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ABSOLUTELY, you need to take care of the ants first. There is TONS of information on the WEB about Carpenter Ants. I searched for +"carpenter ants" and +kill (Both keywords/phrases together in a WEB Search Engine like AltaVista.com), and got over 900 'hits' on the search. (In fact, if you cut and past the keys into the Search Box, you'll get them too.)
You need to be sure that what you have is Carpenter Ants and not Termites. So, learn what you can about one and/or the other to be sure. From there, you can start the cleanup process. The KEY to this process is to dramatically reduce, or better yet ELIMINATE, any 1 or all of the 'conditions' in which the buggers thrive. In other words, if you 'alter' their environment juuuuuust enough, they will die or go away. HOWEVER, if you don't alter the conditions enough, they may just go deeper or move to a nearby location. You need to look at the BIGGER picture so that if they move on, they move to your NEIGHBORS house; NOT just 'around the corner of your house'. See what I mean?
Go here: AltaVista.com, then click the DO-it-yourself pest control link, then click on the link for Carpenter Ants, and start reading. Again, be SURE they're your problem.
My best to ya and hope this helps.
Jay J -Moderator
PS: Regarding your porch, you need to give more details on what's going on now and what you want to do. DO realize - I/we can't see it from here. Please give a respectable amount of info ...