How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Ants

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. In this DIY guide we are going to focus on a few natural tips and look at a few other options to kill these pests. If you decide to go the ant trap route, make sure you use one that has been specifically designed for these types of ants and remember to keep your pets away from them. Let’s have a look at our options for controlling these insects.

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.

Florida carpenter ants 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 🙂


  1. Avatar Pam says:

    Hi! For the last couple days medium to large black ants have been showing up in our bedroom and I’ve seen only two or three on the main level. Probably around 20 or so in the bedroom and one with wings. We live in an old farmhouse. I trapped one and killed it without smushing and I believe it is a carpenter ant. With only seeing that many please tell me you don’t think it’s a bad case. 🙂 I’m getting some ant traps and gonna mix the boric acid with powdered sugar and put it in dishes around our room. Our little guy isn’t on the floor yet so its a good time to try it. Do carpenter ants bite however…he’s still sleeping in our room and I hate the thought of him getting bitten. What else can we be doing and how do we know if we’ve gotten rid of them? Thank you!!

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Pam, please send me a photo of the ant, and I will confirm if it is indeed a carpenter ant for you 🙂 You can attach it to the email that gets sent when I answer this comment. The steps you have taken are good, just be sure that the traps are specifically for carpenter ants, as these will be the most effective. Have a good one.

  2. Avatar Jay says:

    What is the best bait for carpenter ant? I tried several purchased from homedepot or canadian tire but seems not working for carpenter ant

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Jay! Please check Amazon, etc for a product called “Advance Carpenter Ant Killer Control Kit”, it is very good. Hope that helps.

  3. Avatar Nicole says:

    We had a horrible winter that caused a lot of damage to homes throughout the county, including ours. Ice dams took out our gutters and awnings which couldn’t be replaced until the spring. I’m fairly certain the water damage resulted in carpenter ants in the house. I’ve tried the traps and diatomaceous earth (food grade) and didn’t see any for a couple of days but I’m now seeing them again. Because they randmly on curtains or walls in several different rooms I have not been able to figure out where they’re coming from. I’m at my wits end and assume that I need to call in an expert at this point, correct?

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Nicole! It is always tricky to find out where they are coming from, but unfortunately unless you want to hire an exterminator, you will have to do this. Maybe try the trap again, making sure that it is specifically for that species of ant, and see if you can trace them back to where they take it. Hope this helps.

  4. Avatar Ron says:

    I have sawdust accumulating at the bottom of a screened porch corner post. The posts are wrapped with aluminum. Any suggestions?

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Ron, I would first check if it is definitely carpenter ants that are causing the damage. Let me know!

  5. Avatar Bob says:

    Is Delta dust effective in getting rid of carpenter ants?

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Bob! Never used it, so I cannot really comment hehe. Let me know if it works for you!

  6. Avatar Lynne says:

    Hi, I believe I have carpenter ants in my house. Large, reddish brown, nocturnal, and fast moving. They only seem to go for cat food. At first I thought they were limited to the kitchen where the cat food is but now I’m finding them on the laminate floor in my bedroom which is far on the other side of the house. This house is not airtight so I don’t think I can fully prevent entry. I don’t know why I have them now after living here 20 years unless it was the rotten firewood recently dumped about 30 feet from house. Will getting rid of that wood help or do you think they have set up residence in my house permanently?

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Lynne! Only way to know is to try follow them back to a nest. However, I recommend that you get rid of that old wood and don’t stress, see if the situation improves a week or two afterwards. Let me know!

  7. Avatar Steve says:

    I’ve had carpenter ants that have made nests in cellar before. Exterminator sprayed pine trees in back and front yard. Then he found nest under cellar insulation. Finally he put some kind of powder chemical and I had no carpenter ants for 2 years until now. If I spray Ortho home solution randomly on trees, ant holes, etc without knowing nest location, will the ants spread out and make my problem worse?

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Steve, it won’t make the problem worse, as they will typically just move to a different location (all of them). If there is a large infestation, it is usually cheaper in the long run to get an exterminator to sort it out (just being honest), so maybe give that guy a call again. Hope that helps.

  8. Avatar Heather says:

    Hi there, each spring for the past couple years I will find one (or two) red/black carpenter ant wandering at night. It always seems to be in the living room (from the front door) to the kitchen path. I kill them as I see them. My dog died last year but he suffered several nasty ant bites being near the path. Anyway, it lasts a few weeks to month or so and then I see nothing after that until the next year. It just started again last night. It didn’t quite sound like an infestation but I don’t know what to make of it. Any thoughts?

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Heather, sorry to hear about your dog 🙁 Honestly, I have no clue what it could mean, probably nothing honestly. Definitely not an infestation like you said. Sorry I cannot be of further assistance.

  9. Avatar Christine says:


    I have found sawdust at the bottom of one of my kitchen cabinets, since then I’ve found about 5 upstairs and 5 downstairs. I liked them all and now see about 3 a day…what should I do? I’m renting and the landlord doesn’t think it’s a problem because they aren’t concentrated in large enough numbers.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Christine, I suggest that grab yourself some carpenter ant bait. They are usually very effective and affordable, and are perfect since your landlord sounds unwilling to send an exterminator. Let me know if that works for you.

  10. Avatar Kay says:

    Hi Natasha! Have a stump hoping to be used as a cake stand for my daughter’s wedding. Put in shed over winter arnd now full of ants. Soaked it in boiling water with bleach for several hours which killed a bunch and now have it in a big tub with mosquito netting over top. Put cardboard with Terro and more dead ants but still some living. Was going to dust with diatomaceous earth and hollow out bottom side. Dust again Then polyurethane the heck out of it. Any other suggestions? I’m losing hope!

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Kay! Sorry this is a little late but I think that will work out nicely, especially the last part. I say go for it, don’t give up!

  11. Avatar Mike Lee says:

    what do i do now that the carpenter ants have eaten through my baseboards inside my house? tear the baseboard out and spray inside now? they got through window from ouside.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Mike, I suggest getting someone in to assess the damage. It might be possible to repair instead.

  12. Avatar Paula Baron says:

    I hdave a tulip tree in front yard infested with Carpenter Ants. Now the tree has to come down, but all the carpenter ants are now in my house. My Daughter and I can’t sleep, eat, it’s making us physically ill. The exterminator has been ot 3 times sprayed, and wasn’t happy that we used diatomaceous earth over the week-end. These things are climbing up the walls, and one bit me, which really made me crazy. What can I do naturally to keep these things away from us. They are everywhere.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Paula! Soapy water kills ants instantly so start with that. Honestly though, he has sprayed three times without success and then is irritated that you tried a natural option that has proven to work? Sheesh, you should be angry that you have paid him and his chemicals are not working lol.

  13. Avatar Kenny A says:

    Hello! I have an infestation of these carpenter ants in my shed. Set off a fumigator bomb but they came back in force. Help please!

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Kenny! If you have tried the DIY methods in this article without success, it’s probably best to get someone in to do this and do it quickly, you don’t want those ants to run around unchecked. I will email you.

  14. Avatar Darrin says:

    Last week i pulled up my toilet to see why i had soft spots around it in the floor thinking i would find a water leak. Wrong. When i lifted the toilet there were say 50 carpenter ants u der there and maybe 15 eggs. I hit them with raid asap and all those died. Called exterminator. Came out and sprayed entire perimiter and house. Also put down Advion ant bait, the ants take this back to neat and kills colony. Well it works in bathroom but i knew i needed to find how they got under my toilet from outside. Never seen any carpenter ants all summer in or outside. So i was shocked. Went out at 11pm looking for them and found them up and down my oak tree then to my deck post walking under deck all the way to house under my sliding glass door threshold, then prob up the wall to under shower and toilet. Wow. So called exterminator back out and put this advion along base of threshold in several spots, then on deck post and they are eating this stuff up like crazy. Its like crack or candy to them there are always 3 or 4 at each glob at night all night. Seems like numbers are dwindling down fast. I can only assume my toilet was the colony nest sonce eggs were there bit not sure if this is satillite or main bc they keep going from house to tree and tree to house. My bathroom floor at minimum is ruined. Dont want to look for neat yet bc i dont want to disturb the queen or colony and they move and my issue ens up in another spot in the house. Trying to remain patient and watch them keep eating the poison taking back to colony. I hear this stuff only takes a week or less to kill them all off. We will see. Aftaid to pull out shower and see damage, hope its only subfloor plywood.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Darrin! Wow that is hectic, thanks for sharing your story. These little pests are so destructive, hope you get them under control (sounds like you are almost there). Let me know how it goes!

  15. Avatar Maureen says:

    I came across 3 areas outside my home; just had (week ago) the cedar shingles removed and T1-11 w/ plastic wrap for base; under the wood siding. These ants showed up past 1 week after the work was done. One side of the house that was sided; near 2 vents that were replaced. The other area, the patio; well over 50 yrs. and I’ve had problems w/wood bees buzzing the wood on that. the ants were over to the side of it; between patio(wood beam) and another adjacent crnr. of cedar shingles(on house).
    I bought 2 different sprays to hit them with and found out that the TERRO was the better of the 2. Would you recommend the granules vs. spray?
    I caught 3 in the house! 2 in a litter pan(have cats) and I sprayed the flr. behind the pan(after cleaning/disposing), and 1; 1 of my cats found walking towards the living rm flr.
    ! HELP! Will call some exterminators Monday for prices; 2 story home but what whould I look out for on a professional job; besides the spraying??
    Many thanks.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Maureen! Spraying is effective, unless they are unreachable using that method. I suggest that you let an exterminator take care of it for you, I will send you a link to one. Hope that helps 🙂

  16. Avatar Sharon says:

    Hi Natasha, I have carpenter ants in the wood ceiling of the bedroom of my house. I have looked all around the outside of the house to see where they are getting in but can’t find where. But, I think I did fine where the main nest is, up a pine tree about 30 feet from the house. I went out there tonight an saw tons of carpenter ants going up and down the tree. I used the Diatomaceous earth around the tree, on the tree and the path from the tree to the house. My question is. If some of the ants that have the DE on them go into the nest will it kill the other ants? Or is that some other ant killer that does that?
    Really appreciate your article. Thanks!

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Sharon, well done on finding the rest, it’s the first part of the fight. No DE won’t do that, maybe try an ant bait for that.

  17. Avatar Krista says:

    Hello there,

    Thanks in advance for reading and helping, all of your comments are so helpful. I’m hoping you can give some insight into how bad my problem is. We have medium sized black ants in our camper that we just purchased (it’s a park model trailer that is stationary). It laid dormant for 3 years and the previous owner had an exterminator spray. I kill between 5-8 black ants a day in the bathroom, last two were seeming to try to get under the toilet bowl. Sometimes I find them on carpet in adjacent bedroom. Not tons of them, but I have two little girls, but I want to get rid of them safely and effectively. What should I be doing/looking for in & out. We have the ant traps our. Is it likely we have a problem? Thank you!

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Krista! At that low number, i wouldn’t worry honestly. However, they must be attracted to something, so maybe focus on getting rid of that. 🙂

  18. Avatar Kamryn says:

    Today I paid someone to remove my Magnolia tree that haddied, it was full of Carpenter Ants.(assume the ants killed the tree) I have a Maple tree within 15 feet of the Magnolia and am concerned that the Carpenter Ants could or may have already attacked the Maple tree. What can I do to make sure that the Maple tree doesn’t get destroyed by the Carpenter Ants? I have noticed that a few leaves have fallen from the Maple and am now wondering if there are Carpenter Ants present. I didn’t realize that the Magnolia tree was infested until it was too late and was dying. Also, I have a wooden shed within a few feet of the Magnolia tree and am concerned that it too could be consumed with Carpenter Ants even tho I haven’t seem any trace. Since the Magnolia tree has been taken down, stump to be removed with a couple days should I be concerned that the Ants with move to the wooden shed of Maple tree if they haven’t already?

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Kamryn, it is possible and the only thing you can do (provided its not too late) is get someone in to investigate the situation. Besides providing the tips in this article, I cannot physically assess the infestation. It is best to get a pro in, especially based on your current situation. Sorry that this might not be the answer you were hoping for hehe.

  19. Avatar Jerry says:

    I have trimmed all bushes and tree limbs to avoid the carpenter ants from using these to enter my house. However, why would not theses ants simply walk up a downspout or up the wall to enter the house?
    Thanks very much, Jerry

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Jerry, they could but it is all about reducing their options. Remember that the trees are often their homes, it is thus a good idea to separate yours from it 🙂

  20. Avatar Jordan Stevens says:

    Thank you for this article. It was very helpful! I have carpenter ants coming through my wood ceiling in my bedroom. The majority of this house is built of wood so this is a high priority for me. I’ve squirted bait up into the hole so that they’ll take it to they’re nest and I also sprayed the entire room with bugstop and they’ve cleared up pretty good in the last 24 hours. Yesterday I was seeing a lot of big black ones with brownish wings which are now dead. I’m assuming those were queen ants and now I’m only seeing a few small stragglers here and there that I’ve had to step on. Is this good or bad? My carpet has basically become an ant graveyard and I’m constantly having to vaccume them up.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Jordan, it sounds like you are winning the battle and that is definitely good. Keep up the treatment and let me know when they are completely gone. 🙂

  21. Avatar Deborah Blanchard says:

    Hi Natasha,
    I noticed 3 ants in my house lately and they were about medium size and black. I have never had ants in my house. I keep it very clean and never have food lying around. About 2 years ago I put a large wooden crate outside and filled it with soil and have used it as a planter. Well this year I noticed many ants like the same ones I saw inside and one so far with wings and it looks like piles of wood shavings (originally thought it was soil that leaked out) on the concrete under the planter. I had bought a bad of stuff that looks like that white powder for earwigs and the bad says it kills ants as well. I plan on emptying the dirt out and getting rid of the planter because it is probably infested with ants. If I have only found 3 so far in my house do you think I should call a professional? Thank-you.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Deborah, don’t call someone in yet, do what you have planned and see the results. If you do decide to get a pro, let me know, I can organize a few quotes for you. Good luck!

  22. Avatar susan says:

    Hi Natasha,
    I have carpenter ants and did some caulking on the inside and so far so good, no more ants inside. I just found the outside hole that they are entering from. If I block the outside hole with caulking, I will be trapping some ants inside, will those die off or make a new push to break free possibly on the inside. If I spray diatomaceous earth in the hole then caulk will that kill off the trapped ones?
    Thanks for your help!

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Susan, it is possible that they would, yes. I would spray some soapy water in there, will get the job done.

  23. Avatar Amanda says:

    What is the ratio of hot water to soap? I would like to try this method before having to use chemicals. Thank you.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Amanda! About the same amount that you would put in a sink of dishes, that is all 🙂

  24. Avatar Stephanie Berger says:

    I found one large black ant on my kitchen counter today while making dinner. I’m 99% sure it’s a carpenter ant. It’s the first time I’ve seen any ant in our house. What should I do and when should we be concerned about it. We live in the country so I’d rather not have them invade our home n destroy the structure.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Stephanie, besides following the steps in this article, I suggest that you have someone come out and have a look because yes, carpenter ants can definitely do that.

  25. Avatar miranda says:

    Hi my names mietanda. I’ve been noticing ants in my bathroom on my counter around my sink around my shower and sometimes in the garden tub, and today when I got home from work there were TONS crawling up the shower and I had looked down and lifted up my shower carpet and there were so many aunts and it looked like maggots tiny ones maybe eggs? Idk what they were but it was God awful. So I sprayed it with bleach and sucked them right up and went through and cleaned every ounce of my bathroom. So of course when I’m done i walk out and into my bedroom and I go and sit down on my bed and I look down and the same type of ants are on the carpet crawling up from the flood from under the carpet right next to my bed!! Ugh! So now I am laying on my couch needing to go to sleep but can’t because I want them gone! Please help? Thank you!

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Miranda, I will be straight with you, it sounds like you need an expert to come around and sort that out for you as it is a little past DIY. I will send you some info. Sorry 🙁

  26. Avatar Fernando moura says:


    I have randomly started seeing bigger than usual sized ants in my den, the ants are red but the back end portion of them are black. In a matter of 10 minutes I killed about 7 of them around the same area. Any ideas on what to do? I have a door in the den that leads to my car port as well. I have never seen ants in this house until recently. Granted summer time is upon us and it is beginning to be much hotter than the previous months here in Orlando.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Fernando, if you don’t want to treat these ants yourself, I suggest that you someone in to do it affordably for you. Otherwise, try some of the methods listed here, they will help you.

  27. Avatar tina hill says:

    I have 2 dead stumps within 10 feet of my home and a dead tree 100 feet away in the back yard , they are on the property line and I believe they are they neighbor’s ( we just moved in ) , they look pretty chewed up like ants and or termites have been at them … in the past 2 weeks i have seen 1 dead and 3 live carpenter ants in my home . Does 4 ants count as an infestation? This is my first ever home of my own and money is very very tight right now , we can not afford a professional exterminator . Should i panic now or what? I will be trying the borax and diatomaceous earth and vinegar solutions as i have that stuff on hand . I have a question about the hot soapy water , can i disolve borax in it ? and what kind of soap or detergent should i use ; dish washing liquid? shampoo? hand soap? thank you for this article , it is very informative .

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Tina, not necessarily. Yes you can do that, if it is a small infestation, that solution will work well. Any soap works well to be honest, try dishwashing liquid.

  28. Avatar James says:

    Last year I found carpenter ant in my upstairs master bath window sill (opened window and a bunch of live & dead ones between window and screen)and saw them tracking along the soffit. Haven’t seen them this year but expect to in Spring. I was thinking of putting termiticide in a sprayer and spraying the soffit and in the attic along the edge (soffit and vent area). What are your thoughts on this approach?

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi James, I havn’t done that before but I cannot fault your idea, give it a try and let us know.

  29. Avatar Linda White says:

    Just bought a new house and the contractor found carpenter ants along the wood on the bottom when removing the sliding door. The wood was destroyed. We immediately bought spray for carpenter ants and soaked the entire area before replacing the wood. The contractor has worked in many areas in the house and this is the first sign of carpenter ants. What should be done now? The door wall was replaced with a window right away. The house had been vacant for several months before we bought it. I initially had an exterminator out because we found mice and hornet nests in the attic. Should the exterminator have found the carpenter ants had he done a thorough inspection? We paid him generously.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Linda, while it is possible, it’s not fair to expect him to have found every little potential pest in your home. Let me know if you need someone to come sort out any insect problems though, can organize you a free quote 🙂

  30. Avatar Fran says:

    Hi Natasha,
    I am so glad I found this site! We recently moved into a home in WI, and I was outside with the dog today and saw this pile of “saw dust” on top of a very old stump in the yard. I was alarmed immediately, thinking it’s an insect, and it’s about 10 to 12 feet from the house. It’s our first home, and I felt disheartened when no one could tell me what this was. I saw two holes that I hadn’t noticed before. The ground around the stump is lumpy and spongey. My sister told me that just means it’s rotting from the inside out. Once I found your site, I just knew I found the answer. My husband doesn’t think we need to worry,with it being an old stump and that far from the house, but I don’t want to take any chances. Would pouring the hot soap water be a good first step? I also have DE on hand, but I’m not sure if I’d have enough, let alone how to use it. Have borax too. Like you, I prefer natural methods. Thanks so much for this information!

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Fran, yes try the hot water and soap first and let me know how it goes 🙂

  31. Avatar Kathy says:

    I have found two areas of sawdust droppings: one inside our enclosed porch and the other just outside the front door leading out of the enclosed porch. We have not seen any ants around the sawdust or climbing up on the walls. What should we use to get rid of ants that are inside the walls? Also, it needs to be a cat safe product. Thank you for your help.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Kathy! I have sent you a message 🙂

  32. Avatar sonny says:

    About 5 min ago my son 15 months old started to scream like never be for. Upon further inspection we noticed the ant biting his pointer finger. I then identified the ant as a red carpenter ant. then we saw a few more all are dead now but we are unsure where they are coming from. we have a fairly clean home and they were not near any food source. how do we make sure to get rid of them. I don’t think I could handle my son getting bit again.

    Thank. Sonny

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Sonny! I suggest grabbing some ant spray (natural is best) from a local retailer or getting an exterminator to check the situation out (let me know if you need a few free quotes).

  33. Avatar Belinda Warren says:

    Hi. I believe we have caprenter ants . We have a kitchen faucet that just started leaking about a week and a half ago, and we have teenagers who leave food and cans of pop out all the time. In the past week I have seen about 7 or 8 ants. Do I have reason to be concerned? With so few seen, does this mean the nest will be harder to locate? How do I know what to look for if there are this few found? If I get them now, and fix my leak in the kitchen sink, do you think I might be able to control them quickly? Thank You

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Belinda! I don’t think you have any need to worry. Just get those teenagers to pick up after themselves lol.

  34. Avatar cyn says:

    Hello, I have a huge carpenter ant problem in old tree limbs/trunks when tree died & I chopped up and yes, I left the stumps & limbs on the ground and forgot about them :O( ..So just this week huge red, fast critters out to attack when we weed whacked around the stumps. So i poured boiling water with Black pepper and added some chlorinated dish machine powder @ dusk.. Will check it again tomorrow to see how much progress was made..

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Cyn! Thanks for your comment, keep us updated!

  35. Avatar Janice Conway says:

    I have carpenter ants in my bathtub every night for the last week or so. I have a window right above the tub, so they may be coming in there. I have looked, but can’t find their nest. I had them year before last and used boric acid and they left in a few days, but trying it the last few days and there may be less, but still coming. I sprayed a boric acid solution outside the window and also in the window, also put the powder around. I do have trees outside and a stump. The other time it was in the spring also. Does this mean their nest is outside?

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Janice! Yes it sounds like it. Maybe spend a little time looking for it to confirm.

  36. Avatar Darlene says:

    We have black ants off and on. A few weeks ago I tried borax, sugar, water mixture. There was just enough water in it to make a thick syrup. The ants swarmed it for several days, then got fewer and fewer. We were ant free for a few weeks and occasionally we would find a dead ant. Then my husband found one with wings, which I have been told means a new colony is being formed. He killed it. We got more and more. I put out the bait and they ignored it, even after walking right up to it. Sunday morning I mixed up 1/2 cup sugar, one cup water and 1 tablespoon borax. Soaked a cotton ball and put it on a plastic lid. In a few hours there was one ant there. Made up some more bait stations. By evening ants were swarming the stations…for several hours they fed. Today my kitchen is swarming with ants but they will not eat the bait. I have put out fresh cotton balls. I have also tried mixing honey and borax and have also put out a few drops (in a different location)of a commercial ant bait. Nothing is working. The ants will even crawl right over the cotton balls and not even stop. What can I do now?

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Darlene! I think that you should call an exterminator to give you a hand. I can organize a few free quotes for you, drop me an email if you are interested.

  37. Avatar Jen says:

    Today I noticed about 6 large black ants by our front door, then later saw one in the laundry room and one in a bedroom. They don’t have wings and don’t seem to be looking for food. We’ve had a very wet spring here in the Midwest and my husband thinks that’s the reason for the ants. We’ve lived here for 15 years and never had anything like this. I don’t see any trails outside and there aren’t any trees near our house. I have some DE but how do I know where to put it? Stumped….help!

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Jen! By the sounds of it, you don’t need to worry. When hundreds start rocking up, then you can stress about it.

  38. Avatar Krystle says:

    I don’t even know WHERE to begin, it’s been such a nightmare!! Well I’ve lived in a mobile home for a yr and a half now and have never had any problems with ants, up until about 2 months ago! Started with just some here and there which bait seemed to take care of it from what I thought….but the last two weeks it seems no matter what I do more and more come!! They have officially invaded my home, they are EVERYWHERE!!! Example: ill clean my coffee table side to side and top to bottom (so no ants on it at all after I’m done) buuuut when I come back 5 minutes later….there are ants all over again (about 15 ants or so)….they are on the carpet(mainly it seems), also get in laundry and on walls. I vacuum daily! Ok so today I noticed LOTS on inside of my sons window, so I walked out side and found them a few feet below the window, one line of ants were going inside the top of the skirting on the mobile home and another line was coming out of the top of skirting and going down to the perimeter of the mobile home and I followed it up one of my trees. I then walked the entire perimeter of my home and found multiple entry’s just like this, so far from 5 different trees back up the skirting and disappear at top of skirting!!!! I have yet to open the skirting to look under the mobile home for the colony but that has to be where it is right?????? And if so, with there being so MANY entries as well as so many trees, Im assuming it will be an insanely large colony, if it is does that most likely mean I Won’t be able to destroy it myself? Lastly what would you suggest I use on the colony if I do find it?

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Krystle! Based on your description, you definitely need some professional help otherwise that ant colony ain’t going anywhere hehe. Drop me an email and I will send you a couple free quotes. They are usually fairly affordable and it will give you the quickest results. Sorry I can’t help you further.

  39. Avatar Patrice Morton says:

    Do big black ants bite u

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Patrice! Not usually no.

  40. Avatar Carlyn says:

    I have carpenter ants in my house here in Utah… have had them for 2 yrs now. Last year they ate a hole in the sheetrock and they had wings and were flying around. This year the ants that come–no wings, but big ones, are not taking any food with them.. they just seem to be looking around. They seem to come out at night when it’s dark… They are living in the vaulted ceiling that is 18′ tall. They have eaten a small hole in the sheetrock to come out. As I have observed them, they are not taking any food back to the nest. Any idea what they are doing? I have no idea where in the ceiling they are and the idea of tearing out a 30×20 ceiling doesn’t sound very good.

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Carlyn! Sounds very strange, I am not too sure what they are doing but maybe they are building a nest? I suggest placing an ant trap near their location and seeing how that goes 🙂

  41. Avatar 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 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 🙂

  42. Avatar 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 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 🙂

  43. Avatar Mairi Lindsay says:

    I have carpenter ants outside and inside. I’ve tried to follow them to their nest but can’t find it. I have four small dogs so natural remedies are the only way for me. My first question is: Is boric acid poisonous to dogs (I think it is)?
    Question 2: Someone on here mentioned a Lavender remedy-What is the mixture?
    *Also, for everybody’s info: I had a nest of yellow jackets underground when I bought this house. The nest measured about 6 feet by 14 feet-Huge and very dangerous. I tried everything I knew of including poisonous spray which I hated to do. A lot of money later, not one thing I had tried worked at all, until one day I saw an old plastic container of boric acid in my shed which had cost me $1.00 @ the dollar store. I squirted the powder down the holes (at night), there were still a few around the next day, so I did a second application that night and got rid of them All! I’ve told a lot of people about this and they’re amazed and very happy for the cheap fix…

    • Natasha Anderson Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Mairi! Glad you found something that worked!

  44. Avatar 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 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 🙂

  45. Avatar 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 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 🙂

  46. Avatar 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 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!

  47. Avatar 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 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!

  48. Avatar 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 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 🙂

  49. Avatar 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 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 🙂

  50. Avatar 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 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.

  51. Avatar 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 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!

  52. Avatar 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 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 😉

  53. Avatar 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 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. 😉

  54. Avatar 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 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 🙂

  55. Avatar 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 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!

  56. Natasha Anderson 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 🙂

  57. Avatar 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

  58. Avatar 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 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 🙂

  59. Natasha Anderson 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  🙂

  60. Avatar 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.

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