How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are indigenous to many parts of the world. They nest outside in dead, damp wood, building smooth, distinctive-looking nests. They remove wood to create passageways through wood grain to provide access to various nest areas known as galleries. Indoors, carpenter ants nest in any natural hollow, such as hollow-core doors, window sills, and wall voids. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat wood; however, they damage wood, from hollowing out trees to damaging the materials used in the construction of buildings. Sometimes you can find their nesting location by observing the presence of frass, the very fine sawdust they leave behind when constructing nests.

Carpenter Ant Appearance

Scale : Small Ants to the larger Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are large, from 1/4–3/8-inches long and are one-node ants. They are dark brown to black, but some may have red or yellow coloration. The Black carpenter ant, Camponotus pennsylvanicus, in the east and C. modoc in the west are the most thoroughly studied species in the United States. Other species of Camponotus are distributed throughout the country. The queens are slightly bigger than the workers. The workers of an established colony vary in size. The most common variety of carpenter ant is large and black, but the Florida carpenter ant is smaller and ranges in color from yellow, red, brown to black.

For more information: Carpenter Ant Biology and Habits

Black Carpenter Ant

carpenter ants

Florida Carpenter Ant

Florida Carpenter Ant

Carpenter Ant Control


Carpenter Ants are controlled through the application of insecticides and sprays in various forms. These forms include liquid concentrates, baits, dusts, and foams.

1. Inspection

The first step in controlling carpenter ants is an inspection. The purpose of the inspection is to determine if they are located outside and simply foraging inside for food, or if you have a colony or satellite colony inside your home.

2. Determine Control Measures

Once you complete your inspection and identify nest locations and foraging trails, the next step is to determine which control measure to use.

  1. Baiting - used on carpenter ant trails
  2. Spraying- Non-Repellent sprays used as permiter treatment, may be used with baits
  3. Treating Voids - Foams or Dusts used in voids or galleries where carpenter ants are nesting

3. Prevention

The final step is to prevent further infestations by ant-proofing your home and yard, by clearing away rotting trees and lumber piles, fixing plumbing leaks, etc.

Baiting Procedures for Foraging Carpenter Ants and Carpenter Ants in Recessed Areas

Apply carpenter ant baits after inspecting their trails. The ant baits listed below are designed to attract carpenter ants. The foraging carpenter ants pick up the bait and share it with the entire colony, killing it..


  • Do not put repellent insecticides, liquid or granulated, in the same area as baits unless these insecticides are classifed as non-repellents. Repellent insecticides repel the insects away from the baits, rendering the baits useless. Use only non-repellent insecticides in the same area as baits.
  • It is important to remove other competing food sources (such as crumbs and pet food) that could interfere with the ants taking the bait.

1. A good treatment choice is to bait both inside and the ground outside with a combination of baits.

  • Both of the baits listed below are designed to allow foraging workers to take the bait to the queen in the nest, eliminating the colony/colonies, thereby preventing future outdoor populations from coming inside.
  • These baits work well on carpenter ants and resist the elements, making them hardy choices for outside baiting. Carpenter ants feed on sweet foods during certain cycles, and at other times feed on protein foods. The Maxforce Fleet Ant Bait Gel with Fipronil is a fast-acting bait that feeds the ants' carbohydrates/sugar cycles. The Advance 375 A Ant Bait is a protein-based food for the Ant's protein needs.
  • Use both baits for a complete balance of the Ant's dietary needs.

maxforce fleet

Maxforce Fleet Ant Bait

Maxforce Fleet is a Fipronil carbohydrate-based gel with a high moisture content that gets rid of ants within 3-5 days. If the carpenter ants are feeding on sugar, they will eat it and store it and regurgitate it later to share with other ants. Apply Maxforce Fleet with the syringe applicator or bait injector in small amounts where you see the ants running.

Advance 375A

Advance 375A Ant Bait Gel

The Advance 375 A Ant Bait is a protein-based food for the Ant's protein needs. Use Maxforce Fleet if they are feeding on sugar or carbohydrates.

carpenter ant bait combo kits
Carpenter Ant Bait Combos-Small and Large

diy complete carpenter ant bait kit
Complete Carpenter Ant Bait Kit with Taurus SC

Spraying Procedures for Foraging Carpenter Ants

At times you will have foraging ants that come inside, forage for food, and then return to their outdoor nests.

You can block these foraging ants using a perimeter treatment with a non-repellent residual insecticides such as Taurus SC or FUSE. Taurus SC and FUSE also control a wide variety of insects including Termites, Spiders, Roaches, Centipedes, Millipedes, Ticks, and many more.

  • Taurus SC (same as Termidor SC- Fipronil 9.7 )
  • Mix Taurus at 0.4-0.8 oz per gallon of water and spray a low volume spray up to 18 inches out and 18 inches up the perimeter of your home as a banded spray. Spray around windows, doors, pipes, vents, foundation, foundation cracks, drilled holes or any exterior openings where the ants may enter the home. Treat where wires (cable, telephone, electrical) enter the house.
  • May be sprayed 2-4 times a year depending on finished dilution rate
  • Taurus SC 20 oz yields 25 gallons and the 78 oz yields 100 gallons at 0.06% rate
  • Apply Taurus SC two-four times a year according to label instructions (finished solution percentages may change on frequency of use-see table below).
fuse insecticide
  • FUSE - ( Imidacloprid 21.4% and Fipronil 6.6%)
  • Mix 0.3 to 0.6 oz per gallon of water. Spray as a low pressure spray along the foundation.
  • FUSE may be applied twice or eight times a year, depending on the dosage strength and size of bands around the house.
  • FUSE 27.5 yields 50-100 gallons

Permitted Taurus SC Frequency and Dilution Rate Application Scenarios %:

Taurus SC finished dilution 0.03%
4 times/calendar year

Mix 0.4 oz per gallon

Taurus SC finished dilution 0.06%
2 times/calendar year

Mix 0.8 oz per gallon

Taurus SC finished dilution 0.03%
2 times/calendar year
Taurus SC finished dilution 0.06%
1 time/calendar year

We carry a special kit (DIY Complete Carpenter Ant Kit) with Taurus SC, plus two ant baits: Maxforce Fleect Ant Bait Gel, a sweet-based bait, and Advance 375 A Ant Bait to provide for the Ant's protein-based dietary needs.



Treating the Voids (Colonies Inside a Hollow Area)

Indoor nests (voids) are found in hollow doors, window sills, behind baseboards, or other natural hollow areas. These are the areas that warrant a complete inspection. Indoor carpenter ant damage oftentimes indicates water damage and wood decay. Making necessary repairs will help prevent re-infestation.

If you suspect the nest is in a wall, drill and treat at least 2–6 feet on either side of where the Ants are entering in order to maximize the opportunity to contact the nest directly, so you can get the queen.

Note: Do not use liquid insecticide in a wall void. Treat wall voids and other hidden spaces where Ants hide by carefully drilling a series of small (1/8-inch) holes and dusting the area with a residual insecticide dust such as D Fense Dust. You can also use an aerosol with a crack and crevice tip such as Alpine Aerosol or an aerosol that foams such as Alpine Ant & Termite Foam. Both these methods provide a long-term residual effect.

WARNING: Never use liquid insecticides or metal tipped devices around any electrical outlets.

Once you locate the nest, treat the nest directly with an aerosol spray or foam, such as:

d fense dust

D Fense Dust
D Fense dust is to be used as a dust in void areas. Use a duster with it for the best application.

alpine pt aerosol

Alpine PT Aerosol (Non-Repellent)

Alpine PT Aerosol, fitted with a crack and crevice tip, works well in void areas where you don't know exactly where the nest is located.

alpine ant and termite foam

Alpine Ant & Termite Foam

Use Alpine Ant and Termite Foam (non-repellent) when you know exactly where the nest is located.

Carpenter Ant Prevention

Follow these steps to prevent carpenter ant infestations:

  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. Stack firewood away from the house, elevated off the ground if possible. Carpenter ants love to nest in firewood.

Contact Us for further information and help with your carpenter ant issue. 1-800-476-3368