How to get rid of Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ants can cause quite a bit of damage to the wood structure of a house. This can especially troublesome to those people who live in wooded or damp areas as carpenter ants love to work on damp wood. This article discusses how to identify carpenter ants and offers some solutions to get rid of carpenter ants in your house or building.

Carpenter ants are among the largest ants generally seen in the United States.
picture of carpenter antsThese are several different types of carpenter ants that can be found infesting homes and other buildings.  These ants you normally see are the worker ants which are black or red and black and are 3/8 ‘’ to ½” long – the width of your index finger. The winged queen ants may be as large as an inch long but size is not a reliable characteristic to use to identify carpenter ants.

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Ants are divided into three groups – workers, queens, and males.  Carpenter ants can have workers in various sizes with the same species.  That means that the best method of identifying carpenter ants from other ants is to find a waist with one node (petiole) and a thorax with an evenly rounded upper surface.

There are other ants which may be mistaken for carpenter ants.  They may have one or two nodes but the distinguishing feature is the uneven profile of their thorax.

When a swarm occurs and you see the winged variety, these need to be distinguished from the termite.  Carpenter ants have bent antennae, and, if they are present, have hind wings shorter than the front wings. Termites, on the other hand, are light colored, have no waist development with straight antennae and wings of equal length front and back.

Carpenter ants feed on sources of protein and sugar – they do not eat wood.  The infestation occurs when they remove wood to create galleries and tunnels which is why they prefer damp wood.  The problem to home owners is that if left uncontrolled for a long period of time, they can cause severe problems if the structural wood is weakened.

The best method to get rid of carpenter ants is to find and destroy the nest which can exist indoors or outdoors.  Then you need to replace damaged or decayed wood and eliminate moisture problems.  Eliminating a carpenter ant nest can be a challenging task and, in many cases, a professional exterminator should be consulted. 

However, if the nest can be found, boric acid can be obtained that can be placed in areas where the carpenter ants reside.  This treatment should not be taken lightly and randomly placed around the house as boric acid may be toxic to pets and people. If the nest is found and exposed, an aerosol spray, found in most garden centers, can be used to spray on the nest and eliminate the ants.

Ant baits may also be an effective way to treat carpenter ants but this will take place over a long period of time. Basically, the bait works by combining a food source with a slow acting toxicant.  The idea here is that the ant that finds the bait, takes some back to the nest and distributes it to the other ants in the nest and then, over time, the colony dies out.

This is how you figure out where those carpenter ants are coming from.

Carpenter Ant Damage

They are making galleries where they can put their larvae and pupa until they hatch out into ants. This kind of damage is not found in Icynene Insulation. Carpenter ants certainly have the ability to chew Icynene.

Carpenter Ant Attack

Environmentalists point out that untreated (air-dried) firewood has traditionally harbored harmful insects, including termites, carpenter ants, and gypsy moths. But as bad as these bugs may be for your home, they don’t attack trees.

Carpenter Ants

It can be really frustrating when you have to share your home with a colony of carpenter ants. For carpenter ants, it can take only few hours to turn your favourite rocking chair or old family furniture into saw dust.