Carpenter ants are large, usually between 1/4 and 1/2 inch long, and are dark brown to black. While they don't eat wood, they do hollow it out to make nests, leaving behind smooth galleries that look like they've been worked with sandpaper. They prefer moist wood. A colony inside a home may be a satellite of a larger parent colony outside. Once you've determined where the ants are in your home, it's a good idea to look outside as well.
Things You'll Need
Look for sawdust. The sawdust around cracks in your walls or baseboards may contain dead ants or other insects.
Probe the wood. Since carpenter ants like to nest in moist areas, you can check for them behind dishwashers, around sinks or tubs, and anywhere else you might have moist wood. Take the sharp end of a screwdriver and stick it through your wall in several locations. If there are ants behind it, the wall will give way easily; small holes can be patched once the infestation has been taken care of.
Tap your baseboards with the blunt end of a screwdriver and listen for either a hollow sound or the rustling of ants.
Set out some honey. If you think you might have more than one colony, place a drop of honey on the non-sticky side of a piece of tape. Carpenter ants feed at night, so set your bait after dark. Once an ant feeds, follow it. Eventually it will disappear into a wall, behind a cabinet or into some other crevice, and you'll know where the colony is.
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