The sight of ants in your home can often signal the beginning of a long and arduous process to get rid of them.

Ants are among the smallest pests that invade homes, and because they are colony insects, there will always be more than one–sometimes hundreds of them–in a nest nearby.

To make matters worse, while some ants in Maryland are simple pests, others, like carpenter ants, can severely damage homes and other structures on your property. Even after eliminating the infestation, you often need expensive repairs to return the house to its former glory.

Don’t let carpenter ants in your house rob you of your peace of mind and damage your property. Learn how to get rid of carpenter ants and when to call a professional.

How to Determine If You Have Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are common wood-damaging insects, similar to termites. They are typically larger than most ants–approximately ⅜” to ½” long—and have all-black coloring or mute brown tones interspersed with red shading.

The defining feature of carpenter ants is their behavior, which leads them to burrow holes in soft and untreated wood that leads to damage. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t feast on food; they only nest in, which makes them less dangerous, though still costly.

You can distinguish the carpenter ant from other ant species by its smooth, rounded back, rounded thorax, and single humpback node if spotted.

Why Carpenter Ants Are Dangerous

Carpenter ants build nests inside soft, wet, or untreated wood, weakening its integrity from the inside. They tend to stay outside, as they prefer wood that’s been softened by excessive moisture.

However, in the event of a pipe burst or unforeseen flooding, carpenter ants may enter your home and damage it.

Homeowners are most often vulnerable to carpenter ant infestations in sheds, barns, and any outdoor wooden furniture they may have.

Signs Of a Carpenter Ant Infestation

Carpenter ants tend to avoid human contact, but they may make their presence known in several ways.

Here are some signs of carpenter ants that can help you identify a potential infestation:

  • Spotting frass near windowsills or door entries where ants penetrate wood from the outside.
  • Spotting ants crawling around your property that are larger than most sugar ant species.
  • Hearing small, ruffled movements inside walls and areas where carpenter ants occupy.

Because carpenter ants can cause increasing amounts of damage the longer they are in your home, it is critical that you do not delay treatment for potential infestations. If you think you might have a carpenter ant infestation, contact a professional immediately or act to eliminate them as fast as you can.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants Outside

Since most carpenter ants tend to dwell outside where moisture is most prevalent, you can get rid of them quickly before they make their way inside.

Use Ant Bait

Many store-bought ant baits can be effective at destroying colonies. Each piece of bait contains a poison that a worker ant brings back to the queen of the colony. Over time, this will prevent the ants from reproducing and hopefully eliminate them for good. Borax is another useful bait, which interferes with an ant’s ability to digest, slowly starving them.

Eliminate Scent Trails

Most ants regulate colonies by spreading a pheromone-laced trail from their nest to a food source. Disrupting this trail can hinder the colony and even eliminate it.

Wipe or eliminate scent trails by using the following:

  • Over-the-counter all-purpose sprays
  • Cotton balls dipped in cedarwood or tea tree oil
  • A dish soap solution with one part liquid dish soap and two parts water
  • A vinegar-based solution with equal parts white vinegar and water

Use Direct Dusting

Ant dust is another store-bought insecticide that can be used to control ant colonies by directly killing ants on contact. This powerful insecticide is dangerous for pets and children, so beware. Only apply it directly to nests where queens are located to limit use and maximize effectiveness.

Place Boric Acid in Nests

Alternatively, try injecting boric acid directly into nests. Boric acid slowly destroys ants from the inside out and can also be transferred to nests via worker ants.

Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth

Spreading this all-natural powder across windowsills, pheromone trails, and anywhere carpenter ants dwell will slowly kill them and also prevent other pests from entering your home or shed.

How to Prevent Carpenter Ants from Coming Inside

Practicing general pest prevention will ensure that carpenter ants on your property don’t turn their hungry mandibles toward your home:

  • Eliminate any standing water and treat any moisture-damaged wood.
  • Seal all entrances, including gaps and cracks in your home’s exterior.
  • Eliminate food sources by cleaning up garbage and sealing food.
  • Eliminate clutter or hiding places where pests tend to dwell.

Reaching Out for Professional Carpenter Ant Control

The best way to handle carpenter ants in your home is to call a professional. Ants are notoriously pesky creatures, especially if they set up nests inside your walls. Even temporary baits and traps could still result in ants returning the following season.

Partner with Pest Czar; we have a team of trained technicians on standby to eliminate carpenter ant problems in a flash.

We are your local experts for safe and effective carpenter ant extermination. You don’t have to guess; let us offer our best! Call us today for all of your pest control needs.

FAQs: Carpenter Ant Control

How do I differentiate between carpenter ants and termites?

Carpenter ants and termites can look quite similar. However, carpenter ants are generally thinner and have elbowed antennae. Likewise, you can analyze their frass deposits; carpenter ants produce sawdust-like frass, whereas termites produce pellet-like frass.

Are carpenter ants harmful to humans?

Carpenter ants do not bite or transmit disease, though they can damage structures that imperil humans.

How long does it take to eliminate a carpenter ant infestation?

Depending on your method of removal, most carpenter ant infestations can be eliminated in a few days. A professional can disrupt and destroy a nest on the day of treatment; the rest should disappear within a few days after treatment.