Carpenter ants

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Marsh, Mar 25, 2004.

  1. Marsh

    Marsh Well-Known Member

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    Hello,
    This question has probably been asked a million times but I can't find it. We have a found we have carpenter ants GRRRRR big black pain the dairy aire ants. Worst part is they are in the bathroom and DD bedroom YIKES!! The bathroom ok I might be able to not get hysterical, but DD room. NOW we are talking hysterical and needing answers. DD has tons of allergies, and very suseptible to Upper Respitory Tract Infections and irritations. SO my question is what can we use that is safe for pets (1 curious blue heeler) and small (under 6 years old) children. Some thing that is low smelling. All natural methods anyone? I will try anything at this point!!!! I will even try drawing a chalk line on the carpet around her bed if it had any chance of working at all.There is carpeting in her room also. We can not find where they are coming from. There are none, then you see 30 of them GRRRRRR can't follow them either.
    Any help greatly appreciated!
    Thanks
    Marsh
     
  2. GaitedRider

    GaitedRider Member

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    Instant grits works wonderful. Just put some out where you see the ants.
     

  3. We had them in the house...in the baby's room...we called and had the house sprayed. Turnes out the trees that were very very close to the house were infested. The trees were treated, until we could have them removed. Sorry cant be more help tho, but I know where your comming from finding ants in dd's room. We found the ants in our dd's crib.
     
  4. Try Boric Acid. I found some at Walmart and it shouldn't be too hard to find. It is pretty safe to use around people and pets.
     
  5. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ..............I had'um for awhile Too. Finally found a product that works. I couldn't afford a 1k fee to spray my home. it's called terro and it works. www.terro.com 800-837-7644............Contains boric acid in a very viscous , sweet liquid that you put on pieces of cardboard. The ants store this stuff and return to the Queen and feed her. She dies and the colony dies...........fordy... :eek: :)
     
  6. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Forget the boric acid, a teaspoon is enough to kill your baby. It is possible to mix it at about 2-5% and make an effective bait if you can find something they will take. With this ant, that is the crux of the problem. Since they are insect eaters, they shun people food. Don't sprinkle pure boric acid anywhere.

    Forget the grits.

    Carpenter ants have become more prevalent throughout the country. A single mature colony can occupy and forage over 5 acres. They prefer to nest in moisture damaged wood, but can be elsewhere. They also have satellite colonies that are all connected to the main colony. There can be in excess of 3 million ants in a single large colony. They primarily forage in the evening. Daytime activity could be an indication of a section of the colony nearby. One unique thing is that they all visit the main colony each day. You can exterminate a satellite and have little effect on the total colony. If you exterminate the main colony, the satellites will still continue. This is why baits work so well, they all die even if you don't find any of the nests. Also, with baits, the toxicant is in the food, and not in the air, so it is safer for your family. Don't let animals eat it though.

    You know you have found the nests when you see little beercans outside.

    If you cant find the nests, then sprays or contact poisons wont work. Otherwise, you must bait them to succeed. The problem is that they are very picky eaters. Many products are labeled for carpenter ants, but I have found only a few that work. Furthermore, there are times when they won't take any bait. You could try the Terro. If they take it, it will work. Here in CO they won't take bait until after mid-May. They only take it until late summer.

    I'm worried about your structure. You could have moisture damage from the roof or elsewhere inside the walls. Generally speaking, if they are nesting in your structure, you will have some damage. You will need to open the wall and replace wood and fix the leak. Usually this is enough to make them move the colony away from the house without using any pesticide.

    The way to deal with this is to go outside and find their trails. They establish and use trails heavily. The trails look like a highway with ants going both directions. Once you find the trails, you can follow them to the nests. Start at the house. They can use overhead materials to get to the house, like a power line or tree branch, but somewhere they come back to ground. If you use a good bait, you don't have to find the nests, just the trails.

    Apply a good bait along the trails. Apply a small amount (a few grains) and wait. They may move it out of their way if they don't want it. So you have to wait and watch. It could take a half an hour before they start to take it. It could happen in a minute. When they take it, apply the whole container along the trails you have found. It could be another kind of ant that takes it, so you have to watch.

    The only consumer market product that I have found to work is called Combat Granular. The active ingredient is hydromethylnon and the food matrix is ground up silkworm pupae. Its hard to find and I haven't seen it here in Denver for years. I can sell you a version of this product if you can't find it locally. The only problem for me is that I buy larger containers, and would have to order a small one for you. You can try the Terro, if they take it, it will work also.
     
  7. KindredCanuck

    KindredCanuck In Remembrance

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    Diatomaceous Soil ( contains amorphous diatomaceous earth ) ..( 80% silicon dioxide ) safe odorless non staining effective long lasting insect control powder use without fear around birds fish wildlife ... great for ridding all crawling bugs.. and fleas.. sprinkle everywhere.. if fleas are a problem.. powder the dog.. not eye area though.. but it is a super product..

    KC`
     
  8. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a contact insecticide. It is like microscopic razors. It kills the bugs that cross it by cutting into their exoskeleton. This causes the insect to "dry up." Unless you can get it directly into the nests ( all of them ) it will have little or no effect on the carpenter ants. Since these ants are heavy trail followers, when the DE is on their trail, some will die, but the continued action eliminates the DE from the trail and they are back in business. The ants that die are only workers, and the factories (the queens) are still in operation. To get rid of carpenter ants, you must kill all the queens. If you use DE, this can only be done if you get the DE on the queens, not on the trails or around the house. Also, it doesn't stick to vertical or upside down surfaces, so you can only treat the top of horizontal surfaces. There are cautions on the package. Specifically, you should not breathe it. My package of DE does not say you can rub it into a pets fur coat. I have heard of silacosis as a possible consequence of over exposure. Dusts are the most toxic formulation of insecticides. With any dust, and DE is a fine dust, air currents put it into circulation. I would not recommend using it indoors or in a plenum. The common form of DE is ineffective once it gets wet. I like to use a wettable powder formulation in my garden. I can dissolve it in water and spray it on plant leaves. Its a lot easier to use than dust, and a little bit goes a lot further as a spray. Plus, as a liquid, my risk during application is significantly reduced.
     
  9. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) You've had some good input: Here's some more info....

    http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/Entomology/entfacts/struct/ef603.htm

    If you type Carpenter Ants into your seach engine you will get lots of info. Something else you can do is to call your co operative extension service for more detailed info on the species that inhabit your area. Here in the Northwest the Terro works very well.

    Good luck....LQ
     
  10. cathyharrell

    cathyharrell Well-Known Member

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    Cinnamon got rid of my red ants. I think I read it in Countryside magazine.
     
  11. When I was a County Pest Control Officer, I always told folks that the first place to start was to read about the biology of the pest. Gobug sounds like a very knowledgeable person on the subject. Go to a local library or Ag Extension Office and get some info on Carpenter Ants. It is very important that you find out where they are probably living in your house, because they can cause structural damage. Many times I helped folks find the place where the pests lived in the house, and helped figure-out a way to repair the problem, without using any pesticides.
     
  12. GW

    GW Member

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    I had ants by the thousands at my old place. I planted a
    few Tansy plants around the house and saw maybe 3 ants
    a year after that. Worked for me.

    GW
     
  13. Marsh

    Marsh Well-Known Member

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    What are Tansy plants?
    Marsh
     
  14. d-k-g-1

    d-k-g-1 Member

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    Just my two cents... but these little buggers are all over the country now... at least they are not fire ants... grrrrr...

    Well here is the line from our local county extension agent...

    Biology and Habits
    Carpenter ants, vary in size and color but are usually large (1/4-1/2 inch) and blackish. Occasionally, swarms of winged carpenter ant reproductives will emerge inside a home. Carpenter ant swarms usually occur in the spring and are a sure sign that a colony is nesting somewhere inside the structure.

    Besides being objectionable by their presence, carpenter ants damage wood by hollowing it out for nesting. They excavate galleries in wood which have a smooth, sandpapered appearance. Wood which has been damaged by carpenter ants contains no mud-like material, as is the case with termites. Shredded fragments of wood, similar in appearance to coarse sawdust, are ejected from the galleries through preexisting cracks or slits made by the ants. When such accumulations are found (typically containing dead ants and bits of insects which the carpenter ants have eaten), it's a good indication that a carpenter ant nest is nearby. Oftentimes, however, the excavated sawdust remains hidden behind a wall or in some other concealed area.

    Carpenter ants nest in both moist and dry wood, but prefer wood which is moist. Consequently, the nests are more likely to be found in wood dampened by water leaks, such as around sinks, bathtubs, poorly sealed windows/ door frames, roof leaks and poorly flashed chimneys. Nests are especially common in moist, hollow spaces such as the wall void behind a dishwasher, or in a hollow porch column. Since there often will be no external signs of damage, probing the wood with a screwdriver helps reveal the excavated galleries. Another technique for locating hidden nests is to tap along baseboards and other wood surfaces with the blunt end of a screwdriver, listening for the hollow sound of damaged wood. If a nest is nearby, carpenter ants often will respond by making a " rustling" sound within the nest, similar to the crinkling of cellophane.

    Carpenter ants may establish nests in a number of different locations. It is important to realize that these locations can be either inside or outside the structure. Carpenter ants actually construct two different kinds of nests: parent colonies which, when mature, contain an egg-laying queen, brood and 2000 or more worker ants, and satellite colonies which may have large numbers of worker ants but no queen, eggs or young larvae. The carpenter ants inside a home may have originated from the parent colony or from one or more satellite nests. For example, the ants may be coming from the parent nest located outdoors in a tree stump, landscape timber or woodpile, or from one or more satellite nests hidden behind a wall in the kitchen or bathroom, or perhaps from wood dampened by a roof leak in the attic.

    The extent and potential damage to a home depends on how many nests are actually present within the structure, and how long the infestation has been active. Although large carpenter ant colonies are capable of causing structural damage, the damage is not normally as serious as that from termites. In some cases, the damage may be relatively insignificant, but this can only be determined by locating and exposing the nest area.

    Control
    The best way to control carpenter ants is to find and destroy the nests. This is often easier said than done. Recent studies have shown that carpenter ants follow distinct scent trails between the satellite colonies and the parent nest. Carpenter ants also rely on scent trails to recruit their nestmates to food. With patience and a little effort, homeowners can use this trailing behavior displayed by carpenter ants to locate and eliminate the nests.

    When carpenter ants are observed, don't spray them; instead, feed the ants small dabs of diluted honey placed onto the back (nonsticky side) of pieces of masking tape. The best time to do this is late at night since this is when carpenter ants are most active. After the ants have fed on the honey, follow them on their journey back to their nest. Be patient-- eventually the ants will disappear behind a baseboard, cabinet, or into some other concealed location such as the hollow space (void) within a wall, door casing, or porch column.

    Treat wall voids and other hidden spaces where ants are entering by carefully drilling a series of small (1/8 inch) holes and puffing boric acid (available at most hardware stores) into the suspected nest areas. The boric acid powder will disperse in the hidden void and contact and kill the ants. If you suspect the nest is in a wall, drill and treat at least 3-6 feet on either side of where ants are entering so as to maximize the chances of contacting the nest. Carpenter ants prefer to travel along wires, pipes and edges. If you suspect the nest location is in a wall, also treat behind pipe collars and behind --not in-- the junction box for electrical switch plates/receptacles. NEVER SPRAY LIQUIDS OR INSERT METAL-TIPPED DEVICES AROUND ELECTRICAL OUTLETS!).

    As noted earlier, carpenter ants seen in the home may actually be nesting outdoors, foraging indoors for food and/or moisture. Consequently, the homeowner may end up following the ants they have baited with honey out of the house and into the yard, possibly to a nest located in a stump, or under a log or railroad tie. Once the outdoor nest is discovered, treatment can be performed by spraying or drenching the nest with an insecticide such as carbaryl (Sevin), diazinon, or chlorpyrifos (Dursban). If outdoor nests are suspected, the homeowner should also inspect around the foundation of the building at night with a flashlight, especially around doors, weep holes and openings such as where utility pipes and wires enter the structure. The baiting approach using honey can also be used to trace carpenter ants which are foraging outdoors back to their nest.

    Tips When Calling a Professional
    Oftentimes, it will be difficult or impossible to locate and destroy the carpenter ant nest(s). In this case, the homeowner may wish to call a professional pest control operator. Pest control companies approach carpenter ant problems differently. Some attempt to locate the nest and selectively treat only in specific areas. Other companies take more of a "shot-gun" approach, drilling and dusting as many potential wall voids and nesting sites as possible. Most companies also apply a perimeter spray treatment around the outside foundation of the home in an effort to temporarily prevent reinvasion. The approach which should not be used is simply to spray each month where carpenter ants are seen. If no effort is made to locate the nest(s) or probable nest areas, the problem will most likely continue.
    Typically, there will be wide differences in price depending on the company and amount of effort expended. Since carpenter ant problems are not always solved on the first attempt, the type of guarantee and reputation of the company should be factored into the purchasing decision.

    Carpenter Ant Prevention

    A number of steps can be taken by homeowners to reduce the potential for future carpenter ant problems.


    • Correct roof leaks, plumbing leaks and other moisture problems which will attract carpenter ants.

      Eliminate wood-to-ground contact such as where landscaping has moved soil or mulch up against the wood siding of a home.

      Clip back tree limbs and vegetation touching the roof or siding of the house. Limbs and branches serve as "bridges" between carpenter ants nesting in a dead tree limb and the structure.

      Seal cracks and openings in the foundation, especially where utility pipes and wires enter from the outside.

      Stack firewood away from the foundation and elevate it off the ground. Never store firewood in the garage or other areas of the home, as firewood is a prime nesting area for carpenter ants

    Hope this info helps...
    Dave
     
  15. GW

    GW Member

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    Tansy is an herb. I never knew it was Tansy till a friend told me.
    My family always called them "ant plants".

    GW