Pest Issues

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Henrik Larsson /

The Carpenter ant, or Camponotus 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:

What are carpenter ants?

Henrik Larsson /

Carpenter ants are a polymorphic species. Their size ranges from 3mm to 12mm, with most ants being on the bigger side. Their mandibles have around eight teeth, which helps them to bore through wood.

They are known to vary in colour, so you can encounter carpenter ants in the shade of dark-orange all the way to black. The black colour gets them oftentimes confused with other black house ants’ species.

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What causes carpenter ants?

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. These ant species would normally dispose of the wood outside of their nest.

So what do carpenter ants eat? 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 turn an infestation into an even bigger problem if you’re an avid gardener, as the potential food source would attract the insects.

It’s actually not that surprising that carpenter ants can be found in abundance throughout all of Australia. They can easily adapt to living both indoors and outdoors and can really become a nuisance once they manage to get inside a home.

Food and suitable nesting location are the most likely reasons why you have these ants in or around your property.

Carpenter ants prefer to settle close to water and areas with high humidity, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Since humidity could be responsible for a lot of issues indoors, including damage to wooden furniture and foundation, we advise you to inspect thoroughly all wooden structures present both in your home and in your backyard. This way you can catch even the early signs of a carpenter ant infestation.

Signs of 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. Below you will find some evidence to look out for and steps to identify a carpenter ant invasion.

  • Of cource, you will have to do a thorough investigation of your property. However, keep in mind that these ants are mostly active during the later hours, so you may have to wait for the night before you do a check up.
  • As we mentioned before, carpenter ants prefer to make their nests in damp, decaying or old wood, so the nesting location is pretty telling. Focus on the structure of your home, inner walls (particularly ones closer to the bathroom or your kitchen). Search around window frames as well. Camponotus spp are known to choose the frames of windows and even doors to make their nest in.
  • While carpenter ants don’t feed on the wood, they’re boring through it and, therefore, it is likely to find sawdust-like wood around the nest.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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How to get rid of carpenter ants

Eliminating the carpenter ants infesting 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.

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.

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Natural ways to get rid of carpenter ants

Before we continue with the natural (or DIY) methods, know that killing carpenter ants using home remedies 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.

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How to prevent carpenter ants

As we all know, the best way to deal with an infestation, regardless of the type of pest, 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.

  • 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.
  • As we’ve already established, decaying wood is what carpenter ants find most attractive, so in addition to eliminating the excessive moisture, it’s also good to remove anything already damages by it. This refers to damaged couches, chairs and other items in the home.
  • Unkempt foliage is also something that will bring carpenter ants into your garden or lawn. From there, they could easily find their way into your home. So we recommend you make sure that you regularly trim any trees and shrubs around your home.

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 structures 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.

Take advantage of a reliable pest control service!

We can inspect and rid your home of carpenter ants and other ant species.

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3 years ago

prevention one thing we always do to avoid pest in our house but reaching out to pest control companies is the best thing to do to get rid of all the pest in the house.

1 year ago

Actually there is a soul that doesn’t mind sharing their space, me! We have sugar ants come out at night in the kitchen. They’re not really a bother. Don’t mind Huntsmen spiders either, they keep the cockroaches down!

1 year ago

Interesting to note – if it is carpenter ants we have they “play dead” when first disturbed!

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