How do I get rid of carpenter ants?

Anonymous Nov. 14, 2017, 10:27 a.m.

We have a 50 year old house and our roof was redone 10 years ago and found the roof structure was damaged by ants. We saw them a lot back then but we didn’t see any inside again until just two weeks ago this spring. I found a nest close to our house and poured boiling water on it but I’ve still seen a few since then. We’re hoping to deal with this before it grows into another roof repair. 

Responses (1)

Ecohome Nov. 14, 2017, 10:50 a.m. Reply

In the spring and summer, it is quite common for ants to enter homes in search of food, but they may not be nesting inside. If you notice significant activity during the winter, is it more likely that they have set up shop inside your home somewhere.

The presence of a carpenter ant nest near your home and a couple inside does not necessarily mean that there will be an infestation inside your home, they may just have been on a food recon mission. However, it is prudent to be vigilant since you have had this problem in the past.

How to prevent carpenter ant infestations:

Carpenter ants are interested in wet wood, so they are in a way a potential indication of other problems. There are several strategies that can help prevent an infestation before it occurs, as well as protecting your home from rot caused by an infiltration of moisture.

  • Remove stumps, dead trees, branches and any other rotting vegetation close to your home.
  • Check the condition of the foundation and exterior cladding, and seal any cracks. • Caulk around doors and windows to block their entry points and prevent air leakage.
  • Install mosquito nets at any openings like dryer vents and stove hoods.
  • Keep the humidity level in the home low, down below 40% Relative humidity if you can.
  • Avoid leaving out any food that might attract ants.

Signs of carpenter ant infestation Some species of ants will spend their time mostly in your kitchen, pantry or wherever the food is, carpenter ants on the other hand will more likely be found where there is moist wood, so it could be the kitchen (plumbing leaks) or it could be anywhere in your walls or roof where there is either air leakage causing condensation, or a leak letting in rain water.

If you regularly see them in a certain area, look for signs such as tiny piles of wood fibers that looks like sawdust, or bit of insulation such as foam, that will help you determine if they are drifters or residents. it’s worth investigating closely to see if there is any moisture damage. If you do have a problem, see our page on how to eradicate insects and rodents.