Homemade Carpenter Ant Killer

Mary Ylisela

Carpenter ants are one of the environment's garbage cleaners, eating decayed wood, rotting food and carcasses. Having carpenter ants in your yard and garden is actually a good thing unless the carpenter ant population becomes so large that the ants begin to invade your home.

Carpenter ants return to the food source.

Many chemical-based ant killers are available at retail and grocery stores, but you can make your own homemade carpenter ant killer to save money and prevent introduction of toxic chemicals into the environment in which you, your family and your pets live.

    A spray bottle helps you apply your homemade ant killer directly.
  1. Pour glass cleaner into an empty spray bottle. Add 2 tsp. liquid dish-washing detergent to create a soapy cleaning solution, and shake to mix.

  2. Spray ants directly with the soapy solution to kill them. Saturate the areas around anthills with the spray, as well. Apply more of the soapy solution, every few days, wherever ants continue to pop up, as it may take a few weeks to get rid of the entire ant population.

  3. The sugar in jelly or jam attracts carpenter ants.
  4. Place 1 tbsp. any flavor jelly in a small paper cup. Add 1 tsp. boric acid and mix the two ingredients together. Lay the paper cup on its side, outdoors, a few feet away from anthills. The carpenter ants will be attracted to the sweetness of the jelly; the boric acid mixed in it will kill them.

  5. Toss out your paper cup ant traps every two to three days, replace them with new ones until you are no longer attracting any ants into your traps.

  6. Pour cornmeal down large anthills where you're having trouble exterminating the carpenter ant population. The ants will eat the cornmeal, which expands in their stomachs and kills them.

  7. Tip

    Once you're rid of the carpenter ant population, spray straight vinegar around ant entryways such as doorways, baseboards and windowsills to keep ants from returning.


    Boric acid is unsafe for pets or humans. Keep boric acid ant traps out of the reach of your children and pets.