How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

15 Simple Ways to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants Effectively

By Kelly Ventura  •  Last Update: 16/10
14 minutes read.  •  Home » DIY Pest Control

Want to learn how to get rid of carpenter ants? Read this post to the end to discover 20 easy ways to get rid of carpenter ants for good.

Carpenter ants are small, usually black, ants that like to nest in damp woods.

Like termites, they can easily infest wooden infrastructure within homes, driving every homeowner crazy. Fortunately, there are many solutions on how to get rid of carpenter ants within your premises.

Unlike termites that feed on wood, carpenter ants hollow out portions of wood to build their nests. They create galleries (tiny grooves) in damp wooden structure to create passageways.

Without any treatment, these tiny insects can cause widespread damage to that particular wood. They can also develop more nests in other wooden structures.

The common methods on how to get rid of carpenter ants in house include diatomaceous earth, baits, insecticides, and natural treatments.

The first thing that you need to do is to identify the pesky creature you are dealing with correctly. You want your baits and pesticides to work effectively.

Signs of Carpenter Ants

Like termites, carpenter ants can damage any wood in your house. You can tell if the damages are done by ants when you see small tunnels with piles of dust behind. Termites eat wood whereas carpenter ants burrow through walls, ceilings, doors and other wooden items.

1. Ants around your home – Ants do not usually indicate an infestation. However, a large number of these insects inside your home can be a sign that there is a nest inside.

2. Frass – These are sawdust-like material that carpenter ants leave behind as they burrow through the wood to create nests. In the pile of frass, you may also notice some of their body parts.

3. Rustling sounds – Carpenter ants work on wood to make large nests, and they leave crinkling, crunching and rustling noise.

4. Hollow wood – Another way to figure out if carpenter ants have infested your home is by tapping on damp wall, cabinets or beams. The affected areas will sound hollow.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Here are the best solutions on how to eliminate carpenter ants present in your home.

1. Locate the Nest

Before implementing any of the solutions below, it is important to find their nest to make sure that you are dealing with carpenter ants. Some insects like termites may look similar to carpenter ants and will require a different method.

2. Decide Which Control Measure

You can control carpenter ants by applying sprays and insecticides in various forms. Depending on the severity of infestation, you can use:

Just make sure that you are dealing with carpenter ants and not termites. In some cases, termite infestations require a professional to successfully get rid of all of them.

3. Set Baits

You can bait to kill carpenter ants within a few days. Working ants will take the bait and share it with the rest of them, including their queen.

When placing baits in infested areas, keep repellent insecticides away as it will make the bait ineffective. Make sure that you also remove other food sources like candies, sweet fruits, pet food and crumbs that may stop ants from taking your bait.

These products are designed to lure ants so they can take the bait to their queen hiding in the nest. These also contain sweet food sources for carpenter ants. Alternatively, you can make your own bait by following some of the solutions below.

4. Insecticide Spray

You can use insecticide spray to kill scavenging ants that try to enter your home. To block them, you can use non-repellent pesticides as a perimeter treatment.

Some sprays will kill these insects right away. There are also products that coat their bodies to kill them gradually so that the toxic chemical has a change to reach their nest.

If you want to get insecticide spray, here are some of the effective carpenter ant sprays that you can purchase:

Most sprays for carpenter ants are also effective against termites, cockroaches, spiders, ticks, centipedes, millipedes and other insects. It is crucial to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and keep these products away from children and pets.

5. Drill Holes (Treating Voids)

If you are dealing with voids, it is not recommended to use liquid insecticide. Voids or indoor nests are found in window sills, behind baseboards, hollow doors, and other hollow areas.

Indoor carpenter ant infestation can sometimes be a sign of wood decay or water damage. You can prevent re-infestation by repairing your items.

One of the best methods on how to get rid of carpenter ants in your house is by drilling small holes in voids. Sprinkle insecticide dust or aerosol in the area.

You can use Alpine Aerosol, D Fense Dust or foams like Alpine Ant & Termite Foam.

Once you find their nest indoors, treat them with aerosol sprays or foam. If treated early, damages to your house can be avoided.

If you find a large colony burrowed inside your walls, it is best to call a professional. Do not cut try to remove or cut the wood as it will compromise the structure of your house.

6. Boric Acid

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants: Boric Acid Granules

Boric acid is an odorless powder that kills carpenter ants and other pests. It contains active minerals that have fungicidal, herbicidal, and insecticidal properties. You can use boric acid in powder or liquid form to control the infestation.

Keep boric acid bait out of reach of pets and children as they may get sick after contact with this mixture.

7. Diatomaceous Earth

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants: Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is one of the best solutions on how to get rid of carpenter ants in the house.

It is a mineral substance that has drying properties. With direct contact, diatomaceous earth will pierce their exoskeleton and they will eventually lose their bodily liquids.

This powder will remain effective as long as it is kept dry. This treatment is also effective against termites, cockroaches and other types of insects.

Limit exposure while using this treatment. Keep it away from children and pets. The effects of diatomaceous earth on humans and animals include skin and lung irritation.

8. Boiling Water

If you are lucky to find their nest outside, boiling water is one of the best methods on how to get rid of large ant hills.

The nest is where the carpenter queen hides can live up to fifteen years. Without finding the exact location of the nest, any of the solutions will not be able to eradicate all these insects as the queen will keep on laying eggs.

Destroy mature nests you may find outside. These are usually in rotting wood.

Try to open their nest and drench it with boiled water or a mixture of ant killer and water. This technique will kill the queen along with other working ants.

9. Cream of Wheat

This common breakfast cereal is also effective in killing ants. You can sprinkle a small amount of it in areas where you often see them.

Consider applying flavored cream of wheat to attract carpenter ants. Go for sweet versions but do not to use products with cinnamon as it repels them.

10. Cinnamon

Cinnamon can be used to deter carpenter ants. These insects do not like the scent and will stop from entering your home.

This treatment won’t kill them, but it will prevent ants from nesting in your walls, windows or doors.

How do you get rid of carpenter ants naturally using cinnamon? You can use cinnamon in oil, sticks, or powdered form.

If you have some cinnamon sticks, you also place them near entrances to deter ants.

11. Sugar and Baking Soda

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants: Baking Soda

If you are looking for another natural method on how to get rid of carpenter ants, you can use sugar mixed with baking soda to lure them.

  1. Mix equal parts of sugar and baking soda.
  2. Sprinkle small amounts in areas near the infestations. Ants will soon pick up the mixture and take it to their nest.

Ants have an acidic substance in their bodies, which will react as soon as they ingest baking soda. This method may not provide instant results, but it is highly effective.

Scavenging ants will carry both sugar and baking soda to their nest, where other ants and the queen will eat.

12. Clean Up Regularly

Ants wander around the house to look for food sources. They signal other ants to “report” whether they find food or not in your kitchen.

Cleaning your house regularly will prevent not only ants but also other insects from entering your home.

13. Seal Up Entry Points

Inspect your home for holes, cracks, and small spaces that let carpenter ants and other insects in. Check exterior walls carefully and pay more attention to the areas close to the foundation and ground.

If ants keep on coming back, consider installing artificial barriers to discourage them from entering your house.

14. Remove Wood Materials

Whether it is inside or outside, these annoying creatures like to nest in wood. One of the best solutions on how to get rid of carpenter ants outside your home is by eliminating all wood materials.

Once they start nesting near your home, these creatures can easily find their way inside your premises to look for food sources.

Inspect any wood sources near your place. Dispose of infested woods carefully or pour boiling water on it to eradicate them quickly. Check piles of yard, firewood piles, stumps and old trees for any infestation.

15. Eliminate Sources of Moisture

Moisture is one of the main factors that contribute to carpenter ant infestations. It also invites other insects like roaches, mosquitoes and termites to settle in your place.

Removing all possible sources of moisture makes it more challenging for carpenter ants to nest in or outside your home.

16. Vinegar

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants: Vinegar and Lemon Juice

Apple cider vinegar and white vinegar are effective against carpenter ants. Both have insecticidal and fungicidal properties that can be deadly to these creatures.

So how do you get rid of carpenter ants with vinegar? Follow these simple steps.

  1. Pour undiluted vinegar in an empty spray bottle.
  2. You can also mix in 1 tablespoon of eucalyptus or peppermint oil to make it more powerful.
  3. Mix it well and spray on areas where you usually see ants crawling.
  4. Spray it directly on ants you see.

This treatment will prevent them from wanting to enter your home. If you know where their nest is, you can pour 0.5 to 1 liter of vinegar over and around their nest to kill them quickly.

17. Dish Soap

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants: Dish Soap

Another effective treatment that you can use to kill carpenter ants and other insects is dish soap spray. Mixing it with cooking oil with dehydrate these small creatures to death.

This solution will suffocate and dehydrate the ants. Simply wipe their dead bodies with a wet cloth.

18. Glue Traps

Glue traps for carpenter ants and other insects are non-toxic. This method is also one of the best solutions on how to get rid of carpenter ants with wings.

After two or three days, these traps should be coated in carpenter ants and other insects. Throw them carefully and make more traps.

19. Lemon

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants: Lemons

Another effective natural remedy to get rid of carpenter ants is lemon water. These creatures do not like the scent of citrus fruits, especially lemons and limes.

Then, strain the liquid and pour it into a spray bottle. Spritz the mixture on areas where you always see ants.

20. Call an Exterminator

Most ant problems can be controlled with natural remedies or consumer products. When it comes to severe infestations, you may need to seek help from a professional exterminator.

Exterminators use chemicals that are more powerful than those products readily-available in the market. They can also evaluate the situation better and know which method to use to solve the problem.

Make sure that you let the exterminator know if you have pets, small children or other concerns so that he can take precautions before implementing poisons and traps needed.


Carpenter ants can make homeowners frustrated as they can cause a lot of damage. Like termites, these creatures can destroy your wooden structures if left unnoticed.

In case of infestation, there are plenty of things that you can try to eliminate them.

Keep in mind that you also need to make sure that your home is free from plumbing problems, leaks, and excessive moisture. Because carpenter ants like to nest in firewood, it is best to stack them away from your house.

Try some of the solutions mentioned above on how to get rid of carpenter ants. If you are not sure about the type of insect or you cannot get rid of their nest, call a professional.

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How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants: 20 Simple Ways You Can Do Today
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