How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants
Getting rid of carpenter ants can be one of two things: incredibly simple or incredibly difficult. An example of an incredibly simple Carpenter Ant problem is simply the infestation of a tree stump in the front yard. Sometimes the presence of swarmers (winged carpenter ants), which are often mistaken for termites, isn't even indicative of an established colony in the home, but a colony found just outside of the home. In the case of my father's home, however, I imagine it is going to be incredibly difficult because the shear number of swarmers (hundreds) coming up through the floor denotes a rather large, established colony. Chances are he'll have to have some serious structural improvements made once the infestation is taken care of. Timbers will have to be replaced.
Kill them now.
Regardless of the perceived size of the infestation, if you see more than a few winged black ants in or around your home, steps should be taken to get rid of carpenter ants before they become a more serious problem.
Sure they're not termites?
If you're not sure, you should read our article about termites.
Line your house with white gravel.
White gravel can be a natural form of carpenter ant control. Carpenter ants prefer moist places, and white gravel's dry texture and its positive effects on drainage around the home make it a natural barrier to home pests.
Do-It-Yourself Carpenter Ant Control
Getting rid of carpenter ants on your property requires that you do an inspection outside. Treat the outside of your home with a residual barrier insecticide like Knox Out, and clear brush away from the home. Kill any mature nest you may find (usually in rotting wood) by opening the nest and drenching it with boiling water or with a mixture of water and ant killer. Note that structural improvements like replacing aging and rotted siding and wood porches may be necessary to prevent establishment of indoor carpenter ant colonies.
Getting rid of carpenter ants from your home is simple enough if you can find out where the Carpenter Ants are coming from. If the colony is large enough, nesting carpenter ants will actually make a crinkling or crunching noise. If detecting a carpenter ant nest by sound isn't possible, you may want to try setting up a sugar or honey bait, and following them back to their nest during the night. This, of course, requires that you can stay up well past your bed time, but once you find the nest it's just a matter of making one of two choices:
You have two choices:
The first choice to get rid of carpenter ants in your home is to spray aerosol pesticides into the entrance of the nest and place sweet baits (boric acid or Terro) near the nest. This can be considered a first step, if you think the colony isn't very large. Usually twenty or so winged ants found in the house during the spring is indicative of an established, but small, colony. Sweet baits and a simple aerosol spray may be able to take care of the problem, though ants in the nest have been known to survive for several months without feeding, and aerosol sprays may not make it far enough into the nest to guarantee complete ant extermination.
The second choice to get rid of carpenter ants in your home is to drill holes in the wall to penetrate the nest, and then dust and spray with ant killer. If you notice more than 20 winged ants in your home during the spring, then it's possible that you have a larger colony established somewhere in your home, and if you want to get rid of carpenter ants the best way to do this is to find their nest, drill holes into the nest, and dust with boric acid or Knox Out (Diazinon), and spray with an aerosol insecticide. This is a big step for a lot of people because they don't want to do any damage to their home, and if they're renting, this may not even be an option.
If you can't get rid of carpenter ants or you're not certain you are qualified to do so, you may want to call a professional pest control agency. If you're a homeowner, you should schedule an initial inspection to make sure they can detect the location of the nest, a second to treat the nest, and a third inspection within a month or during the following spring to ensure they have gotten rid of carpenter ants for good. If you're a renter, you should notify your landlord of the problem; explaining the danger to the structure of the house may influence more immediate action, if you know what I mean.
Professional Carpenter Ant Control
A good pest control professional will do a very thorough examination of your home. Having all family members present may help the agent pinpoint the location of the nest more easily, so be ready for questions about sightings and recent ant activity. Once the nest is located, the pest control agent will drill holes, and treat the surrounding wood, moving outward from the nest's location, eventually finishing the job with a residual insecticide spray of the perimeter of your home. With the number of carpenter ant infestations and the difficulty of getting rid of carpenter ants, it is relatively common to call in a professional to take care of your ant problem.