Please be sure to read the product label of any insecticide you choose to use to get information on the personal protective safety gear you will need. In most situations, it is recommended that you wear long pants, a long sleeved shirt, closed toe shoes with socks, chemical resistant gloves, and goggles. In areas where ventilation is poor, a manufacturer may recommend you wear a mask or a respirator. We have put together two different safety kits that will make selecting the correct safety gear easier for you.
After you have located the areas that have been infested by carpenter ants you will need to select the treatment method that best fits your needs. There is a wide variety of carpenter ant control products and methods available due to to the wide array of areas that carpenter ants can infest.
Indoor Baiting and Spraying
If you see the carpenter ants and perhaps even some debris they have left behind but you cannot access the nest directly, we recommend you use a combination of carpenter ant bait and a non-repellent spray to eliminate the colony. We recommend using three key products to effectively get rid of ants:
A non-repellent aerosol ant spray insecticide for use around doors, windows and baseboards.
Two kinds of ant baits for use in cabinets, on counters, near sinks and other places where sprays would not be appropriate:
a protein based bait, and
a carbohydrate based bait
This combination of products will help get the ant infestation under control much more quickly than using any one product alone. We include these key products in our Carpenter ant control kit to make product selection easier for you.
You should place bait in areas where carpenter ant activity has been noticed. It is important to avoid purposefully putting the bait in the middle of an ant trail or on to the ants themselves. This will make the ants avoid the bait and make the baiting ineffective. Instead put the bait near ant activity or next to ant trails. To help keep ant bait fresh and off of surfaces we recommend placing the bait in the bait plate stations provided in the kit. Some examples of places where the bait can be placed are:
In kitchen cabinets and on counter tops.
Behind, next to, and under the stove.
Near sinks or drains
Around pipes, cords, and cables that come out of the wall.
Behind and under bathroom fixtures.
Around the medicine cabinet and vanity.
Around window or door frames
You should check the bait placements once a week and replenish as needed until ant activity has ceased.
We recommend using a non-repellent carpenter ant spray to supplement baiting. We make this recommendation for two reasons:
There are times that ants may be more in a nesting cycle or they may already have a steady, safe food source and they will ignore baits.
There are some places that you cannot spray such as inside food cabinets or around food prep areas, so bait would be used in those areas.
We put a non-repellent ant spray in our ant kits because the carpenter ants will not be able to detect the spray and it is picked up on their bodies and carried back to the nesting areas. Non-repellent ant sprays do take several days to start killing, but that gives the product time to start spreading through the colony, infecting more ants.
Using the included straw applicator, apply the spray directly into cracks and crevices along baseboards, under appliances, around door frames, window frames and in areas where utilities (cables, pipes, wires) enter into the structure and other areas where ants have been entering your structure.
If you are able to find the actual carpenter ant nest, you can treat it directly to eliminate the nest quickly. There are a couple of ways to treat the area. If it is in a wall void you can choose use foam or ant dust to fill the void thoroughly. If the nest is located in, say, a wood beam, you can choose to foam or dust that area that as well.
Wall Void Treatment
If the nest is located in a wall void, you can choose to open up the wall by cutting out pieces of sheetrock, or you can choose to drill holes through the sheetrock into the infested areas to apply the chosen product. If drilling holes into the wall or opening the wall is not possible or not desirable, you will want to follow method 1 for eliminating your carpenter ant infestation.
You can choose to purchase ready to use foam products that come with a small flexible hose and a nozzle to help apply the product to the correct areas. For larger jobs, you can choose to purchase a non-repellent concentrate spray, a foaming agent and a foaming device to apply the foam. Non-repellent foams do work a little bit slower than dusts but they offer the benefit of expanding in the void to cover more area.
You should choose a dust that is labeled for carpenter ant control. You will need a hand duster to apply the dust to the void or to the gallery if the nest is located in a piece of wood. Dusts do tend to kill the ants a bit faster than foaming but you may need to drill more holes or open the wall a bit more to make sure you are getting even coverage.
If you find that you have ants crawling around the exterior of your home or structure you should also consider treating outdoors to avoid a new infestation indoors. Just like treating indoors, you must eliminate or change the environment around your home which made the carpenter ants find your property attractive to start with.
Sanitation means more than cleaning up food that has been left out or sweeping up certain areas. Sanitation for carpenter ant control means altering or eliminating the things that carpenter ants need to live. Pests of all kinds require three essential needs to exist on your property:
Water or moisture
Harborage or a place to live
By removing or limiting the pests food, water or harborage you will help make your property less attractive to pests, including ants.
Trim back trees and shrubs so that the branches and foliage do not touch your home to prevent ants from using them to avoid pesticide applications.
Trim up bushes and shrubs so that you can see beneath them to eliminate moist shady areas where ants like to nest.
Rake mulch, pine straw or other landscape bedding back at least 6 inches from structure to create a "dry zone" that ants are likely to avoid.
Turn mulch or other bedding material every couple of weeks to keep moisture retention low and discourage nest building.
Clean out gutters and downspouts frequently as insects and other pests are known to harbor in these areas.
Mow lawn as needed to keep growth low.
Remove grass clippings, leaf piles and stacked wood to eliminate harborages.
Remove ripe fruit from trees.
Store outdoor trash cans and dumpsters as far away from structure as possible and be sure they have tight fitting lids.
Thoroughly wash out trash cans and dumpsters with an ammonia solution when needed.
Outdoor Baiting and Spraying
Carpenter ants can nest in a wide variety of places outdoor so the treatment that is needed will vary. We will outline the most common treatment methods but if you find yourself facing a unique treatment area, please contact our customer care team to speak to an expert.
Use Outdoor Carpenter Ant Spray
If you are finding carpenter ants crawling on the exterior of your home you can treat the entire perimeter to eliminate the colony.
We strongly recommend you use a non-repellent spray such as Taurus SC. You can also use Termidor SC, but it's not as great of a value. Most ant sprays will only kill the ants that actually crawl over the treated surfaces. Since only about 20% of an ant colony is likely to venture out to forage for food these sprays will not adequately control the colony. The other downside of using other ant sprays is that ants are sensitive to most insecticides and will try to avoid the treated area further lessening the effectiveness of the spray. Taurus SC, and other non-repellent products, are undetectable by ants and other insects so they readily cross over treated surfaces. Once the ants contact the surface the product sticks to their bodies causing them to carry it back to the colony. Once the infected ants are back at the colony they spread the Taurus SC around through social interaction with the other ants eventually leading to colony elimination.
You will need a hand pump sprayer or a backpack sprayer to apply Taurus SC. You will mix 0.8 fl oz of product with each gallon of water. Most folks will need 1-2 gallons of finished solution to complete the perimeter application. You will need to apply the Taurus SC solution one ft up the foundation and one foot out onto the ground to build a barrier. You can also apply the solution around window frames, door frames, places where cables, pipes or wires enter the structure and any other place where you have noticed ants crawling or trailing on the structure. You cannot spray Taurus SC out in the yard as a broadcast spray, and you must limit applications to once every 6 months.
You should note that Taurus SC is formulated to have a slow kill time to allow the ants to spread the product around the colony, and it can take several weeks to see the full results.
If the ants are further away from your home or spraying is not desirable, we would recommend using a carpenter ant bait granule. Carpenter ant bait granules can be broadcast over wide areas but studies show the baits work best if put in small teaspoon sized mounds near the areas where activity has been noticed. Carpenter ants usually forage during the night so it is recommended that you apply the bait just before sunset on a night when rain is not expected. As the carpenters ants forage they will pick up the bait and take it back to feed the colony. Over a few weeks, the colony will be eliminated.