How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Ants At Minimal Cost To You!

Carpenter ants can be difficult to get rid of and even if you are a fairly clean person, you may find these ants invading your home for no apparent reason. While there are many removal guides on the internet, this one will outline the exact steps needed to kill them and will teach you how to get rid of carpenter ants quickly! While all pest problems are usually frustrating, a carpenter ant invasion can have fairly disastrous effects as they have the ability to burrow through wood which sometimes even weakens the structural integrity of your home. Besides that, ignoring the problem may allow them to grow in numbers which can have other long term affects that you definitely want to avoid at all costs. Firstly, remember that although ant traps do work, in this DIY guide we are going to focus on a few natural tips to kill these pests. If you are insistent on purchasing one, make sure it has been specifically designed for these types of ants and remember that they may be dangerous for your pets and family. I highly recommend that you try natural methods first as we will discuss.

A Few Facts About Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ant on paper

  1. This type of ant are known for their strange ability to catch, live with, protect and physically “milk” aphids for their “honeydew” (which has a very high sugar concentration).
  2. While not as destructive as termites, carpenter ants can cause a significant amount of damage due to their often large numbers and the potential size of their nest.
  3. If you use a stethoscope, sometimes you can actually hear these ants burrowing through wood!
  4. Despite their name, the carpenter ant’s diet does not consist of wood! However, these pests are known to damage or destroy wood to create their nest or to expand their colony. This makes them dangerous for any sensible home owner and it’s critical that you get rid of them as quick as possible!

Types Of Carpenter Ants In The US

Please note that this article outlines techniques to combat all species of carpenter ants, from anywhere in the world. The three types specified below and their commonly found locations (in the US) are simply for informational purposes only.

The Florida carpenter ant are usually slightly red in appearance and as the name implies, are usually found in Florida, US. “Camponotus Modoc ants” are found in the western part of the US and their bodies are usually slightly longer and browner in appearance. “Black carpenter ants” are often found in the eastern US and are usually rather large.

Home Tips – How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Ants

Since carpenter ants all contribute to the operation of the colony and given their large numbers, finding food is a high priority! So when you see carpenter ants crawling around your home, they are not usually there to hurt anyone but rather are looking for any leftover food that they can take back to their nest. Ants are actually rather organized when it comes to gathering food and finding places to shelter their colony, the worker ant is responsible for these tasks. I have personally found that these types of ants tend to find their way into your house from a rotten tree stump or any old, broken wood outside your home so make sure that you check that out before continuing.

How to Remove Carpenter Ants Inside

Yep, while this may seem obvious, giving all your surfaces and floors a good clean on a regular basis can do wonders for any ant control problem. In fact, I have personally found that this may even be enough to solve a carpenter ant infestation because without a readily available food source, these ants will find somewhere more suitable. Use hot water and soap when doing you’re cleaning, both of these will kill ants naturally and has the added benefit of making your home smell good ;) Also remember to:

  1. Take your rubbish out as often as you can and keep it away from your home.
  2. Keep the lid on your bin, especially if it’s inside.
  3. Put old food in a separate plastic packet before you throw it in your bin (this works well!)
  4. Never leave food lying around your home, especially things like bread and sugar.
  5. Use an ant trap or insecticide if needed (see more below).

How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Ants Outside

picture - how to get rid of carpenter ants outside image 1 As previously mentioned, hot water and soap gets rid of ants fairly well so if you are lucky enough to find the ant nest or ant hole, pour some of that into it! Depending on the size of the nest, this can often kill the entire ant colony, including the queen ant which will ensure that the ants leave you in peace. I have been told that soda water also works fairly well so give that a try as well. However, I would just go with the hot water and soap as this will suffocate and eradicate them quickly. If you get stuck, I would love to help you get rid of these pests and if you leave your comment below, I will personally answer any questions you may have!

How to Eradicate Carpenter Ants With Diatomaceous Earth!

One of the best natural, safe carpenter ant killer has to be Diatomaceous earth (Food Grade). Often used to dry flowers, this substance will kill ants and even can be used for fleas by dehydrating them and despite what you may be thinking, it actually works rather quickly and is very effective. It also comes in a powered form so use it in the following areas:

  1. Inside electrical sockets (plug points).
  2. In any sort of cracks (walls, ceiling, pipes, window frames, etc)
  3. Near any visible areas where ants seem to congregate.

How To Control Carpenter Ants With Home Remedies To Keep Them Out!

Picture of carpenter ant on branch Most of the time, your carpenter ant problem will not disappear immediately and its recommended to be proactive in your approach now that you have learnt how to get rid of carpenter ants, which often requires a repeat of the steps mentioned above. For more general ant control tips, check out my latest guide on getting rid of ants for more easy to follow steps for killing these pests nice and quickly.

Get Advice From An Ant Exterminator For Your Pest Problem

Picture of a carpenter ant If you have followed the steps recommended in this article and still have a problem, The Bug Squad highly recommends you call an exterminator. While they might be expensive, if you have carpenter ants, the damage they could do to your furniture and other household objects can cost you even more. Just make sure they don’t just give your home a quick spray and then take your money from you. Spraying often isn’t enough and while it may kill the worker ants temporarily, this can actually make your ant problem worse in the long run as the queen will increase her output of eggs to make up for it. Ideally you want them to give you a solution which involves the ants taking the poison down into their nests, thus killing the entire colony and hopefully the queen.

I hope that you enjoyed my article and will use the information to help you exterminate a carpenter ant invasion. Killing these pests are a fairly high priority and if you have anything to share or ask, please do so in the comment section below and I will try get back to you within 24 hours. Lastly, please consider sharing this information on twitter/Facebook/etc so that others can also learn how to get rid of carpenter ants and can benefit from the hard work that has been put into this article. Thanks for reading and I hope you visit again soon :)

Natasha Anderson

Natasha Anderson

Hi there! My name is Natasha and I would like to thank you for reading this guide. If you have any concerns or would like to ask a question about this article, I encourage you to leave a comment below and I will provide a reliable answer within about 24 hours. Remember, all this information is provided at absolutely no cost and if you have enjoyed what you have read, please show your appreciation by sharing this post on your favorite social network below. I look forward to helping you!
Natasha Anderson
Natasha Anderson
Please note that the contents of this guide is for informational purposes only. If you would like to receive professional advice to diagnose a pest control related problem, please contact your local exterminator immediately.


  1. Mindyourownbizniche says:

    Thank you very much for sharing this information.  I will try your suggestions.  I especially appreciate that you provide safe ways to eliminate the carpenter ant problem because I have young children in the home.

  2. Natasha Anderson says:

    Its a pleasure and I am very glad that you have found it useful. I always prefer to recommend natural methods first and I am sure that they will help solve your carpenter ant problem at home  :)

  3. Mellisa says:

    I Have recently discovered that my furniture is infested with carpenter ants. Do you think that I should throw them away or do you have any advice for me to rid them of the ants?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Mellisa!

      Sorry to hear about your carpenter ant problem, I know that it can be very frustrating when these little pests start destroying things that are valuable to you. To answer your question, it really depends on how much damage they have done. If the piece of furniture is damaged to the point of being unstable, its likely that it will have to be discarded, especially if its something like a bed. As a recommendation, try using an ant trap or use some Diatomaceous earth to get rid of them and then determine the extent of the damage before making a decision. If you need any further assistance, please just ask :)

  4. Tsc9275 says:

    I have been infested with black ants    It is winter here, I’m not sure if they’re just harmless ants looking for food or they  are carpenter ants.  The ants in your pictures look like they are brown.   Any advice  Thanks

  5. Natasha Anderson says:

    Hey Tsc! Black ants are a different species and while they can be found in wood and other places, you can usually use pretty much the same remedies for them. The only time for concern is when you have fire ants as those require a different approach to get rid of them. Hope that helps, feel free to ask any questions and I will try my best to answer them :)

  6. MichaelTheMan says:

    My cabinet is filled with carpenter ants and i’m very worried of the old furniture that is being displayed there. Those furniture were passed down from my family’s generation and it would be waste to have them munched by those ants. Do you know any sort of traps? A quick-to-make trap will do. I’d rather go natural since i”ll be dealing with old furnitures. Thanks

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Michael! Sorry ot hear about your carpenter ants, they can be a real pain in the ass lol. I recommend using an ant bait specifically used for these types of ants and make sure its the granules. The ants will take this into their homes and they will be killed, simple and effective. Good luck!

  7. Jeremy Nichols says:

    Great tips. I found several ant holes in my pine tree right in front of house. I used ant b gon at the base (liquid) and on the nest holes as well (the ones I could reach). Should I immediately use dish soap and water on the nest entrance or wait a few days in hopes that the bait works? I was thinking of spraying the perimeter of house once I feel the problem is currently solved. Also how do you get the soap/water into the tiny holes? I also have borax for future bait recipe. Thanks

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Jeremy! Ant be gone is actually a rather decent product and I have used it in the past. I suggest that you wait a few days before using the soap solution, purely to see whether it was worth the purchase or not. Your suggestion of spraying your perimeter is a good one but remember that there are also natural solutions like lavender, etc. but of course, that is your choice :) I usually just mix the soap and water into a spray bottle (simular to what you would use for insecticides) with a pressure valve and that gets the job done. Let me know if you need any further help :)

  8. sheila coles says:

    Black ants in shed in 2x4s. When I poked the wood they swarmed and they and some eggs ( think) fell on the floor. There are three pieces of wood stacked on top of each other and not within my reach.Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Sheila! You can use an ant foam that is treated with borates. This can be “shot” up into the areas where you cannot reach and should be able to get those ants that are escaping your wrath. ;)

  9. Kathleen says:

    Hi Natasha: I have several flower gardens outside and one is bordered with wood, like railroad beams. My home is built on a cement slab and I have noticed around the bottom edging that the ants are nesting in specific areas. They are also in the wood on the side of the house where the garden is and throughout the wood beams the the garden is built in. I have picked up decorative rocks in the garden and they are even in there by the hundreds. I see wood shavings at the inside corner where the wood beams start. I am constantly cleaning the area. I think that it getting far worse. I don’t seem to have any problems in the home. Just outside. I have tried Ant Sprays from the stores with no good results. I have heard that you can use borax and sugar and heat it up and place cotton balls soaked in it in a lid and that it should help. Can you give me any advise?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Kathleen! I recommend using a borax and syrup mix and leave a couple of these around the ant nests or wherever you are having the problem. When the ants find this food, they will bring it back inside their nest and this will kill them. If their queen takes a nibble and she dies, this will result in the entire colony moving elsewhere, hopefully away from your house and gardens ;)

  10. Lori Van Pelt says:

    Hello, we have a trailer up north in the woods, we have had a lot of rain and this is the 1st time in 5 years I have found 4 or 5 crawling around. I have never seen them up until now. We are only up there once a month. We keep things very clean and leave no food because of critters, ants and bears. What do you suggest I leave out to kill them when we are not there. We did put bombs off but I understand that will only go after the ones that may be inside the trailer. Thank you – Lori

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Lori! That is correct, it will only kill insects inside the trailer and additionally, the chemical residue will only last for a week or two at the most. My recommendation is that you use borax powder and leave a fine “dusting” of it in the trailer. This is completely natural and will keep away most insects, including ants. You can also use DE in the same manner. Let me know if you need any further help!

  11. Charl says:

    Sawdust on the ground underneath a huge maple tree right outside our front door. Any ant nests are too high for us to see. What is the best way to treat this problem?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Charl! I suggest making sure that its not termites as a similar sight can be seen when those pests infest a yard. If it is termites, here is a simple process you can follow (I will be doing an entire series of guides for this pest soon, about 15 to 20 articles so stay tuned for that):

      1) Spray some termiticide around the base of the tree and any other trees that may be infected.
      2) Spray each tree trunk up to the height of 3 feet

      This should kill them off and hopefully will solve your problem. Alternatively, I recommend getting an exterminator to take a look at it, especially since its a large tree and may cause major damage if it falls in the next couple years.

  12. faye says:

    my daughter and i have just moved into a 1840 colonial in central NH. today it has been raining hard and i went up to the attic to check on things and i found about 20 to 25 good sized black ants up there. this is the first time in the two months i’ve lived here that i’ve found ants in the attic. when we first moved in i found what i feared was a carpenter ant in the downstairs bathroom so i called and had the outside of the house sprayed. after reading about carpenter ants i’ve found that was the worst thing i could have done. this is a huge house and to try and find the nest would be very tough. what should i put up in the attic.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Faye! Since they are confined to a single place, I recommend leaving a couple ant traps up there and to keep an eye on the situation. Although natural methods are great, in your specific situation I think that those traps will be the most hands off approach (and least expensive route) that you can take. Let me know how that goes after a couple weeks, I am sure you will see positive results :)

  13. Ginni says:

    I have found ants that I am assuming are carpenter ants climbing in my trees. I have found ‘sawdust’ at the base of my tower poplar trees. I have about twenty mature trees about 30′ tall. Only three of them have the sawdust at the base and they are not adjacent to each other. There are several trees between each. I can see holes in the trees where I assume the nesting is. How do I get rid of these before they kill my trees and/ or spread to the rest of the trees. I appreciate anything you can do for me

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Ginni! You can use an ant trap product (such as Terro) at the bases of the trees or alternatively, I recommend using the soap and water method if possible. I have had a few of my readers recommend something called Beneficial Nematodes and apparently they are rather effective so you can also give it a try. Let me know how that goes and if I can help you further :)

  14. Tia Bonnett says:

    I have a rather large ant problem. My son killed one ant is is closet and I go to check it out. Next thing its 30+ ants crawling on the wall, the door of his closet, and amongst the baseboards. I took the baseboards off and it seems like the ants are going up under the baseboards, and somewhere into the wall. There are no windows on this side of his room. My only guess is they could be coming from the basement as that side of the house has a lot of trees outside the foundation? Any suggestions with out have to rip my sons carpert or tear a hole in the wall to find the nest

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Tia! Based on your current predicament, I highly recommend the use of an ant trap that is specifically designed for carpenter ant removal. You can place these in those areas and you will start to see results after about a week, give or take. Alternatively, you could call a pest control expert to treat the area and if this is preferably, don’t forget to ask them to quote you first for the work. Good luck!

  15. MsLady Davis says:

    Thanks Natasha your answers sound pretty good, I will try some of them. I have black ant infestation in my apartment that I just moved into about 5mths ago. I’ve been bitten from my feet up, didn’t know black ants bite. Im itching horribly. I have a cat also and it seems like the ants are driving him crazy because he be running all around the house and he can see what I can’t. Some suggested putting cornmeal around the house because they will take it back to their colony and it will kill them because they can’t digest it, stomach blows up. So since then I haven’t seen that many maybe one here n there.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Heya! Awesome, let me know how it goes! I havn’t personally used that method but I have also seen that method floating around so give it a try and let us know how it goes. If you get a fairly good success rate, we can outline the entire process in this article. Cheers!

  16. Katherine Thomas says:

    We have what we think are big black carpenter ants in our pole barn ceiling. It has 12 inches of insulation and it seems to be on one side of the barn only. I read about the diatomaceous earth solution so I was wondering if we pulled out the insulation and spread the earth around if this should get rid of our problem? We live in the middle of 40 acres in Northern Michigan and are surrounded by thousands of pine and poplar trees. I noticed this past summer that a few of the stumps have a lot of sawdust at their bases. Thank you in advance for your advice….K

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Kath! Sounds like a great idea, especially since it will be under cover (DE shouldn’t get wet otherwise it looses its effectiveness). Let me know how it goes and if you have any success, I can definitely let others know :)

  17. corey says:

    hi we have a carpenter ant infestation in our trailer at a campsite surrounded by trees, also , there are aphids in the aspen all around the trailer, i think i have found the nests main location, but it looks like they have made it into the exterior walls, what should i do first

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey! If they are inside the walls, I recommend having them professionally removed as it can potentially cause significant damage to your trailer. Alternatively, you could always visit your local garden outlet and apply the necessary treatment yourself, just make sure you apply it properly :)

  18. Shwan says:

    I can’t tell what type of ant it is but I’ve had a steadily increasing problem over the last month with ants coming out from the crack where the wall and wood floor meet. They are now crawling over the walls and floor with no apparent food source to reach. It began with cat food. I’ve tried Terro bait and it doesn’t seem to have worked. I have a cat. What to do?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Shwan! If you have tried the tips in this article and they didn’t work, it might be worth just getting an exterminator to come over and have a look. Let me know if I can send you some free quotes :)

  19. joe says:

    soap and water kills the ants but just does not kill the Queen. the Queen can live up to 3 months with no food. the queen is so deep in the ground it is very difficult to get to her if you just pour soap and water on top of your old tree stump. the soil pretty much filters it out by the time it gets to her. even if soapy water kills the other ants, by suffocating them by the way, the Queen could still have a buttload of eggs to lay. the only thing that works after 3 years of fighting these things at my house was straight boric acid powder. I squirted it with a pointed top bottle down in the holes of my tree bark which were the tunnels they were traveling through at night to come out and forage for food and I sprayed the powder across my attic floor where they were living in their second colony which they had formed over 3 years. just make sure you wear goggles and a mask as this powder flies everywhere!!! I have not seen a carpenter ant in over a year- I did not see one carpenter ant after one day

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Joe! Thanks for that insight, you are absolutely correct about the queen. That’s a great suggestion, would you mind if I added that to the guide? I have personally recommended it a couple times but I think it deserves a place in the article :)

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