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While doing maintenance on an exterior wall near an inside corner, I pulled off rotted cedar shingles and the backing underneath to find scurrying black ants. They were small, not like I imagine carpenter ants. Although I do suspect they are some variant of worker carpenter ants, etc.

I chipped away at where they ate tunnels in the wood. The picture shows a 1 3/4" piece of ceder timber. Behind that is another piece of 1 3/4". I don't believe that second piece had been penetrated.

I intend to coat the area with Abatron's Liquid Wood, a wood-penetrating epoxy. Then to patch the wood, I will use Wood Epox, a dough-like wood fill by the same company.

Before I do any of that, I want to be sure the ants are gone and not simply retreating their nest deeper into the walls. My question is how can I remove them if they've gone deeper? Please note in the picture, the area where the concrete meets the wood. I have chipped away a significant amount there. There is a gap between the wood and the concrete running deep. If the ants are inside, that's where they are getting in.

The remaining wood is not moist or rotted in any way. In fact, the only damage was their tunnels. The only moisture was in the backer between the ceder shingle and the wood. That was the first thing removed. I cut that off 1 1/2' up from the ground all around.

exterior wall, ant tunnels chipped away

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I believe you will find that these are carpenter ants and they are quite destructive. Not as bad as termites but close.

Your best bet is to hire a pest control company who can exterminate them and give you advice on how to prevent them from re-entering your property.

Then you can repair the damage.

While this is a DIY forum, extermination of insects is generally not a DIY project because the needed chemicals are not available to unlicensed persons.

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