Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are big, often black, and bore tunnels into wood to make their nests. If the wood happens to be your house, they can cause serious damage.

One of the best resources for all around advice about how to eliminate carpenter ants, including real hands-on help, is
Beyond Pesticides (BP). Once you land on their page, pull down the “INFO” menu, and click on alternatives. Note in BP’s literature that they report that carpenter ants only survive in a very narrow temperature range, and specialists can eliminate carpenter ants by “baking them out!” Another option is BoraCare, a product recommended by BP as a least-toxic approach to killing carpenter ants, and is a product that needs to be applied by a licensed exterminator. It might be worth your while to ask your local exterminator to be trained in the use of BoraCare!

Link here for a KEY to Common Household Ants.

University of Kentucky College of Agriculture has good information to determine if you have carpenter ants, and provide tips on how to control them, as does University of California Management Guidelines.

QUICK FACTS…from Colorado State

* Large black or brown carpenter ants, winged or wingless, can cause serious damage if permitted to remain in the structural wood of a building.
* Winged carpenter ants often are mistaken for termites, a more serious problem.
* Winged ants inside or outside a home year-round indicate an infestation; seasonal presence is not as serious.
* Locating all nests is the most important and difficult step in controlling carpenter ants.
* Preventive measures will guard against carpenter ant infestations.
For more of Colorado State’s information click here.

Integrated Pest Management for Carpenter Ants.
Cornell Cooperative Extension Urban IPM Program for directions on how use a low-toxic insecticide.

Victor Poison-Free® Ant & Roach Killer
The only patented Poison-Free® formula available. Kills ants and other crawling insects. Available in Mint or Cedar Scent. Works indoors or outdoors. Contains Mint Oil or Cedar Oil as the active ingredient. Safe around children and pets. There are also herbs that work as natural repellents.


Diana W.
Diana W6 years ago

Might be useful! Thanks!

Sherri Mowbray
Sherri M6 years ago

Great article. Thanks for the addition of so many sources to refer to for more info as well.

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Peter B.
Peter B7 years ago

very interesting thankyou Annie

Ann Eastman
Ann Eastman7 years ago

Thanks for both article and comments. Although I have frequently seen what I believe are carpenter ants outside our house, it seems likely that they love ion an abandoned- and rotting woodpile next to our propriety line.

Scott Harriss
Hayden H7 years ago

That's good to know, Keith. Thanks.

Jan Jongen
John Jongen7 years ago

Keith I agree with your comments but one more thing about carpenter ants: their powerful jaws are strong enough to bite through your skin. So if you must handle one use a glove.

Keith I.
Keith I9 years ago

We should all be aware that just seeing carpenter ants doesn't mean they are causing damage to a building. They do not eat wood, and they only use it for nests when it is soft and rotting, not sound dry wood. In other words, they are an indicator of rotting wood. They also fill a niche in our living community by eating other insects and helping to return wood back to the soil. Their nests are most typically in a rotting log or stump. If they are seen foraging around a house that doesn't mean they are devouring the structure. Take a look at the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides website for a good summary: