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How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants? (4 Sure-Fire Methods That Work)

June 2, 2016

Mutant ants (as I like to call them) are often referred to as carpenter ants or big black ants. These giant ants are easily distinguished by their size. And there is a misconception that all of these ants are black. Some carpenter ants have red bodies.

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So, How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants?

No one wants to share their home with ants. I know I don’t want to at least. Before you go into baiting ants and exterminating them, it’s important to be able to identify the ants in your home because there are numerous types of ants.

Carpenter ants have these characteristics:

  • Red or black bodies
  • ½” – ¾” length

I’m not expecting you to pick these ants up and measure them. Just eye the size of the ant to determine its length.

Carpenter Ant Precautions

Carpenter ants get their name not because they eat wood but because they bore into the wood of a home to make their nest or hive. Ants are very protective of their hives, and they can be very aggressive, especially if you’re in the vicinity of the hive.

Carpenter ants can be even worse than termites in some cases as their nest size expands.

The good and bad news is that carpenter ants prefer to build their nests in areas that are damp. The dampness is likely preferred because it makes the wood easier to bore into and make a substantial nest.

Homeowners face the problem of having to find leaks that are causing the dampness.

A few culprits for leaks are:

  • Sinks
  • Bathtubs
  • Badly sealed windows
  • Piping

Professionals recommend finding the source of the leak before trying to get rid of carpenter ants. The dampness is the root cause of the ants taking up homage in your home, and if the root of the problem is not remedied, the ant problem will come back even after the most diligent pest control measures.

4 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

You want to know how to get rid of carpenter ants, and there are four measures you can take (aside from fixing the leak) that will help alleviate your ant woes.

  1. Hire an Exterminator

If you don’t want to take your chances with killing off the ants yourself, hire an exterminator. A professional will know which steps to take to kill the ants. The right company will recommend finding the source of the dampness in the home, so keep this in mind when hiring an exterminator.

The professional will:

  • Find the nest
  • Use poisons and traps as needed

The poisons used will not be safe for pets, so keep them away from the area where the exterminator sprays.

The cost of an exterminator can be $500 – $1000, as the job requires the exterminator to drill and dust. The dust consists of a pesticide that is put in the holes for the ants. Monthly maintenance visits until the issue is corrected can cost $250 a month on average.

  1. Boric AcidA narrow mouth bottle with boric acid solution.

The nest and colonies need to be found and marked, so you can begin your assault on the mutant ants. Natural pesticides and ready-made pesticides are available to kill the ants. But a quick home remedy of boric acid and sugar often does the trick.

  • Add 1 tbsp. of boric acid into a bowl
  • Add 1 tsp of sugar into a bowl
  • Add 4 ounces of water

You can also add peanut butter or honey into the bowl, too. Mix the ingredients up well and spread the solution in a tracking area of the ants. The sweetness of the mixture will attract the ants that will perceive the mixture as food and carry it back to their next.

Now, don’t worry – boric acid will kill the ants slowly.

It’s vital to keep the mixture out of reach of children and animals as they can become sick if they come in contact with the mixture. All boric acid remedies will take time before sufficient results are experienced.

  1. VinegarA bottle of vinegar on the wooden table top.

An eviction sign won’t work for ants, but you can tell them that you don’t enjoy their company – with vinegar. White vinegar and apple cider vinegar are both equally as potent for this case. Mix the vinegar with water and spray it on all of the ant trails you come across.


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Peppermint or eucalyptus oil (just 1 tbsp.) can be added to the mixture to make it more potent, too.

This is a solution that will not kill the ants, but it will stop them from wanting to be in the home. In many cases, this will prevent future nests from being built in the wood of the home, too.

  1. Ant Traps

An affordable solution to ant problems that is a little more professional than the DIY methods above is to buy ant traps or bait. This bait is often in the form of a gel that is inside of an ant trap that works to attract the ants to the location.

Often sweet in flavor, these traps will be able to lure in hundreds of ants and allow them to take the bait back to the queen and the rest of the colony.

Slow acting, these traps and baits will keep the ants alive for a few days to allow them to make it back to the hive. An issue that I’ve found is that there can be so many ants going for the bait that some of them will die prematurely.

The death, I assume, is due to the ant overindulging in the bait.  Many ants will be found inside of the bait where they lay dead. But you will find that after a few ants begin to pile up, the other ants will start to take notice that something is amiss.

Eventually, the trap will no longer work and most of the other ants will walk by the bait without even a thought to go to it.

I’ve found that a quick way to remedy the problem is to place a new trap down. You may even want to put the trap a good distance from the last trap for best results.

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