How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Ants

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How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Ants

When it comes to pests, carpenter ants rank pretty high among the worst ones. They can do a lot of the annoying stuff regular ants can, such as getting into your food and leaving you with painful bites. But they’re also closely related to termites and do similar things to them as well, like burrowing into wood structures and causing significant damage to your supporting structures and walls.

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of dealing with these guys, you already know how much of a nuisance they are. If you’re dealing with them presently, you’re likely already trying to figure out a way to get rid of them. You’ll usually need the help of a trained professional exterminator, but there are some things you can try on your own first.

How To Identify Carpenter Ants

There are a lot of varieties of ants that make their way into your yard and home, and all of them are annoying. But most of them aren’t going to be causing damage to your home the way wood-boring ants do. They’re less of a threat and more of a nuisance.

Carpenter ants however are quite destructive as they have a habit of burrowing into your home’s wooden supports. It’s important to be able to tell them apart from a regular ant.

Size: Carpenter ants are quite a bit bigger than the regular variety. They can be even longer than the width of your fingernail.

Color: Carpenter ants are usually entirely black, but some will also have some red on them.

Shape: The head of a carpenter ant is somewhat shaped like a heart, with a round abdomen and a thorax that’s thinner than the rest of the body

Active times: Carpenter ants are more active after dark. If you’re seeing them during the day, they probably aren’t this species of ant.

Preventing Carpenter Ants

Clean up wood in the yard

Don’t leave wood lying around and keep it at least 15 feet from the side of your home. All moist wood needs to be discarded. Keep all woodpiles covered and in a safe location. Keep an eye on the walls behind dishwashers, AC units, sinks, bathtubs, and other sorts of locations where the walls can get wet. Replace any water-damaged wood as soon as you can.

Secure Food

Keep all food sealed and put away to prevent carpenter ants from swarming. Dispose of food waste in outdoor trash cans or compost bins with tightly locking secure lids. They’re easy for carpenter ants to find, so try not to store your bins close to the house.


There are a few smells and chemicals that ants absolutely hate and this is also true for carpenter ants. You can use a chemical treatment on the house perimeter, or form a natural barrier with a homemade natural repellant. You could try any of the following:

  • Essential oils such as peppermint, cedarwood, and tea tree
  • Vinegar
  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Lemon juice
  • Citrus peels
  • Cinnamon

If you’ve tried all these methods and you’re still dealing with carpenter ants in or near your property, give us a call.