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Carpenter ants are found on all continents with the exception of Antarctica. This demonstrates their ability to survive in hostile conditions. This is also why they have a reputation for being very difficult to exterminate.

These ants, which can range in colour from dark red to black, are called “carpenters” because they dig tunnels and passages in wood. If they infiltrate a building, they can cause serious damage and even weaken its structure. This is why if you think you are suffering from a carpenter ant infestation, you must react quickly to stop the problem.

Here is the procedure for destroying a carpenter’s ant nest and getting rid of this sneaky threat to your building’s strength.

Locate the ant colony and its nest

In order to destroy a carpenter ant nest and exterminate the ant colony, you must first locate the area of the building that shelters it. To do this, you can start by looking for small holes and piles of excrement. Since ants prefer to dig wet wood, you can focus your search on elements that are likely to have been wet over time.

Carpenter ants can settle in walls, hollow doors, beams and structural wood. You can therefore test the wood by tapping it firmly to detect infestations. Wood dug by ants may appear thinner or more hollow than healthy wood. Tapping near a nest can also agitate ants, making them leave their hiding place. You might therefore see some specimens that confirm that you have spotted a carpenter ant nest.

It should also be noted that mature nests often have smaller satellite nests, which must also be located to ensure that the ant infestation is eliminated.

How to get rid of carpenter ants

Ants are particularly tough insects that live in large colonies. If you want to get rid of carpenter ants, there are a variety of very effective solutions. If you would like more information about any of the solutions below, we recommend that you contact an exterminator.

1. Boiling water

One of the simplest ways to destroy an ant nest is to cover it in boiling water. This method is cruel to the ants, but it is nonetheless very effective if you are looking to quickly eliminate carpenter ants.

Using boiling water avoids the use of chemical products.

2. Diatomaceous soil

Diatomaceous soil is a natural insecticide for quickly killing off carpenter ants. Made from fossilized microalgae, this ant repellent can be harmful to your pets and family members if they come in contact with it. It’s effective at eliminating ant nests, but it’s fairly dangerous!

3. Boric acid

Boric acid is an effective solution for exterminating carpenter ants. It comes in a white powder form and sticks to the insects’ legs, acting on their nervous and digestive systems.

For destroying ant nests, you should mix the boric acid with an equal amount of sugar. This mixture should then be placed directly on the ant nest.

Boric acid is a very effective toxic product for fighting against ants, so it is important that it is kept out of the reach of children and pets for this reason.

4. Repellent plants

There are lots of ways to get rid of insects. We have mentioned lots of unnatural methods above, but it is also possible to destroy ant nests with natural repellent plants found in your garden.

Planting repellent plants in your garden can create a natural barrier against ant invasions. Here’s some examples of repellent plants you could use:

  • Peppermint
  • Basil
  • Lavender
  • Sage

5. Essential oils

To eliminate carpenter ants and keep them away from your garden, essential oils will become your best friends.

Using these oils won’t completely destroy ant nests but will have a fairly strong repellent effect. For as long as the smell of the essential oils lasts, ant colonies will be deterred from setting up home on your property.

Here are some essential oils to use if you find carpenter ants in your home:

  • Lemongrass oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Peppermint oil


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Destroying the ant nest based on location

To destroy a carpenter ant nest, there are several tactics to implement depending on its location. While most of the solutions presented above will work regardless of location, it is necessary to understand the difference between an indoor and outdoor ant nest.

A nest of carpenter ants outside

If the ant nest is located outside your house or building, in a wooden pile for instance, simply discard the affected wood carefully, wearing long-sleeved clothing to protect you from ant bites when performing the task.

If you have an ant colony in your garden, we recommend that you use one or two of the tips mentioned above.

A nest of carpenter ants inside a building

If the colony is located inside a building, you can use a vacuum cleaner to disturb the colony and vacuum the ants. If you do this, be sure to seal the bag tightly to prevent any surviving ants from escaping.

If you find an ant colony in a wall or beam, don’t try to cut the wood and then suck the ants out. You may compromise the structural integrity of your building. Instead, you should rely on the expertise of an ant extermination professional who can provide you with effective solutions that won’t affect the strength of the wooden structure affected by the infestation.

Elite Pest Control: your partner for carpenter ant extermination

In conclusion, eradicating a colony of carpenter ants necessarily involves eliminating all nests and especially the main colony. Otherwise, the ants will return to your home.

If you want to be rid of ants permanently, you should contact the specialists at Elite Pest Control. We can perform a full inspection inside and outside of your home and then destroy the primary and satellite nests.

Pascal Rock
Pascal Rock  
Director, Elite Pest Control
Founder and mainstay of Elite Pest Control, Pascal Rock has embodied expertise and dedication for over a decade. His training, acquired with expert mentors in extermination and pest decontamination, has shaped an outstanding professional. Under his leadership, a team of six seasoned technicians deploys the very best pest control strategies. Together, they ensure the peace of mind and safety of residents and professionals from Montreal to Quebec City, by offering fast, effective interventions, available at all times.