Best Carpenter Ant Killers | Proven and Effective Products

Written by Thomas Matthews

Dealing with a carpenter ant infestation can be challenging, as these large and fast-reproducing ants are among the most difficult to eliminate. While carpenter ant baits are highly effective, it’s important to know that they don’t work instantly and will take time for them to completely eradicate the colony.

How do carpenter ant baits work? Carpenter ant baits work by using specific ingredients that are attractive to these ants. The baits also contain a slow-acting poison, such as borax, that does not kill the ants instantly. When the ants carry the bait back to their nest and other ants consume it, the entire colony is eventually eliminated.

In the following sections, we will provide a guide on how to apply carpenter ant baits and offer recommendations for the most effective options. Let’s get started!

How Do I Identify Carpenter Ants?

How Do I Identify Carpenter Ants

The most characteristic quality of a carpenter is that they love to dwell in and among wood that they have dug tunnels through. It’s crucial to know this because, in contrast to other species, they can actually harm humans significantly if ignored.

The most obvious indications are their size and the prevalence of wood shavings (sometimes known as “frass”) close to their nest. Another indication is the presence of large workers and many winged swarmers. The latter indicate that the colony is developed and getting ready to reproduce.

Types of Carpenter Ant Killers

Types of Carpenter Ant Killers

If you don’t treat these ants, they could seriously destroy your property. This implies that as soon as you realize they are carpenters, you need invest in strong killers right away. 

Homemade Remedies for Carpenter Ants


In the first, vinegar is used as an acidic substance to keep ants away. It should be combined equally with water. Although many individuals utilize it, it is not particularly efficient.

Boric Acid

Boric acid coupled with a sweet solution, like honey or jelly, as an attractant is used in the second widely used natural remedy, and it works better. The acid causes the ants to die. The majority of ants that you can’t see are unaffected by this, although it’s a temporary fix.

Baits and Sprays are the Best Carpenter Ant Killers

You must purchase a product that genuinely works, I beg you. If the infestation spread and damaged your home, the upfront expense would be small in comparison to the amount you would save.

Baiting works because the queen is fed with it, which disturbs the ants’ nest’s reproductive cycles. Never disrupt the nest before using a bait if you plan to use one. Since the ants are dispersed as a result of this, the infestation can recur in another area of your home. It also won’t completely eradicate the ants.

Another choice is to spray an aerosol repellent around the outside of your house. In order to eliminate the colony and prevent any from returning, this method works best when combined with baiting.

Later, more of the best ant bait products will be covered.

How to Apply Carpenter Ant Baits?

How to Apply Carpenter Ant Baits

To ensure the best results, it’s important to take the time to locate the trails that carpenter ants use when foraging before applying the bait. Placing the bait directly on these trails is the most effective way to target the colony. If the ants have consumed the bait, be sure to apply more.

It’s possible that certain types of bait may not be effective if the carpenter ants don’t find them appealing. In this case, switch to a different product or use one of our recommended options.

Remove all other competitive food sources before applying the bait. If there are plenty of food and crumbs throughout your house, the ants may not even touch the bait. Insects that produce honeydew can also become a bait competition, so treat your plants with products that help eliminate aphids.

Finally, ant baits are more effective when temperatures are above 70°F. If it gets too hot during the day, consider applying the product at night when the temperature drops. Ants do not like high temperatures or direct sunlight.

Top 6 Best Carpenter Ant Baits | Detailed Review

What is the best bait for carpenter ants? There are a lot of ant baits to choose from and some of them can be really ineffective. This is why we have done our detailed review of these products. Now, here are our top 5 best carpenter ant baits that we recommend.

1. Terro 1806 Outdoor Liquid Ant Bait

Terro 1806 Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits, 1.0 fl. oz. - 6 count
  • Kills the ants you see and the ants you don’t
  • Pre filled bait stations are ready to use
  • Contains sodium tetraborate decahydrate (Borax) (5.40%) and other...
  • Flexible placement: in the ground using the stakes or on decks,...
  • Patented station protects the bait from the elements, prevents it...

Even though our first option is an “outdoor” ant bait, it can still be used indoors as well. The box comes with pre-filled bait stations that are ready to use. The main active ingredient is borax. The shape of the station prevents the poison from drying out.

There are six stations in the box that can easily be activated – all you have to do is push down and twist the cap. Place the station in the area, where you have last seen the insects.

This liquid bait can be used not only for carpenter ants, but also for ghost ants, pavement ants, odorous ants, crazy ants, and many others. Bear in mind that the bait includes slow-acting ingredients.

That means that right after you start using the station, the number of ants might increase for a while (a lot of creatures would love to feed on the sweet liquid). However, very soon the poison is going to destroy the whole colony. The trap should be replaced every three months, but the chances are high that you will get rid of the infestation a lot sooner.

2. Syngenta – Optigard Ant Bait Gel Box

Syngenta - TRTD11568 - Optigard Ant Bait Gel Box - 4 Tubes w/ Plunger - 30g each tube, White
  • Target pests: For indoor and outdoor control of...
  • Highly attractive formula promotes ready transfer of the active...
  • Powerful, active ingredient knocks out workers, brood and queens
  • Approved for use indoors and outdoors, applied in cracks and...
  • How does Optigard Ant Bait Gel work? Ants that feed on the gel...

This option is a bit more expensive, but it’s extremely effective. Moreover, you will be getting four tubes in the package. You can use this gel both outdoors and indoors. With the help of this bait, you will surely be able to get rid of carpenter ants and a few other ant types (excluding pharaoh, harvester, and fire ants). The active ingredient is thiamethoxam (0.1%).

Optigard is a clear gel that doesn’t leave stains. It has little to no odor. The formula is packaged in 4 ready-to-use syringes with a plunger (30 grams). This type of bait is especially great for applying cracks and crevices. The gel will remain palatable for 14 days after baiting (both outdoors and indoors).

The consistency of the gel is perfect. Some baits might be too gooey, which prevents the ant from transporting the poison back to the nest. Optigard’s consistency makes it easy for the carpenter ants to take the substance to the queen. By the way, the gel is able to maintain its properties even under harsh environmental conditions.

3. Amdro Ant Block Granule

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Amdro ant bait is designed for outdoor use only. This solution will create a barrier around your house and make sure that the carpenter ants never invade it. All you have to do is shake the package around your home and overall this bait is very easy to apply.

The great news is that this protection lasts up to three months, so once you have used the treatment, you can forget about the ant problem for at least a few months.

The bait kills carpenter ants and 24 other ant types (including fire ants). The active ingredient used in this bait is hydramethylnon (0.88%). In a lot of cases, the poison will kill the queen within a week of application.

That means that in around two weeks, you will be able to get rid of the whole colony. Bear in mind that you should not apply the product when the ground is soaking wet or when rains are expected.

4. BASF – Advance Carpenter Ant Bait

BASF - 396153 - Advance Carpenter Ant Bait - 8oz, White
  • cmpany and distbutr of pest control produc. PesControl Pros can...
  • Package Weight: 0.068 kilograms

This is an outdoor-focused bait. The granules are relatively large and contain abamectin. Unlike a lot of other ant baits, this option is not as toxic (but you should still be careful with the poison, if you have pets running around, for example).

This product is weather-resistant, though you would still have to reapply it from time to time. Depending on the size of the granules, the bait can be used to cope with different types of ants. The product has a slightly fishy smell.

The thing that makes this particular bait stand out is the fact that it is a protein/fat granule bait. The solutions that we have mentioned above are sugary. However, carpenter ants are also attracted to protein. In case you have figured out that the carpenter ants around your house are not fond of sugary stuff, then this can be a great solution.

Unfortunately, sometimes carpenter ants might be picky, so you would have to try a few different baits in order to find the one that they like the most. All you have to do to make this bait work is to apply the granules where you suspect the insects are coming from. That can be around dead trees or wood piles, for example.

5. Combat Indoor and Outdoor Ant Killing Gel

Combat Indoor and Outdoor Ant Killing Gel, 27 Gram
  • Helps get rid of ants in just 3 to 5 days
  • Best used in cracks and crevices where ants enter the home
  • Eliminates the entire ant colony
  • Fipronil, one of the most powerful ant killers, starts to...
  • This package contains one 0.95 ounce syringe of Combat Max Ant...

The package includes one syringe that is ready to use. You can place the gel directly onto the targeted area fast and easily, without making a mess. Thanks to the fact that this bait has high water content, the ants will eat the poison faster.

The manufacturer promises that the bait will start killing the insects within an hour and the whole colony will be poisoned within 3-5 days. Ants often travel along hard-to-reach areas, such as crevices and cracks. It is easy to apply the product to these challenging places thanks to the syringe. The gel doesn’t have a smell.

The product can be applied both indoors and outdoors. It is great for small, targeted areas, such as cracks. In case you need to protect the whole perimeter of your house, then you should use granules. The active ingredient is fipronil. The gel is effective against carpenter ants, as well as argentine, pharaoh, pavement, odorous, and little black ants.

For better results, make many spots of gel around the areas where you have seen the ants. You should not apply this product to a place that has recently been sprayed with insecticide. Also, do not spray insecticide over the gel as it may cause the bait to become a repellant.

6. Safer Brand Diatomaceous Earth Ant & Insect Killer

Safer Home SH51703 OMRI Listed Diatomaceous Earth - Ant, Roach, Bedbug, Flea, Silverfish, Earwig, & Crawling Insect Killer
  • Say Goodbye to Bugs – Kills a variety crawling insects...
  • Attracts and Kills – Made from diatomaceous earth and selected...
  • Mechanical Killer – Unlike many traditional chemical...
  • Use Where Insects Hide – DE can be used indoors or outdoors....
  • Peace of Mind – This powder is OMRI Listed and compliant for...

Diatomaceous earth from Safer Brand comes in 4-pound packs. This organic material, which is suitable for use both indoors and outdoors, is made up of microscopic aquatic species’ petrified remains. 

It is suitable for quick-acting ant control and kills in 48 hours. Ants are killed in roughly 48 hours after it penetrates their exoskeletons, drying them from the inside out.

Using diatomaceous earth to eliminate bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, and other creepy crawlies is also beneficial. This product offers a safe pest remedy for households with pets and young children because it is not hazardous to humans or animals.

List of Sources

Steve H. D. (2016). Ant Management in Gardens and Landscapes. Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, Agricultural and Natural Resources, University of California.

Alder, P. and Waldvogel, M. (2018). Tips for Effective Ant Baiting. NC State Extension Publication, NC State University and NC A&T State University.

Ogg, B. Ant Baits: A Least Toxic Control. University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension In Lancaster County.

Thomas Matthews
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