Getting rid of carpenter ants isn’t easy without an experienced service technician on your side, but there are some steps you can take on your own. Just be aware that even with a pest management professional, killing carpenter ants is a difficult task, and often requires quite a few attempts, due to the manner in which carpenter ants nest. So how do you get rid of carpenter ants? Here’s a helpful checklist.
1. HOW DO YOU FIND CARPENTER ANT NESTS?
Carpenter ant nests come in two forms: parent nests and satellite nests. The parent nest is where the queen resides. When resources in the parent nest become limited, satellite nests are settled and the colony expands. Nests can be indoors or out, so finding them is the key to getting rid of carpenter ants. These ants follow scented trails to travel back and forth between food and the nests. You can use this trailing behavior to your advantage to find the nests. Since they are most active late at night, place a few drops of honey or jelly on the backside of masking tape each night. When the ants feed on the honey, don’t spray or kill them. Instead, follow them back to their nest. This takes some patience.
2. WHERE SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR CARPENTER ANTS IN HOMES AND OUTSIDE?
Indoors, carpenter ant nests are usually located in areas where there is moisture-damaged wood. Prime nesting locations include wall voids, behind dishwashers, near sinks and tubs or other areas with high levels of moisture. The ants often access their nests via baseboards, electrical outlets, door casings or cracks in the walls. If the ants are just foraging in your home and their nest is outside, you will often find colonies in tree stumps, dead or dying trees, and other wood with a lot of moisture damage.
3. HOW DO YOU DESTROY THE NEST?
While it’s highly recommended that a reliable pest management professional destroy carpenter ant nests, some homeowners attempt carpenter ant treatment themselves. For nests indoors, carefully drill one-eighth of an inch wide holes in the wall, every 6 inches or so. Do this 3 to 6 feet on either side of the suspected nest location. Carpenter ants love to travel on pipes and wires. As such, their nests are often located near wiring and piping, so be careful when drilling. When the holes are drilled, puff boric acid powder into them. The powder will disperse inside the wall voids and kill the ants right in their nest. Don’t seal the holes right away – you will likely have to repeat the treatment a few times since killing carpenter ants isn’t easy. If the nest is outdoors, it can be drenched in an insecticide such as carbaryl, diazinon or chlorpyrifos (these may not be legal in every state, so be sure to check first). However, this can be dangerous to children and pets, so it’s highly recommended that all treatments are handled and performed by a pest management technician.
4. WHAT’S THE BEST FORM OF CARPENTER ANT CONTROL AND PREVENTION?
to avoid having another one develop. Fix all leaks, including plumbing, roofs and drainage systems. Areas with high moisture levels should be evaluated and corrected to reduce moisture. If possible, eliminate any places where wood meets the soil outdoors. Clip tree limbs and brush that touches or overhangs the house as these are bridges for carpenter ants to enter your home. Seal all cracks in the foundation, including where wiring and utility pipes enter the structure. Get rid of any wood lying around the house. If you have a firewood pile, store it away from your home, elevated off of the ground.
Remember, you may know how to kill carpenter ants, but that doesn’t mean you will be successful. The best and most effective way to get rid of carpenter ants is to have a pest management professional perform carpenter ant treatments. Be certain to choose an experienced company with a satisfaction guarantee1, such as Terminix®, since treatment will likely have to be repeated a few times.