A common question customers ask is- "What are these ants with wings?" or they refer to them as "flying ants". These ants are commonly known as Carpenter Ants. They get the name not because they eat wood as termites do, but rather they dig through wood and kick it out behind them. More often than not customers discover a Carpenter Ant problem when they see small piles of sawdust. There's a term for this, it's called "frass". Frass is any evidence left from an unwanted pest, it could be mice droppings under the stove, it could be gopher mounds of dirt in your back yard, or silver dollar sized vole holes.
The best way to completely treat an entire colony of Carpenter Ants is to apply bait or use a termiticide. Commercial grade products are the only option to completely eradicate the colony. Inexpensive products that you find at the local hardware store only offer a surface treatment. They are often very weak with the low percentage of active ingredients, meaning they are highly diluted. Commercial grade products are the only effective means because they get to the "core" of the colony. Ants bring food to the colony where the queen resides. This food sharing is called Trophallaxis. When we bait an ant mound or the targeted area, the ants carry the products back into the nesting area and effectively eliminate the colony under the surface.
Another issue with attempting to treat for ants yourself is that the products that are most effective against ants need to be non-repellent. Over the counter products such as Home Defense Max or Spectracide Pro are repellents, they are much lower grade pyrethrin, thus only interrupting the colony and pushing ants into different unwanted locations. Baits attract, they haul it back to the nest. Termiticides have no odor,color, or taste. This is beneficial because it doesn't interrupt the trail of pheromones allowing the ants to come into contact with the product without realizing it.