How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ant Control


Carpenter Ants feed off of moist or partially decayed wood. They will be found where water leaks onto the wood. Carpenter Ants increases after sunset particularly in spring and summer. They act as termites; however, they do not eat the wood. Carpenter Ants will do damage on the house but damaging the wood they are trying to build their nests upon.


Many of Carpenter Ants mounds will be found in these areas: moist wall voids, attics, flooring or sub flooring, ceilings, windows, skylights, hollow doors, dishwashers, trash compactors, plumbing, pipe chases outdoors, trees, stumps/dead trees, landscape timbers, woodpiles and fences, leaf litter, debris piles, mulch beds, roof lines and gutters, soffits and vents, windows and door frames, utility entrances, sheds and doghouses, and trash containers.


You may take these steps to prevent Carpenter Ant infestation:

  1. Correct moisture problems, roof leaks, and plumbing leaks
  2. Cut back tree limbs or branches that could serve as a bridge to your structure
  3. Seal cracks and openings around the foundation, especially where utility pipes and wires enter from the outside.
  4. Firewood needs to be stacked away from the house, elevated off the ground if possible. Carpenter Ants love to nest in firewood.

Chemical Treatment:

Crack and Crevice Treatments:
This treatment is generally applied using a 1 gallon hand sprayer with a liquid formula (PHANTOM, FENVASTAR ECOCAP), dust (DELTA DUST), aerosol ( CY-KICK AEROSOLALPINE AEROSOL.), or certain bait formulas (MAXFORCE CARPENTER ANT BAIT GEL, DUPONT ADVION ANT GEL ) to be applied to small cracks and crevices in a structure where ants may enter, trail, or find harborage. You will need to apply using the amount that is said on the label and may need to reapply if needed. You will have to use a low pressure system with a pinpoint or variable pattern nozzle to apply the spray mixture to areas such as floors, cracks and crevices in and around baseboards, walls, and expansion joints, areas around water and sewer pipes, and voids formed by equipment or appliances. The dust application is simple. However, when using dust please be cautious especially when children  are present. Use dust only in areas where they cannot reach. Both of the dusts, DELTA DUSTyou will need to use a BELLOW BULB DUSTER. When using BELLOW BULB DUSTER for DELTA DUST you will need to fill the duster with the dust as directed in the label and apply DELTA DUST o to voids or channels in damaged wooden members of a structure, to cracks, spaces or bearing joints between the wooden members of a structure. Apply lightly and uniformly to infested area. DO NOT OVER USE DUST. For the use of  CY-KICK AEROSOL,ALPINE AEROSOL, as in all of the aerosol products, there are residual and non-residual products. We do not recommend that you spray residual aerosol products on surfaces such as mattresses, bed covers, furniture, and in open air because it can be harmful to certain humans who are allergic to certain chemicals and pets, that is why you would need to enclose the room for about 2-3 hours. You would need to apply aerosols as a crack and crevice treatment into cracks, crevices and voids, where ants may be traveling and/or harboring, including, but not limited to, around doors, window frames, wall voids and other structural cracks and crevices which can possibly count as an entry point.

Phantom Fenvastar Ecocap Chapin 1 gallon Sprayer Delta Dust

These products can be used with these items:

Bellow Bulb Duster
Alpine CY-Kick Maxforce Carpenter Ant Gel Dupont Ant Gel

Barrier Treatment:
This treatment is applying a liquid spray, granular, or baits products to zone around a structure that any ant might enter the zone. These are sometimes called a perimeter treatments where soil areas are adjacent to a structure as well as a portion of the lower foundation wall next to the soil are treated ( FENVASTAR ECOCAP, TERMINDOR SC). Barrier treatments or Perimeter treatments are used just around the structure of your home to create a barrier for your home. We suggest that you use a gallon sprayer as well (CHAPIN 1 GALLON SPRAYER). Using the directions of the amount and the rate that you should use, you should treat a band 6 to 8 feet wide and next to the structure and the foundation of the structure to a height of 2 to 3 feet. For better results, you will need to use this treatment regularly to reduce the amount of insects and to keep your house insect free.

Termindor Fenvastar Ecocap Chapin 1 gallon Sprayer

Void Treatments:
This treatment is to be recommended to use when you have an infestion in an area that you cannot reach such as inside walls, blocks, or other structural voids to treat for ant activity within by drilling a small hole if needed; you can remove electric outlet cover and use the space to treat inside voids. Dust (DELTA DUST) and aerosol formula ( CY-KICK AEROSOLD- FORCE HPX) are generally preferred here. When using the void treatment and after drilling a hole or removing the electric outlet cover, you will insert the tip of the duster (BELLOW BULB ) containing the dust (DELTA DUST) into the hole and use as directed. Using the aerosol formula (CY-KICK AEROSOL, D- FORCE HPX), be cautioned because aerosol is a liquid so do not use in electric outings, use only dust. You will just need to attach a thin straw to the nozzle depending on the product, and spray it into the void.

Delta Bellow Bulb Duster

These products can be used with these items:

alpine aerosol CY-KICK AEROSOL
Alpine CY-Kick

Date: Saturday, 2. January 2010 15:23
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  1. 1

    I am being inundated with black carpenter ants and would like to try and rid them ourselves as the exterminator is quite expensive. We are novice and would like your suggestion on what to try first.

    Thank you,
    Joan Hart

  2. 2

    For Carpenter Ants, I recommend you start with two things:
    Advance 375A Ant Bait Granular and Maxforce Carpenter Ant Bait Gel.

    The reason why is that you not only want to kill just the few you see,
    but all colony including the queen that you don’t see.
    Unless you kill the queen, they will just keep on reproducing
    and will continue to cause damage to your home.

    Both Advance 375A and Maxforce Carpenter Ant Bait Gel use what is called “Delay Kill Method.”
    What “Delay Kill Method” does is it allows enough time for the Carpenter Ants to consume the baits, carry them and return to their colony,
    and share among the colony including the queen. In short time, all colony will be affected with the product, and die all together,
    ending the infestation.

    Fortunately, we offer a Carpenter Ant Bait Kit that has both of these products, but costs less than buying them individually.

    You want to use Advance 375A Ant Bait Granular outside your home, around the perimeter of your home,
    and use Maxforce Carpenter Ant Bait Gel indoor. What you want to do is apply in small amounts at several locations
    at the general area where you spotted the carpenter ants.

    You can use Advance 375A Ant Bait Granular indoor as well, but I recommend that you use
    bait tray stations if you want to use them indoor, since it is granules and will be subject to disperse and will be messy.
    Having said that, if you are using it inside the wall voids inside the skirting of the wall, there’s no need to use bait tray stations.

    In case you have very severe infestation, I do recommend that you use Termidor SC or Phantom Insecticide.
    You can also you Masterline Bifenthrin 7.9. With Termidor SC, you can only use outdoor. Phantom and Masterline Bifenthrin
    can be used indoors and outdoors. All three products will leave residues that will kill the carpenter ants
    when they crawl on it or come into contact. I recommend Masterline Bifenthrin 7.9 over the other two for the price reason.
    As for as their effectiveness, they all are very effective products.

    If the property damage is so severe that you would need to treat your wall voids,
    I recommend that you do all of the above along with Premise Foam. What you want to do is
    drill holes on the wall and insert the foam right into the wall voids until it fills up.
    It will kill all carpenter ants or termites that are inside your wall voids on contact.

    However, if your infestation is not as severe, aforementioned Carpenter Ant Bait Kit seems to be more suitable for you.
    Let us know if there’s more we can help you with.

  3. 3

    looking for and bait like lillle round balls i got them from orkin 1 gallon round little yellow chips or balls.kills big ants and you can watch them come and take bait .I don”t knnow the exact name Showed big ant on plastic jug 🙂 Harry morel 2613 Venetian ln
    Elgin Ill

  4. 4

    Hello Harry Morel,

    Hm… I’m not really sure what product you are talking about, but I do know we have many different ant baits.
    There is one product that sounds similar to what you are talking about.
    It is the ADVANCE 375A Select Granular Ant Bait.
    This product is a bait that is an orange-ish yellow color and comes in the form of small chips, not so much balls. You would sprinkle it around the infested areas or you could use bait stations and watch the ants take the bait back to their colonies.

  5. 5

    I have a very large Little Leaf Linden tree that has a carpenter ant problem inside of it. The ants have caused several branches to fall and they are burrowing their way through as I type. I have a dog so spraying or using granules is out of the question.

    Can any of these products be injected into the ground and useful in killing the ants that way? Can I brush any of these products onto the tree several feet up? What might be best?

  6. 6

    Hello Becky,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your ant infestation.
    Termidor is known to be very effective for the control or termites and ants.
    It is safe to spray onto a live tree and should be safe for your pet as well.
    The active ingredient, fipronil, is in flea sprays that you would spray directly onto your dog.
    As long as the Termidor is dry, which takes about 30 minutes, it is safe for anyone or pet to come in contact with.
    Termidor is a residual product, so it will stay effective against the carpenter ants for up to 3 months.

    We also have the MaxForce Carpenter Ant Bait Gel which has the same active ingredient.
    You can place it on the tree where ever you might see the carpenter ants.
    This product is becoming very popular with our customers and known to be very effective.
    It works as an ingestion kill, where the ants would carry it back to their colony, ultimately wiping it out.
    It is strong enough to kill the ants, but too weak to do harm to your pet if by any change your pet was to consume it, although it is strongly not advised. There was one incident where a customer’s pet ingested some of the MaxForce Ant Bait Gel and the customer was very worried, but the dog was a little dizzy for couple of minutes, and was fine after that. Still, we advise that you take caution while using any pest control products.

    If there is any other way I can be of help to you, comment me again!
    Good luck saving your tree!

  7. 7

    I’ve noticed carpenter ants on my deck the past few years, but an increase this year. I sprayed home defense on my shed where I saw them go behind the door trim. Now I found them going up a tree onto the gutter from a branch and into a crack in a trim board. I.m used to dealing with small ants but carpenter ants scare me because they are hard to track. I also have a large deck with wood contacting the ground, landscape timber walls, etc. They are now 20 years old so it wouldn’t surprise me if they are nesting there. I also have wood sheds with ground contact. Can I use Termador to treat my foundation and also around the deck where it contacts the ground as well as the landscape timbers at ground level? My yard is an ant paradise with all this so I need some help.

  8. 8


    Great info,thank you. I’ve got some Carpenter ants entering a peticular spot between deck and home, under vinyl siding. Have used an ortho spray but doesn’t last so my exterminator suggested your Maxforce. I had termintes years ago as my neighbor runs a wood biz from the next yard. Anyway, I maintain Sentricon and tech suggested Mforce. Will order Bait kit now. Thanks for the feedback on your blog.


  9. 9


    As I was reading your comment, I was going to definitely recommend Termidor for you, but seems like you already had that in mind! Termidor would be a great product to do surface treatment on all your wooden areas. You can spray it on the tree as well. Termidor has a residual time of 2-3 months when used outdoors for surface treatments.

    I would also recommend that you use a bait form because ants are a social species and have colonies which are the source. The ants will bring back the baits to the colony, wiping it out from the source. I would recommend MaxForce Carpenter Ant Gel Bait. We also have a MaxForce Carpenter Ant Bait Kit that has both the Gel bait form and Granular bait form.

  10. 10

    I have Carpenter Ants in my barn which needs some repair. I will no doubt find damaged areas as I begin the ripping out and replacement walls, roof etc. Should I try to get rid of the ants before I start the process, or just handle them as found during the process. MOST IMPORTANTLY – I have livestock in this barn, what’s the least dangerous product to use that won’t get spread around or get into the soil around the building? Thanks in advance!

  11. 11

    Hello Linda,

    You should definitely treat the carpenter ants before rebuilding!
    I would recommend some sort of bait, such as MaxForce Carpenter Ant Gel, for the ants
    so they can carry it back to the colony– targetting it from the source.

    If you do not want the bait to come in contact with the livestock
    or anything the live stock may come in contact with, we have bait trays for that.

    If you want to use a liquid pesticide, I would recommend Termidor for carpenter ants.
    Termidor is known to be very effective against termites and carpenter ants.
    You would do a surface treatment on the infested wood.
    It’s a non-repellent so the ants would walk through it, and because it’s also a delay kill,
    the ants will bring it back to the colony, expose the colony to it’s active ingredient,
    and end up killing the colony as well.

    Termidor is safe to come in contact with once after it has dried.
    If your livestock were to come in contact with it, it’s fine, as along as it’s dried.
    The active ingredient is fipronil, the same stuff used in flea sprays that you can spray directly onto your pet.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to post a comment again!

  12. 12

    Hi, My husband noticed a large swarm of ants on our concrete driveway last summer and just sprayed them with the can of Raid I had in the house to treat the occasional small black ants. Over the course of the summer I noticed larger black ants climbing up my brick home, near the driveway where the swarm of ants were seen before, and crawling under the brick mold board and into the attic. Put some granules down in that area and treated with a Raid bug barrier on the wood brick mold. Ants were still seen occasionally in the same area. 2 1/2 years ago I also had ants of the same size under my kitchen sink, leaks may have drawn them but have now been fixed. Outside my kitchen, outdoor hose drips against the hose when turned on and laundry vent in same location, have seen ants of the same size there as well. Treated these areas
    as well. I finally called my past exterminator last fall and he sprayed the outside and spot treated a few areas inside and left a few baits. I told him about the ants crawling up the side of the house and into attic but said it was not necessary to treat that area?? I still have these ants, especially in kitchen, on the counters, under the sink and on the floor. I have seen larger ones, thinking they are carpenter ants and some with wings. I amy see as many as 30 – 50 of them and then none for days and then see 1 or 2 and then 1 or 2 winged ones. They don’t take the baits and they don’t eat any food? Can I eliminate them myself or should I leave this to a professional? I was even thinking of trying those electronic plug in devices? Spring will be here soon and don’t want them swarming in the air. Thank you. Pat

  13. 13

    Hi Pat,
    It seems to be quite a heavy infestation you have there. Generally, once swarmers are present it is considered a heavy infestation because swarmers are a sign of the colony expanding. With heavy infestations, hiring a professional exterminator is recommended. However, if you would like to go about in a do it yourself treatment there are a few products I can recommend by experience. First, for indoor treatment I would use a type of bait gel such as Dupont Advion Ant bait gel and spot treat areas such as in the kitchen or bathroom where you are most likely to see them. Around the outer perimeter of the home, I would use a liquid concentrated insecticide such as Phantom. Phantom will last up to 3-4 months after the application and continue with its delay kill effect; allowing the ants to take the pesticide back to its colony, exposing it to the rest of its members. To finish it off I would also recommend granular treatment for the whole lawn. I hope this small bit of information helped in anyway. Best of luck to you!

  14. 14

    Is there a difference between Maxforce Carpenter Ant Bait Gel and Combat Source Kill Max? They both seem to use the same 0.001% concentration of Fipronil.

  15. 15

    Hi Al,

    Many pesticides contain the same main active ingredient. Where the line is drawn as to whether it is considered a professional grade is the inner ingredient. Therefore the professional brands such as BASF, Backed by Bayer, and MGK usually have their lines carried with distributors who target professionals in search for pest control supplies. But calling the manufacturer of both products would be the most accurate way for you to receive a comparison.

  16. 16

    Hi, I feel like for the past few years we have had the occasional few ants… in the kitchen batherooms, even in bedrooms. But recently I’ve been finding probably at least 30 ants in different areas on the floors, Also I have come to the conclusion it is the carpenter ant bc last night I noticed a total of 20 to 30 flying ants dead on the kitchen floor. Also recently found in the wood cabinets which are from the kitchen floor to the celine holes in the wood. I have always sprayed and cleaned the ants I see. Also I’m not sure where the nest is. I spent a good amount of time last night watching a few ants to see where they go, but they were just wondering around….. Not sure how to go about this. I have used different baits before. Also most of the baseboards around my house is wood. With most wood floors as well. Can’t exactly afford a exterminator right now. But it seems like if I wait to try and fix this it is just getting worse….

  17. 17

    If the ants were big about 1/2” then it would most likely be carpenter ants. Smaller ants could just be living with in your wall void area. The maxforce ant gels or the Dupont advion ant gels are both professional grade products that you can use to control the ants that you are having problems with. These would be the same chemicals that your local exterminators are using so you will probably save your self a lot of money. If in the case it is carpenter ants, Maxforce actually came out with a specific Carpenter Ant Bait Gel. When you apply the gels it is important not to kill the ants that you see for those worker ants will be the ones to carry the bait poison back to their colony. Through regurgitation the poison will spread and eventually wipe out the entire colony. Good luck with your ant treatment!

  18. 18

    Hi I live in Kentucky and I have both a centipede and a carpenter ant problem. I think I think I know the reason for the ants from the article, but they appear to be coming from an outlet above the dishwasher what can i use in that area. I have a picture of them, but can’t upload them here. I am not sure why the centipedes though. I have found them in the bathroom and in the kitchen. My concern is not just for myself, but more so for my two small children. I had the house sprayed for the ants last year but they are back this year. Should i get an exterminator or is there a over the counter spray or powder i can use? Please help me.

  19. 19

    Hi Shawana,

    For your carpenter ant problem you can easily treat the outlet area by using the carpenter ant bait gels. It will stick on to almost any surface you apply the gels to. Once you apply the gels, make sure you do not kill the ants that you see for they are your key source to spread the rest of the poison to the rest of its colony. As for the centipedes, you will need to treat the outside of your home thoroughly with a liquid concentrated insecticide such as Masterline Bifenthrine, Talstar, or Suspend Sc. You can actually use these insecticides indoors as well so you can spray this in the bathroom area along the baseboard areas and cracks and crevices. Once it has fully dried it is okay for your children or pets to be around that area. Good luck with the treatment, these are all professional pest control products so as long as you follow the product label you should be fine (:

  20. 20

    I have experienced three swarms of flying carpenter ants on my front porch. I have consulted with an exterminator who has recommended starting with a total release fogger under the porch. Since this is outside my home (and yet still contained) this seems logical. What do you recommend?

  21. 21

    I think I have gotten rid of wood ants, now how can I fill in the damage in the wall’s of my log cabin. I have found many void’s in the wall using the watermellon test,tearing out the log(s) is not fesiable as they are rebarred every two feet, top to bottom. I tried some clear chaulking, put six tubes in. Let it set over night. It all sank into the voids below that point. Then used a pound of wood putty , trimed another piece of wood and it seemed to do the trick. Any suggestions? The home inspecter, when I bought the house, did not spot the problems.

  22. 22

    Since they are swarming and may not have settled yet, it is good to use a residual spray. Phantom insecticide is a contact kill insecticide that provides a residual effect. Although the total release fogger will work, however, it provides just a short residual and will not provide long term control. Good luck! 🙂

  23. 23

    Hello. All homes have a void area in between the outer wall and the inside rooms. The purpose is for insulation or conservation. Also, all homes and structures have building codes and so we are unable to give you an answer. You must contact a contractor or a building inspector for advice on what you should do to fill in the voids. We apologize for the inconvenience.

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