Best Way to Kill Carpenter Ants

By HomeAdvisor

Published March 5, 2021

Close-up of black carpenter ant

The best way to kill carpenter ants is to bait them and find their nests within your walls. You can then drill holes and use boric acid to eliminate them or call in a professional exterminator. Fix leaks, replace damaged wood, and keep trees and bushes trimmed to prevent carpenter ants from coming back.

On This Page:

  1. Best Way to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants
  2. Best Product to Kill Carpenter Ants
  3. Best Way to Eliminate Carpenter Ants for Good

Carpenter ants can do real damage to your home. They tunnel through the wood in your walls to build nests and create colonies that can have anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 ants in them. If you suspect you have an infestation, you need to take care of it immediately to preserve your home, even if that means hiring a local ant exterminator.

Best Way to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

The best way to get rid of carpenter ants is to find and destroy their nest. Just killing the ones you see running across your floors, walls or counters won’t take care of the problem. Start by creating a bait near where you see the ants and watching them.

You can do this by placing a few drops of something sweet, like honey or jam, in the area. Watch the ants to see where they go after they’ve found the food source. Most carpenter ants come out at night, so you may need to stay up late to find them.

If you have a general idea of where the nest is located, you can try listening for shuffling sounds in the wall. Carpenter ants also leave something called frass near their nests. It looks like wood shavings, and it’s basically a pile of debris created after the ants clean their nests.

Once you’ve discovered a nest, you have some options. The easiest is to find out how much it would cost to hire an ant exterminator. A professional can get the job done without damaging your home or misusing dangerous products. However, if you prefer to do it yourself, you’ll need a drill.

Start by drilling small holes that are about one-eighth of an inch into your wall near the suspected nest area. Make a hole every six inches within three to six feet on either side of the suspected nest area. Be careful not to damage any pipes or electrical wiring. Next, you’ll add a product to kill the ants in their nest.

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Best Product to Kill Carpenter Ants

Boric acid is the best product to kill carpenter ants. While it’s low in toxicity, it’s best to use goggles, gloves and other protective equipment to protect your skin and eyes.

Once you find the nest, puff the boric acid powder into the hole. The acid will kill the ants, but you may need to repeat the process a few times to completely destroy the colony. Also, keep in mind that there may be multiple nests in your walls, which is another good reason to hire a professional exterminator service.

It’s tempting to head to your local garden or hardware store and look for a spray or insecticide that kills carpenter ants on contact. However, many professionals don’t recommend this. Simply killing the ants you see doesn’t solve the overall problem and can even make it worse.

If you kill the worker ants, the queen will just lay more eggs to replace them. Also, many insecticides that are strong enough to kill carpenter ants are not suitable for indoor use.

Best Way to Eliminate Carpenter Ants for Good

Once you’ve destroyed the nests, there’s a good chance carpenter ants will come back. The best way to handle pest control for the future is to create an unwelcome environment. Carpenter ants are particularly attracted to damaged wood and areas high in moisture.

  1. Eliminate any standing water inside and outside your home.
  2. Fix any leaks in your roof or walls that could be damaging the wood in your home.
  3. If possible, create a six-inch barrier between your wooden siding and the soil.
  4. Keep trees and bushes trimmed away from your outside walls.
  5. Replace any wood in your home that has been damaged by water.
  6. Seal any cracks or holes you find in your walls or foundation.
  7. Store firewood and any other type of wood debris away from your house.
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