Home Remedies for Carpenter Ants

An infestation of ants in any home is enough to cause unrest, especially if you are dealing with the kind that brings severe ruin to the structure of your house. To date, there are several species of carpenter ants known to wreak havoc on cozy residences, commercial buildings, and outdoor construction. Contrary to popular belief, carpenter ants do not eat wood, but instead – remove it to create tunnels and galleries.

What are Carpenter Ants?

Usually black or red in color, the carpenter ant belongs to a genus with more than a thousand species that inhabit the world, including smaller ants to the Florida carpenter ant that bites and releases a painful acid [1]. Feeding on protein and sugar, the carpenter ant will eat syrup, honey, sugar, jelly, meats, and honeydew – a by-product of aphids and scale insects.

Additional facts concerning this particular specimen, includes:

Moist wood is the perfect nesting place for carpenter ants, such as tree roots, stumps, logs, and rotting trees. Decayed wood found inside a building is also suitable. Other nesting spots include attic beams, behind bathroom tiles, under subfloor insulation, and inside the hollow spaces of doors and walls.

Carpenter ant infestations serve as indicators of construction issues, usually caused by decaying wood and moisture. If wood is sound, a carpenter ant will not feed on it [2].

Female carpenter ants look quite menacing, but do not sting. However, an occasional bite may occur when threatened.

Carpenter Ant Home Remedies

A common way to eradicate ants is to leave behind bait that is later taken to the rest of the colony. However, many species of carpenter ants do not carry bait back to their nest. This means that you must locate the nest on your own, which could be located under the foundation of your home – a headquarters that can become pretty difficult to seek and destroy. When looking for effective home remedies for carpenter ants, consider the following suggestions:

a) Homemade Ant Bait [3]:

Depending on the species of carpenter ant threatening your home, you may use an ant bait to treat your problem. First, heat three cups of water, and then add one cup of sugar and 4 teaspoons of boric acid powder. Stir the concoction to dissolve the ingredients. Place a wad of cotton batting on a jar lid – shallow enough to allow ants to crawl inside. Soak cotton with the boric acid solution and position the lid in an area where you see the most ants. Replenish the solution on a frequent basis, making sure that pets and children do not come in contact with the remedy.

b) Outside Greenery:

Keep carpenter ants away by trimming all of the bushes and trees around your house, making sure that branches do not touch the outside of your home.

c) Fix Leaks:

Since carpenter ants are attracted to moist environments, quickly fix leaky roofs and any faulty plumbing.

d) Check Wood Conditions of Your Home:

Treat exposed wood construction with paint or sealant before they become wet and susceptible to a carpenter ant infestation. Replace any wood that has become rotted or damaged by water.

e) Remove Outdoor Firewood:

Remove piles of firewood left too close to the home – a real temptation for carpenter ants.

f) Peanut Butter:

To create bait especially geared towards killing carpenter ants, mix 12 ounces of Karo’s Clear Syrup with two tablespoons of boric acid powder. Place the mixture in an empty squeeze bottle and position drops of the solution in places where ants frequent. Another recipe mixes 12 ounces of apple jelly with two tablespoons of boric acid. For both home remedies, add two tablespoons of peanut butter to attract carpenter ants.


g) Baby Powder:

Sprinkle a bit of baby powder around your house to keep ants from entering. For some reason, the insects will not cross this substance.

h) Baking Soda and Powdered Sugar:

Combine ½ cup of powdered sugar with ½ cup of baking soda to make a remedy that attracts carpenter ants to a specified location. It is said that the ants will consume the sweetness, but since they cannot expel excess gas in their system, they succumb to the mixture.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpenter_ant

[2] http://www.state.me.us/doc/mfs/carpants.htm

[3] http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/housingandclothing/DK1015.html


  • John

    I was about ready to sale my house at a loss because I didn’t know what to do about carpenter ants making holes through my home. That is until I tried the baking soda and suger technic, which from putting my ear to the wall, sounds like its doing the job.

    There has been less and less munching away at the structure of my home. I still think I need to smoke the house with something, but don’t have the money to do it just yet.

    Santa Claus, are you listening?

  • Olen

    My uncle says that carpenter ants are really hard to get rid of, but I’d rather use remedies above that shell out the money to pay for an exterminator.

  • Pingback: Do You Have Carpenter Ant Damage in Attic? | Get Rid of Carpenter Ants()

  • Susie

    I bought a house in the fall of 2002. The next spring I discovered carpenter ants in my kitchen. I am talking about hundreds of them, in my cupboards, in my dishwasher, on the floors the counters it was a frenzy. I opened a box of cereal and literally found dozens of huge ants crawling in it. My mom told me about making the boric acid/sugar solution. It works like a charm. I shred cotton balls and put them in the bottom of a container (I use gator-aid caps or little fruit cups I save from my kids snacks) I still get the ants every spring, so I make up the mixture and usually within a week the ants are gone.

  • Ben

    The best method I have found is to deploy liquid bait stations. The clear torro brand worked wonders. Place a few where the ants are and within a week they’ll be gone. As for a non-toxic remedy- … bleach, water and liquid soap mixed in a spray bottle is effective at killing and preventing ants on your counters. Spray and let the mixture air dry. Reapply often the bleach destroys the chemical tracer the ants leave behind. They will quickly learn that this place sucks and will stop within a week.

  • Loretta

    I have a great tip to get rid of carpenter ants, as every spring they seemed to come out of nowhere..
    Vinegar is the answer..I used it on my counter tops ,floors etc. & no more ants..
    Now if I could find some deterrant for raccoons wandering around my backyard,like they own the place,I would be so grateful..

  • Shelley lemmond

    I have used apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap place in small top like soda bottle lids, place on counter tops under appliances, of course away from small children and pets, no more pesky ants, as for raccoons, rodents, ground hogs, and possums, get 3 to 4 boxes of mothballs and throw under your house, I live in a mobile home which made it easier. Good Lu ck

    ,hope I have helped ….

  • Linda

    The ants I have look like carpenter ants and sting, but are no where near the house. They are under a concrete pad and have several tiny holes in the yard. I nave noticed several more tiny holes this week, they are not on my wood and never have been, even when the wood was directly on the concrete. I have tried store bought killer which hasn’t worked and have to be careful what I use because of my dog.
    Any suggestions will be appreciated.