Getting Rid of Carpenter Ants

Using a safe, thorough method to keep these ants from your home and buildings is important. This guide is about getting rid of carpenter ants.

Carpenter Ant
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I am overcome with ants, carpenter ants. Anyone have any ideas for a homemade solution or any solution? How do you get rid of them?

By Zoya from Collinsville, AL

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Carpenter ants for the most part are a nuisance ant, though they are considered a wood destroying insect, they rarely do any damage at all. They never eat wood, just will tunnel in it usually wood already damaged from rot or termite...90% of all carpenter ant work I do.

They will not be nesting around any wood at all, just a hollow area such as the tubing that makes up the frame for screens and storm windows. Common areas of wood they are found would be hollow core doors and the hollow areas under the window sill.

They will not feed on the commercial baits found at stores for other house hold ants such as Terro, but you can get a specialty bait called MaxForce Carpenter Ant gel that works good for an inside infestation and Advance Carpenter Ant granules for outside, both work well when professionally tackling them and be found on the web.

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Does anyone have an eco-friendly way to rid a home of carpenter ants or termites short of replacing all the infected wood?

CC from Northern IN

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Ants will not walk on cinnamon, period, fact.

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I discovered ants in my dishwasher; I am a clean freak who rinses everything thoroughly before I put dishes in the washer. Any suggestions on what to do?

By Diedra from OH

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We use Terro too. It is the best way to get rid of ants. I tried everything else that I could think of-- TERRO is the answer.

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Inside my house on a window sill there is a little mound (size of a dime) of what looks like finely ground pepper. I cleared it away and in just a few hours the little mound re-appeared. What could it be?

By Nan Rae

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Have your house checked for termites. If you're having this problem, that' what I'd.

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Carpenter ants are eating my porch! Any easy solutions?

By Christine from Dubuque

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We had them in our roof of our other house but didn't know it for years. The roof leaked, we repaired it with tar, 2 years later it would leak again, we repaired it. This went on for years. Finally we decided to put on a new roof. When they took off the shingles the roof was full of carpenter ants. We were told to pour javax on them. My husband did and it killed them all. We built the new roof and as far as I know there has not been a problem since.(we sold that house 16 years ago). Hope this helps.

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Will Epsom salt hurt my palms and other plants and my dog? I put some all around my plants to see if it would get rid of carpenter ants.

By Sheila

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No way I use epson salts all the time. It's great. May do your plants a favor. It's just magnesium.

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I am looking for a good way to get rid of carpenter ants. Any ideas?


Carpenter Ants

I really do not know and was hoping some one had posted something for this problem. We sprayed Raid and it did help some. My daughter had them and the exterminator came out, but the ants moved else where. They are a lot of trouble. (07/07/2005)

By Peggy

Carpenter Ants

Use black pepper. (07/08/2005)

By Althea

Carpenter Ants

We're just in the process of having moved into a home near a forest and are dealing with some carpenter ants colonies.
(FYI try a Google search on these ants)

We had a pest guy come and spray the perimeter of our house, it got rid of quite a few. Also, go around your place with a flashlight when it's dark outside, say between 10p.m. and midnight, check for ant traffic. You may be able to locate the nest, then get a pest guy to get the Queen. Viola! Ants be gone. This is pretty much it, also get rid of any moisture around wood and/or rotting woodpiles. (We actually found and disposed of a Queen this way.)

Then try using organic deterrents regularly, such as planting peppermint around the house, sprinkling cinnamon and/or cayenne all around the house, too. Also, you could burn pine resin on a charcoal all around the house in and out (this also deters wasps from nesting) and over time, your place will become unfavourable to certain unwelcome creatures. (08/06/2005)


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How can I kill carpenter ants without using an exterminator? Already have one on retainer for termites. I really don't want to give them any more money.


Sheila from Central FL

Getting Rid Of Carpenter Ants

Every few years I get carpenter ants in my home. I tried bait traps, but finally called an exterminator. He explained in my state we have only two types of ants (maybe fire ants at some future time) small red ants and carpenter ants. Bait traps work only on the small red ants. Carpenter ants don't eat that stuff. They are looking for damp wood and water. When I killed the carpenter ants outside I noticed the carpenter ants would be carrying off the dead ants. I asked the exterminator why. He said they are cannibals and take the dead ants back to the nest to eat. That is why bait traps and other types of deterrents don't work. Red ants eat from the bait traps. Spend the money and get a exterminator. It cost me $450 with a ninety day guarantee. The ants were gone by the next day. (09/11/2007)

By Dean

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How do I get rid of ants in dishwasher?

By annette45 from Rochester, MI

Ants in Dishwasher

My parents had this problem one year and no matter what they did the ants were still there. Finally my dad took the panel off the inside of the door and wow. The door is lined with cardboard and insulation. The ants had made a huge nest inside the cardboard and there were thousands. He ended up cleaning out, then spraying the inside of the door panel and replacing the cardboard. Hope it helps. (07/08/2009)

By crydrallim

Ants in Dishwasher

Every few years I get carpenter ants in the kitchen. They may come in from under the dishwasher or some other place. I call an exterminator and he sprays areas in the basement and on the outside of the foundation. In a day or two they are all gone. The ants carry the material the exterminator uses back to the nest. The ants in the nest eat the material and they all die. (07/08/2009)

By foxrun41

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Has anyone heard of this and have any suggestions? My dishwasher is getting full of ants. When I open in the morning, it will be full of ants. I run a small amount of hot water in it and then drain. How are they getting in and how can I stop them?

CJ'S Mom

Ants in dishwasher?

You have to find where they are nesting. In my case, the cabinet next to the dishwasher had cereal which was infested. I threw it all out and bought plastic cereal keepers. Finally I found that there was candy in my daughter's bag in the hall closet, that was the attraction. They will gravitate to the water. You will need to get an exterminator, but must find the source of the attraction. (03/13/2005)

By mahopacnymommy

Ants in dishwasher?

You probably have a leak under your dishwasher. It could only be one small drip, but still a leak. You definitely should call an exterminator, but fix your leak. (03/14/2005)

By klmaclaughlin

Ants in dishwasher?

Put Mule team 20 borax granules in the bottom of your dishwasher when not in use. They will "take it home" and it will kill the source. Best of all you can just run your dishwasher as normal, as the borax won't hurt you or your dishes/dishwasher. You can exterminate and kill once, but if the dirty dishes are the attraction and they (exterminators) don't kill the source then they will return time and time again. Dial Corp won't say it kills ants as they are not licensed as a pesticide, but it works. You can also go the 20 Mule Team site and find other uses for this product so if you don't use it all for ants, which you probably won't, then you have other neat things to make and do with it.

I also use a sugar, water, borax mixture to kill ants in other unwanted places. A milk cap filled with the sugar mixture and refilled for two weeks took care of ants we were fighting for almost two years. Good luck. (03/14/2005)

By Barbie

Ants in dishwasher?

Every year I get that problem. I throw bleach in the bottom of my dishwasher and that kills them for
a while. Wish I knew of another way also. (04/20/2005)

By Pat

Ants in dishwasher?

This is also a problem for us. Here's how I solve it. I take a Q-tip dip in an insecticide and run the Q-tip around the edges of the wood cabinetry surrounding the dishwasher and on the floor under the washer. Works like a charm. (05/09/2005)

By Deb

Ants in Dishwasher

You could also try putting granular lime all around your foundation. I tried this several years ago and "knock on wood", we have seen one ant in the house since then. (07/27/2005)

By Streatch

Ants in Dishwasher

I was having the same problem with tiny ants getting into the dishwasher. Since I heard that dryer sheets actually repel ants, I decided to stuff some under the cabinet lip near the dishwasher. Believe it or not, this worked and I haven't seen an ant since. (08/08/2005)


Ants in Dishwasher

I had this problem for a year or so until a friend told me to pour white distilled vinegar full strength (bought a big bottle really cheap) down the drain hole in the dishwasher and then let it run with no soap for a cycle.

I am happy to say I have only had to do this one other time between last year and now and they have been gone ever since. Hope that helps. (08/11/2005)

By Tanya

Ants in Dishwasher

Same problem with tiny ants around washer. Found a nest inside the top panel rear when removed. Just next to the vent. Ants may like the moisture. Removed and sprayed area. (05/24/2008)

By Mike

Ants in Dishwasher

I have used Boric acid. Found this on the net. Just go out and buy some 20 Mule Team Borax if you need more. It's in the laundry soap aisle in the grocery store. It's almost pure Boric acid, sold as a laundry soap booster. At about $3.00 per 2-4 pound box it's a lot cheaper than the commercial ant killer.

The best bug-killing bait I've used was a recipe whose source I cannot remember. I'll list it here:

  • 1 part borax
  • 1 part flour
  • 1 part sugar
  • enough Crisco to make a paste.

I cut apart the individual "cups" from an egg carton and put a good spoonful of the mixture in each. Then I place the "cups" around under appliances, well out of the way of pets and kids. The sugar and fat will draw the bugs to the bait. Every spring I renew the bait.

I also sprinkle a little in the bottom of the dishwasher as the dirty dishes accumulate. The bugs are drawn to the dishwasher and walk through the borax.

By Jim T.

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Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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Home and Garden Pest Control AntsJanuary 6, 2013
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