cause serious damage. How to get rid of carpenter ants is a tedious job and needs immediate attention. Doing the treatment you will save some amount but it is best to contact a pest control professional in the event of an infestation. To prevent carpenter ant invasion, follow the options given in this article. A professional help can go a long way in keeping carpenter ants infestations. Incorrect procedures may allow the colony to be reborn when the surviving members continue burrowing and foraging the woods around them.

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