7 Methods How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants Before the Damage is Done!

Apr 12, 2021 06:00 PM

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants - Photo by Salmen Bejaoui from Unsplash

Tripboba.com - Did you know that there are over 12,000 known species of ants out there in the world? Though they are harmless, they can be seriously destructive.

In warmer months, they can show up in your yard and even your home. They can also remain active from January to December, which means damage can be done no matter the season.

Now that you are here, let Tripboba help you with all you need to know about how to get rid of carpenter ants and other useful tips!

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants Naturally

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants - Photo by Robin Canfield from Unsplash

Before heading to how to get rid of carpenter ants right away, know what are you dealing with first. As you may know, carpenter ants got their name because of their way of damaging things. They don’t eat wood like termites, they chew and spat it out to make a path for themselves and their thousands of friends and family.

How do you know you have carpenter ants? The answer is when you start to see a pile of random particles that look like wood shavings – that is the sign!

Now, here are the steps on how to get rid of carpenter ants:

Step 1. Make bait to find the nest

Pest experts recommend installing bait so that ants can be brought back to the nest, so you can actually find the nest just by watching them. They are attracted to something sweet, so a little jam or jelly can be used.

You can also mix equal parts sugar and baking soda and place it in a shallow dish. Sugar attracts ants, but baking soda will naturally kill them.

Step 2. Get rid of scent trails 

Carpenter ants rely on pheromone traces to find food sources and travel. With you cleaning the surface where the ants travel, you have destroyed this treasure map to your home. Try to use essential oil such as tea tree, orange, lemon, or cedar wood on a cotton ball to wipe the surface to stop the traces.

Or, you can also mix a solution of one part dish soap to two parts water and pour it into a spray bottle. A 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water can also get rid of the carpenter ants naturally.

Step 3. Destroy the nest

After finding a nest by following the ants, you will have to enter the wall to destroy it. Try to drill 1/8" holes every 6 inches in areas you suspect may have nests.

Then, use a duster to "squeeze" the boric acid through the holes – Boric acid will kill the ants. To destroy the nest, you may have to repeat the treatment several times.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants in Trees

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants - Photo by Lance from Flickr

Carpenter ants don’t initially damage the tree, but are responsible for further damage to the already weakened or rotting tree. They take advantage of the softened wood and moisture and start building their nests. Although these ants are not the main cause of tree rot, they can prolong the damage as the tree may lose its natural strength to recover.

If you want to know about how to get rid of carpenter ants, take a look at the following step-by-step guide you can try:

Step 1. Find their nest in the tree

The first thing you can do is to locate the carpenter ant colony and find the holes they use to enter the nest. If you don't see a nest hole, take a scraper and use it to dig around the base of the tree. If you see lots of ants coming out of one place, it is most likely the nest.

Step 2. Use appropriate insecticides, such as liquid, dust, or bait

After you’ve found their nest, apply several types of insecticides. You can use dust (powder) or liquid insecticide. Ant baits also work.

If you plan to use insecticidal powder or dust on carpenter ants, spread it around the colony entrance evenly. The powder will kill any ants that touch it and will poison other ants that try to bring the dead back to the nest.

This is an easy and effective method of how to get rid of carpenter ants. Keep in mind to re-apply dust if it rains as the water will remove it from the tree.

If you choose liquid carpenter ant insecticide, spray or soak the nest entirely and then the tree starts at the bottom and works your way up the trunk.

Cover as large an area as possible as the ants will try to escape underground and around the edges. If you do a good job spraying the nest from the inside, you can completely kill it.

Step 3. Estimate the tree’s health

If the tree cannot be saved, remove it to prevent re-infestation. If not, try to save the tree by killing the ant colony and do maintenance as often as possible until you are sure that the colony is completely gone.

Step 4. Keep tracking other trees

Just keep in mind to check the entire area and surrounding trees to make sure they are healthy and there are no satellite colonies of carpenter ants.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants with Wings

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants - Photo by Brian Valentine from Flickr

Flying ants are not a unique ant species, but rather a developmental phase that is common to all ant species. Also known as alates, flying ants are male and female ants that have reached sexual maturity.

With the aim of mating, these ants fly out of the colony and they are usually most active on the warm days of late spring and summer, and their behavior often results in the formation of new colonies.

With the following ways how to get rid of carpenter ants with wings, you can try them at home and see if you can succeed.

1. Deal with problems immediately

You can get rid of clearly visible flocks with a vacuum cleaner, either handheld or full-sized with a hose coupling. Get out the vacuum cleaner bag immediately and get it out of the house so the ants can't find their way back inside.

Pesticide sprays will also kill any visible ants, whether they are crawling or flying. However, this won’t affect the hidden colonies, which will continue to breed more ants until they are handled. Spray should be used with extreme care when used indoors.

If you are very confident about the safety of commercial pest treatments, you can try the natural version by combining dish soap and peppermint oil. Fill a spray bottle with one part liquid soap, two parts water, and a few drops of oil, then spray it on the ants and the surrounding area. The soap you’re using dehydrates the insects, while peppermint oil suffocates them.

2. Attack the Colony

As with any ant infestation, you won’t clean your house of all ants unless you attack the colony where they breed. These colonies are a source of flying ants and are best treated by installing ant bait.

Ant bait is generally a sweet substance mixed with borax or other substances that interfere with the reproductive cycle of the ants. The ants take the bait and bring it back to the nest, which kills the entire colony.

As an alternative, insecticidal dust can be injected into areas where ants live. This solution is best handled by a professional ant control, and you should determine the exact location of the ant colony.

3. Replace damaged wood

If you see a swarm of winged ants – especially if you see them during the winter months when they are most likely to breed – there is likely a nest of carpenter ants in your home.

This can be quite a serious problem because carpenter ants are second only to termites in their ability to do structural damage. Flying carpenter ants are bigger than common house ants, 1 inch long.

If carpenter ants are a species that invade your home, it is important to remove and replace rotting and rotting wood on walls or under floors, as it is this decaying material that fosters the development of the ant colony.

This can sometimes be a fairly complex project if the damage is extensive, perhaps requiring professional contracting work. But you cannot guarantee that you have completely cleaned your house of carpenter ants unless you have removed the rotten wood they nest in.

Note: Ant bait is generally a harmless substance, but you should still be careful to place it in an area that pets and children cannot reach. Ant bait contains a sweet substance that attracts ants and is also delicious for pets. Insecticidal sprays and dusts are mildly toxic to pets and humans and should be used with caution and selection – aimed directly at visible ants, not being applied carelessly.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants in the House

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants - Photo by Coups Simples from Pexels

Know that ants need a water source in order to survive. To prevent them in your house, take a look at the step-by-step guide on how to get rid of carpenter ants in your house:

  • Step 1. Remove sources of moisture or standing water.
  • Step 2. Keep tree branches and other plants cut from the house. This is because sometimes pests use these branches to enter your home.
  • Step 3. Be aware that there should be no small cracks or gaps around the bottom of the door or around the windows.
  • Step 4. Cover all holes using silicone caulk.
  • Step 5. In addition, store firewood and building materials away from home. Carpenter ants like to nest in woodpiles.


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