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  • Tom Watson

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are some of the most common invaders during the spring season in New Jersey. Knowing how to identify them and what to do to get rid of them will help you prevent damage to your home and property.

It’s pretty easy to tell the difference between regular ants and carpenter ants.

Carpenter ants are much larger than regular ants. Here are a few ways to tell the difference:

  • Carpenter ants are ¼ to ½ inches whereas regular ants are .2 inches

  • Regular ants live outside and only come inside looking for food

  • Carpenter ants can live in your home and produce sawdust

  • Termites produce pellets

Do Carpenter Ants Have Wings?

This is a very common question. The queen and male ants have wings, however, the worker ants do not. If you see swarms of flying ants in your house, this means that male and

Ant Swarm - Photo by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos

potential female quieen ants are looking to mate. This is call a mating swarm and means a colony is close by. Don't wait and call a professional right away as the tunneling that carpenter ants do can weaken the structure of your home.

Why Am I Suddenly Seeing Carpenter Ants?

The most common way homes become infested is through the relocation of an existing colony. This means that a house is located near a wooded area is a good candidate for infestation. Colonies tend to move when they are disturbed. If you're doing construction or near construction, you should be extra vigilant - keeping a eye out for some new visitors.


There are home remedies you can try as well as non toxic, home-made treatments that may help. For example, you can use boric acid or insecticides to treat wood. Regardless of what you use, you need to find nest. If you can't find the nests, you may not be able to get rid of these ants.

Controlling Carpenter Ants

The key is to address the problem early – and not avoid it. Are there any wood areas in your home that have moisture damage? Think windows, sinks, chimneys, doorframes and bath traps. Think under the bathtub or toilet. These are the areas you are most likely to find a nest.

One way to find a nest is to tap wood surfaces and see if you can detect a hollow sound. You can also follow ant trails as they use permanent trails. However, this process can be tricky and still not solve the problem.

Using a Pest Control Professional

When I am called to remedy a carpenter ant problem, I treat the present and future invasion. This involves 3 steps:

1. Remove debris around your home

2. Spray the foundation with insecticide

3. Perform quarterly applications to avoid new infestations

My goal is to form a barrier on the outside of the home. No chemicals are applied inside the home. The worker ants go out foraging and come in contact with the insecticide. They carry it back inside and share with the colony. This kills the queen and eggs. A home barrier treatment lasts 2-3 months and will prevent new carpenter ants from nesting in your home.

Once you eliminate the nest, there are steps you can take to help prevent a problem in the future:

· Repair leaks that get wood wet.

· Insulate pipes if you see water droplets on them

· Keep rain gutters clean and make sure they drain away from your home

· Store firewood away from your house by several feet – and off the ground

· Seal gaps created by cable wires and electrical hardware

· Keep your eyes out for any indication that you have a problem

Want to talk ants or have questions? Call Tom at Go Green Pest Solutions.

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