How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Ants

Learn how to identify carpenter ants and the damage they cause. We'll teach you how to get rid of them inside your home and outside.

Learn how to identify and get rid of carpenter ants. The first step is to identify and look for carpenter ant signs and/or carpenter ant damage. After that, you can determine how to treat and control carpenter ants yourself with professional ant control products.

Carpenter ants are indigenous to many parts of the world. They nest outside in dead, damp wood, building smooth, distinctive-looking nests. They remove wood to create passageways through the wood grain to provide access to various nest areas known as galleries. Indoors, carpenter ants nest in any natural hollow, such as hollow-core doors, window sills, and wall voids.

Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood; however, they damage wood, from hollowing out trees to damaging the materials used in the construction of buildings. Sometimes you can find their nesting location by observing the presence of frass, the very fine sawdust they leave behind when constructing nests.

Carpenter Ant Identify and Inspection

Small Ants to the larger Carpenter Ant
Small Ants to the larger Carpenter Ant
  • Carpenter ants are large, from 1/4–3/8-inches long, and are one-node ants.
  • They are dark brown to black, but some may have red or yellow coloration.
  • The Black carpenter ant, Camponotus pennsylvanicus, in the east, and C. modoc in the west are the most thoroughly studied species in the United States.
  • Other species of Camponotus are distributed throughout the country.
  • The queens are slightly bigger than the workers.
  • The workers of an established colony vary in size.
  • The most common variety of carpenter ant is large and black, but the Florida carpenter ant is smaller and ranges in color from yellow, red, brown to black.

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Carpenter Ant Identification and Inspection
Black Carpenter Ants
Black Carpenter Ants

Black Carpenter Ants

Eastern United States: (Camponotus pennsylvanicus)

  • Color: All black
  • Workers: 1/4–1/2-inch in size
  • Queen: Large, over 1/2-inch in size
  • Swarming: Colony matures in 3–4 years, swarming occurs in late spring–summer
  • Distribution: Mid West to Eastern States

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Black Carpenter Ants
Florida carpenter ant
Florida carpenter ant

Florida Carpenter Ants

  • Color: Red head, black abdomen, thorax, and legs
  • Workers: Smaller, 3/16–3/8-inches in size
  • Queen: Large, over 1/2-inch in size
  • Swarming: Unmated swarmers in satellite colonies
  • Distribution: Florida and southeast U.S. Colony size: Up to 3,500 workers.
  • Nests: Seeks to nest in existing voids or excavates soft woods that are rotten and styrofoam.

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Florida Carpenter Ants

Get Rid Of Carpenter Ants ( 3 Steps )

1. Inspection

The first step in carpenter ant control is an inspection. The purpose of the inspection is to determine if they are located outside and simply foraging inside for food or if you have a colony or satellite colony inside your home.

Click Here: Carpenter Ant Inspection Tips.

2. Determine Treatment / Control Measures

Once you complete your inspection and identify nest locations and foraging trails, the next step is to determine which control measure to use. Carpenter ants are controlled through the application of insecticides and sprays in various forms. These forms include liquid concentrates, baits, dust, and foams.

3. Prevention

The final step is to prevent further infestations by ant-proofing your home and yard, clearing away rotting trees and lumber piles, fixing plumbing leaks, etc.

Click Here: Prevention Tips.

Non-Repellent Insecticide Sprays for Carpenter Ant Control

Spraying Procedures for Foraging Carpenter Ants

At times you will have foraging ants that come inside, forage for food, and then return to their outdoor nests. You can block these foraging ants using a perimeter treatment with a non-repellent residual insecticides such as Navigator SC or Termidor SC also control a wide variety of insects including Termites, Spiders, Roaches, Centipedes, Millipedes, Ticks, and many more.

Carpenter Ant Bait Products

Baiting Procedures for Foraging Carpenter ants and Carpenter ants in recessed areas.

Apply carpenter ant baits after inspecting their trails. The ant baits listed below are designed to attract carpenter ants. The foraging carpenter ants pick up the bait and share it with the entire colony, killing it.

  • Do not put repellent insecticides, liquid or granulated, in the same area as baits unless these insecticides are classified as non-repellents. Repellent insecticides repel the insects away from the baits, rendering the baits useless. Use only non-repellent insecticides in the same area as baits.
  • It is important to remove other competing food sources (such as crumbs and pet food) that could interfere with the ants taking the bait.

A good treatment choice is to bait both inside and the ground outside with a combination of baits.

  • Both of the baits listed below are designed to allow foraging workers to take the bait to the queen in the nest, eliminating the colony/colonies, thereby preventing future outdoor populations from coming inside.
  • These baits work well on carpenter ants and resist the elements, making them hard choices for outside baiting. Carpenter ants feed on sweet foods during certain cycles, and at other times feed on protein foods.
  • Use both baits for a complete balance of Ant's dietary needs.

Maxforce Fleet Ant Bait

Maxforce Fleet is a Fipronil carbohydrate-based gel with a high moisture content that gets rid of ants within 3-5 days. If the carpenter ants are feeding on sugar, they will eat it and store it and regurgitate it later to share with other ants. Apply Maxforce Fleet with the syringe applicator or bait injector in small amounts where you see the ants running.

Advance 375A Ant Bait Gel

The Advance 375 A Ant Bait is a protein-based food for the Ant's protein needs. Use Maxforce Fleet if they are feeding on sugar or carbohydrates.

Carpenter Ant Bait Combo

Combines both Maxforce Fleet and Advance 275A in kit forms for greater savings.

Treating the Voids (Colonies Inside a Hollow Area)

Indoor nests (voids) are found in hollow doors, window sills, behind baseboards, or other natural hollow areas. These are the areas that warrant a complete inspection. Indoor carpenter ant damage oftentimes indicates water damage and wood decay. Making necessary repairs will help prevent re-infestation. If you suspect the nest is in a wall, drill and treat at least 2–6 feet on either side of where the Ants are entering in order to maximize the opportunity to contact the nest directly, so you can get the queen.

Note: Do not use a liquid insecticide in a wall void. Treat wall voids and other hidden spaces where Ants hide by carefully drilling a series of small (1/8-inch) holes and dusting the area with a residual insecticide dust such as D Fense Dust. You can also use a non-repellent aerosol with a crack and crevice tips such as Spectre PS Aerosol, Alpine PT Aerosol, or foaming aerosol such as Alpine Ant Termite Foam. These methods provide a long-term residual effect.

WARNING: Never use liquid insecticides or metal-tipped devices around any electrical outlets.

Use Dust To Apply Into Void Areas

D Fense dust is to be used as a dust in void areas. Use a duster with it for the best application.

Use Aerosols To Apply Into Void Areas

Both Spectre PS Aerosol and Alpine Aerosols are non-repellent insecticides with crack and crevice tips. They work well in void areas where you don't know exactly where the nest is located.

The aerosols will flow into the void area.

Use Aerosol Foam To Apply Into Void Areas

Fuse Foam and Alpine Foams are non-repellent foam insecticides. Fuse Foam has a 30:1 expansion ratio to foam into ant and termite nests and galleries and structural voids. It's great for getting into hard-to-reach areas.

Carpenter Ant Prevention

Follow these steps to prevent carpenter ant infestations:

  1. Correct moisture problems, roof leaks, and plumbing leaks.
  2. Cut back tree limbs or branches that could serve as a bridge to your structure.
  3. Seal cracks and openings around the foundation, especially where utility pipes and wires enter from the outside.
  4. Stack firewood away from the house, elevated off the ground if possible. Carpenter ants love to nest in firewood.
  5. Contact Us for further information and help with your carpenter ant issue. 1-800-476-3368

Various Ants That Invade Homes and Businesses