The Carpenter ant, or Componotus spp if we have to call it by its scientific name, is a fairly big species of ants that are known to terrorise Australian homeowners.

It’s considered more of a nuisance pest, as it’s not one that can cause serious damage to your home or harm your family. However, there probably isn’t a soul out there that is okay living with an ongoing ant infestation.

From properly identifying the carpenter ants to learning how to eradicate an ongoing infestation, the Fantastic Services pest controllers have got you covered.

Table of Contents:

How to get rid of carpenter ants

Getting rid of the big black ants in your house is not a dangerous process, but it can be hard. While it’s best done by a professional, you can try to do it yourself, however, there’s no guarantee it would work.

The Fantastic Method

1. Find the nest of the carpenter ants.

You’ll have to do some detective work in order to locate the nest of the carpenter ants. Keep in mind that they prefer nesting in dry wood. Having carpenter ants in your home may indicate that you have rotting wood in the structure of your property, which is also a big problem on its own that needs addressing.

We would advise that even if you deal with the infestation, you should inspect your home for any rotting wood. Structural damage caused by moist or rotting wood can be a problem and a health hazard for you and your family.

2. Treat the nest with insecticides.

This process is one that needs to be handled with the utmost care. Trusting a professional to do it for you will result in a better success rate. However, there’s no trouble in trying it out yourself. Make sure to carefully follow the instructions that come with the pesticides.


Most over-the-counter bug sprays will do little to no work, mostly resulting in you wasting your time and money.

Step 3: Hire a Professional Pest Controller

If you need this ant infestation thing solved ASAP, no matter what, then just let us know.
We'll send a fully equipped pest controller to your address to inspect your place and
eliminate the colony.

Enter your postcode


Natural ways to get rid of carpenter ants

Before we continue with the natural (or DIY) methods, know that getting rid of carpenter ants using home-made methods takes time and patience. Also, it’s not very effective if you have a huge ongoing infestation in your home.

Make carpenter ants baits

Mix one part boric acid with ten parts of sugar water (carpenter ants love sugar water). Place multiple baits close to the ant trails or to the nest (if you’ve found it).

Boric acid will kill the carpenter ants but it will take time. Depending on the size of the infestation you may have to place baits four-five-six times before you start seeing any results.

Use Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Diatomaceous earth is probably the oldest trick in the book to battle not only carpenter ants but many other pests, as well. And, if you’re super patient it can work.

Keep in mind that if you go shopping for DE, you can also find it under ‘diatomite’. The soft sedimentary rock has a huge benefit – it’s safe for pets and children. Make sure you buy food-grade diatomaceous earth.

As the carpenter ants can’t digest the dust properly they dry from dehydration.

Still, if you’re pressured by time (for example you’re renting the property) we advise you to seek the help of a professional pest controller. They have access to far stronger pesticides that will do the job much faster than any store-bought pesticide or a DIY method.


How to prevent carpenter ants

As we all know, the best way to deal with an infestation is to try and prevent it in the first place. That’s particularly true for carpenter ants, as these buggers can be quite stubborn.

With that in mind, here are some good practices you can follow to keep carpenter ants away from your property.

Maintain your home

Keep your home in good condition as this is the best way to keep carpenter ants at bay. Inspect for any excessive moisture any leaks or problems with your plumbing system. They all should be resolved as soon as possible.

Moisture is known to attract ants, and the carpenter species are no different. They will infest your home if it offers the right conditions.

Maintain your lawn

Unkempt foliage is also something that will bring carpenter ants near to your house. Make sure that you regularly trim any trees and shrubs around your home.


Appearance of the carpenter ant

Carpenter ants are a polymorphic species. That means that their size ranges from 3mm to 12mm, with most ants being on the bigger side. They are known to vary in colour, so you can encounter carpenter ants in the shade of dark-orange all the way to black.

Their mandibles have around eight teeth, which helps them to bore through wood.


Behaviour of the carpenter ant

Despite their name, carpenter ants don’t feed on wood. They just bore through damp wood or decaying timber in order to create their nest. In fact, these big black ants are attracted to sugary liquids such as honeydew.

Because of their sweet cravings, carpenter ants are known to tend to aphids for their honeydew. This can make an infestation into an even bigger problem if you’re an avid gardener.

The carpenter ants would dispose of the wood outside of their nest.

How to identify a carpenter ant infestation

There are a couple of different ways to make sure the big black ants roaming in your house are indeed carpenter ants.

Most likely the ants that you’re going to see first are the worker ants of the nest. After all, they’re the most likely to roam around your home. However, carpenter ants are also known to travel pretty far when foraging, so just because you’ve noticed one or two ants, it doesn’t mean that the nest is nearby.

You can have a whole bunch of ants in your kitchen, and the nest itself can be located all the way up in the attic. These ants are mostly active during the later hours, so you may have to wait for the night before you start your investigation.

Carpenter ants prefer to make their nests in damp, decaying or old wood. As we mentioned, these ants don’t feed on wood, they’re boring through it. That’s why you are likely to find sawdust-like wood around the nest.

Look for the nest in places where the wood is likely to be damp. The structure of your home, inner walls (particularly ones closer to the bathroom or your kitchen).

If you’ve narrowed down the search for the nest, listen carefully to check if you’re on the right path. Tapping on the wall will make the ants rustle. If it’s quiet enough you can hear this sound. Search around window frames as well. Componotus spp are known to choose the frames of windows and even doors to make their nest in.

If you’re not sure of your ant recognition skills, our pest controllers are pretty good. Check out our pest inspection services!



Distribution and habitat of the carpenter ant

It’s no surprise carpenter ants can be found in abundance throughout all of Australia. They can adapt to live both indoors and outdoors and can really become a nuisance once they manage to get inside.

The most likely reason why you have these ants in or around your home is that there is a suitable nesting location around you. We advise you to inspect thoroughly all wooden structures present both in your home and in your backyard.


To sum things up…

Even if having carpenter ants is not a serious health threat, the reason why they’ve chosen your home as a nest may be a sign of one. The presence of rotting wooden structure in your house can be a huge problem in the future, while a rotten tree in your backyard can be a hazard in a storm.

This is why it’s always best to act fast when you notice big black ants infesting your property and take the needed measures to get rid of the infestation.

Do you have a personal experience you’d like to share with us?
We’d love to hear it in the comments below!

Image source: Shutterstock/Henrik Larsson

  • Last update: April 17, 2020

Posted in All Articles, Pest Issues