Something To Kill Carpenter Ants?

gabrielledeveau(z7NY)July 8, 2004

Does anyone have any advice.? Had Terminix in , put down numerous help...each year they're back!

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bfroberts(z7NC) too. Have found lots of things that will get rid of them......

......for a little while.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2004 at 12:09AM
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Here's a great new way of killing individual insects. Mix 50% icing sugar with 50% baking soda and set it under a jar lid in the garden where the bugs are. They eat it up and get gas. Since insects can't 'pass gas', they pop!

To get to the nest, you need a little borax mixed in with some sugared water (or syrup) which is what liquid ant bait destroyer is. The ants take it up and bring it to the nest to feed the queen. It should kill the whole colony in one season. Just pour a few drops where you see them and they will tell their buddies. It's actually cute to see them feeding. They look like tiny horses at a trough lol!


    Bookmark   July 9, 2004 at 10:07AM
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I would try looking into more information about the following (and even ehre on these forums):

Beneficial Nematodes
Diatamateous Earth (DE)
Organic Gardening

Useful url :

Happy hunting!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2004 at 1:30AM
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Thanks so much for the dirt interesting web!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2004 at 8:17AM
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Tempo it's great and safe around animals and you can use it for other Pests like spidermites aphids, meallybugs etc.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2004 at 9:15PM
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Icing sugar? Would that be confectioners/powered sugar?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 6:23AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I wouldn't heed that post about the baking soda. Perhaps boric acid and powdered sugar would be a good bait for sweet loving ant species.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2004 at 6:53PM
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jannie(z7 LI NY)

My grandmother used to use cucumber peels to repel ants. I tried it in my house,but it didn't work for me. Anyone else heard of this?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2004 at 10:08PM
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Peter_in_Az(Sunset zone 10)

The borax and sugar method works well.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2004 at 10:38PM
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I use instant grits sprinkle it and they will haul it back when they eat it --- BOOM they blowup!!! Have to sprinkle after a rain but we do not see them often - I think I have about eradicated the little buggers!!!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2004 at 6:56AM
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The problem with carpenter ants is that you have to track them back to their nest to kill them. They don't carry bait back to feed their nest.

And the problem with that is that sometimes their nests can be underneath the foundation of your house. They're very, very hard to eradicate.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2004 at 5:34PM
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dianne1957(NC 7b)

A product called "Terro" (purchased at Lowes) has worked for me. The ants love it. It is a liquid that the ants take back to the nest. I squirt it in an old jar lid and put it near where the nest is or where I see them trailing. I used it in the spring and summer and have not seen the ants for a couple of months. You will never get them all!!.........Dianne

    Bookmark   October 2, 2004 at 9:46PM
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Aargh, carpenters ants. I dread the day I see them here. They ate the whole corner of a friend's garage roof and it had to be replaced. jan

    Bookmark   October 3, 2004 at 7:06PM
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Carpenter ants? I get firecrackers and candy from the kids when they come over during Halloween and then grind up the whole mess and give it to the carpenter ants with bits of threads. Yeah! Then I light the threads and blow-em to Smithereens (a nearby city)! Yeah, and it's Organic! It really works! And they are dead for a really long time too. Yeah, carpenter ants: no problema! Bring-em on!!


    Bookmark   February 12, 2005 at 6:14PM
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A neighbor suggested Ortho brand's Home defense spray. You spray it around the foundation of the house. He's a carpenter, so he should know about wood and such, but he says that since he's been using it he's had no ants or spiders in his house. I can't verify that, but I plan on using it this year.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2005 at 9:32AM
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lovetogarden(z4 NY)

Keep Boric Acid away from animals. It's highly toxic. I've always used a spray for ants but I found out last year that it just caused the ants to satelite (separate and make multiple nest). That's great! Just what I need. My house is probably going to colapse around me. LOL!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2005 at 3:48AM
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Boric acid is about as toxic as table salt. I wouldn't call it "highly toxic."

    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 6:28PM
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Many ant species can be controlled with baits, but carpenter ants have such a varied diet, that most bait is not successful. There is some new bait on the market made specifically for Carpenter ants called Advance Carpenter Ant bait I have used it with good results.
The secret to controlling carpenter ants is direct treatment of the colony. Look for the piles of sawdust to locate the entrance. Because worker ants move from the nest to forage for food, their movements may lead to your discovery of the nest opening. Inspect the entire structure and surrounding grounds, because the nest or nests may be outdoors as well as in the structure.

Once you find the colony, you can completely eliminate the infestation by removing all the infested wood. But, if there is a contributing moisture problem, be sure to fix it first. If you cannot remove the infested wood, you can inject a dust formulation of an appropriate insecticide into the wall void. A dust formulation is best, because the ants walk through the dust and contaminate the colony. There are some Organic dusts available such as EcoExempt by the EcoSmart Company is a Plant Oil (Hexa-Hydroxyl) in a ready-to-use Dust Introduce the dust into the nest through the entrance hole. Insert the tip in the entrance hole, and inject the dust by alternately squeezing and releasing the pressure on the bottle. Be sure to store any leftover insecticide in its original container with the label intact.
To prevent further carpenter ant infestations, trim all trees and bushes so branches do not touch the house and correct moisture problems such as leaky roofs and plumbing. Paint and/or seal exposed wood construction before it becomes wet. Replace previously ant or termite infested wood, rotted, or water-damaged wooden parts of the structure and eliminates wood and soil contacts. Remove dead stumps on the property and store firewood off the ground and away from the structure.
Carpenter ants will not kill living trees, but openings in living trees are attractive to carpenter ants; these openings should be closed. Stacks of firewood and old dead tree stumps also attract carpenter ants. The longer wood remains undisturbed, the more likely it will become infested. It is better to keep on hand only the supply of firewood you plan to use during one heating season. Store the wood off the ground and away from the house.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 10:46AM
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I've come across a product called 'Antpro'. It comes with a bait station that automically refills as the ants eat the bait along with liquid ant bait. It is designed so that the foraging carpenter ants take the bait back to the queen. I was very skeptical, however, after reading the testimonials and seeing that businesses are even using the product, I decided to try it myself. Well, after one year it seems to work as I've not come across many ants......I even live in the middle of the woods! What's nice, too, is that the inventor will call you on the phone to answer any questions. I am, however, thinking of using a homemaid brew of liquid bait this year...... I'm interested in hearing if anyone else has tried this. Oh yes, the bait if non-toxic!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Kmantpro

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 8:59PM
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gabehart(5a OH)

Do Carpenter ants eat sweets? I thought they ate other bugs and flora and fauna.
I've used my garden fork to dig up their home and that made them leave.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 12:41PM
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epona1(z6 Nova Scotia)

I seem to have Carpenter ants--and eliminating all nests seems quite unlikely--I'm surrounded by woods, dead stumps, not to mention places along the foundation where ants might find damp wood, not to mention, I store my firewood in my garage.

Short of ripping my whole house down, it seems unlikely that I can trace all nests--and then they would still be in the woods, likely.

Question is, can I minimize the damage? I can't spray around the foundation, my well is in the basement.

Has anyone had any luck with bait, used regularly? Will it keep them under control (i.e. keep them from eating me out of house and home), and keep them from running all over the kitchen?


    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 9:41PM
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when we moved in our house we were infested and there was a nest nearby. we started feeding the birds and making them welcome and we have had little problem in the 10 years since. The woodpeckers especially like to eat carpenter ants.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 3:54PM
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taxonomist(7b VA)

Whoever stated that borates ...boric acid, etc are not toxic has been sadly misinformed. All boron products are quite toxic. This may be confirmed at your local library if they have a copy of The Merck Index. If this publication is not available, try the Internet.
Like all toxic materials, it is safe to use when used properly.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 7:35PM
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"All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison from a remedy." - Paracelsus (1493 to 1541)

The Ld50s tell the toxicity: the lower the number, the more toxic the substance. For more info, see the URL below. Note that borax, boric acid, and table salt have very similar toxicities, not what I would call very toxic.

Borax 2,500
Table Salt 3,320
Boric Acid 3,500


Here is a link that might be useful: Toxicities of some common substances

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 9:26PM
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bruggirl100(z9 FL)

The dangerous thing about boric acid is not it's toxicity, but the way it works. Its crystals literally cut the insects' innards to shreds. I imagine that's the danger with animals too, that the crystal will get lodged in their systems and cause damage, much like the oxylate crystals in some greens, like mustard. The crystals tend to lodge in the urinary tract, especially the kidneys.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 6:25PM
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bruggirl100(z9 FL)

This is what the Materials Safety Data Sheet says about Boric Acid:

Potential Health Effects

Causes irritation to the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. May be absorbed from the mucous membranes, and depending on the amount of exposure could result in the development of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, rash, headache, fall in body temperature, low blood pressure, renal injury, cyanosis, coma, and death.
Symptoms parallel absorption via inhalation. Adult fatal dose reported at 5 to > 30 grams.
Skin Contact:
Causes skin irritation. Not significantly absorbed through the intact skin. Readily absorbed through damaged or burned skin. Symptoms of skin absorption parallel inhalation and ingestion.
Eye Contact:
Causes irritation, redness, and pain.
Chronic Exposure:
Prolonged absorption causes weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, convulsions and anemia. Liver and particularly the kidneys may be susceptible. Studies of dogs and rats have shown that infertility and damage to testes can result from acute or chronic ingestion of boric acid. Evidence of toxic effects on the human reproductive system is inadequate.
Aggravation of Pre-existing Conditions:
Persons with pre-existing skin disorders or eye problems, or impaired liver, kidney or respiratory function may be more susceptible to the effects of the substance.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 6:31PM
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When they talk about inhalation for a borate, then (obviously) it's in a powder form, and it is irritating to the muscus membranes. I know this from first hand experience from using a product called Borid (99% Boric Acid), which is rather nasty to work with. BUT most ant baits are in a liquid form and contain between 1 and 5.4% borate. At such a concentration, the product is very safe, when used as directed. In other words, don't gargle with ant bait and don't put it in your eyes. On the other hand, many eye drops contain a borate. I use "Tears Naturale Forte" by Alcon, which contains boric acid (they don't say how much on the label).

Borates, as I have said, are about as dangerous as table salt. Don't grind up table salt into a fine dust and breathe it in or make a concentrated solution and put it in your eyes. Same goes for borates.


    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 7:05PM
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Has anyone found the optimal mixture of Borax and Sugar (what % of each?). Also, where is the best place to buy Borax - I couldn't locate it at HD, Lowes, or Walmart?

    Bookmark   November 16, 2005 at 11:03AM
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Look for 20-Mule Team Borax where they sell laundry detergents. Try 40% sugar (sucrose) and 1 to 5% borax.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2006 at 11:22AM
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I had the little sugar ants. My neighbor gave me the recipe for eradicating the little rascals. It is: EQUAL PARTS of- brewers yeast (for bread making), confectioners sugar, and powdered boraxo soap. Depending on how much you need will determine how much the individual quantity is. Place it behind items- such as freezer, T.V. You want it placed in areas where animals and children can not get to it. The ants carry it off to the nest and it soon eliminates most or all of them. I used the same mixture outdoors in the cracks between my sidewalk and house to reduce the number of carpenter ants I have. We are working on eliminating all the railroad tie flower beds that we originally had with antique cobble stones. We also have removed all the bark dust that we originally had and replaced that with small rock.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 2:40AM
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Grancru(z5 MI)

Advance Carpenter Ant Bait!!!
I have found NOTHING better. I had huge colonies in rotted wood above my garage. When the wood was replaced by the contractors nothing was done with the colonies and they only moved to another area.

After powders, dusts, other baits, ect. I tried Advance. I sat and watched the ants carry away pile after pile of the bait. After two weeks they are completely gone.

No more complaints from the wife and daughter of creepy crawlies everywhere or the Pug having a free for all on the white carpet as one tried to run across before being toosed up in the air, scratched, barked at and eventually eaten.

I will never use anything else.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 10:58AM
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They are noctournal,follow them back to the nest and use a bait,they can be in a attic under insulation or in a cardboard box of XMass decorations in you garage.during the Winter the become dormant when the nest is outside .If you see them in the house it's a problem inside the structure.Ants require liquids ie water.they need to be treated with a bait specifically for Carpenter Ants but you can eradicate the colony with a insecticidal dust if you can hit the nest and kill the Queen.if you get rid of the foods and water source and moisture problems you will put stress on the colony and most of the time its good detective work

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 11:29PM
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I am trying the bait method stating yesterday for a minor infestation. I set out a sugar/water solution of 25% ( our hummingbird solution) to establish a "feed". Now I have switched to a borax/ sugar water solution: 3/8 tsp. borax to 1/4 cup sugar water solution set in a saucer where they were baited to. Not exactly sure what the borax does to them. I will repost as I detemine whats happening. They seem to be consuming it quite well..........walleye

    Bookmark   September 24, 2007 at 3:13PM
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Here are a couple of websites to check out. University research. The experts. Sounds like we have our work cut out for us.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 10:38PM
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shasta_2008(5 NE Ohio)

I read somewhere to sprinkle corn meal around them, they can't digest it and will be dead before you know it!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 10:14PM
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not true

Dr John Warner, PhD Entomologist

Here is a link that might be useful: Toxicities common Insecticides

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 8:55AM
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If you know where the nest is.Drill a hole above the nest and deep into the colony. Then pore pentox green wood preservative directly into the caverns.Gravity will help in the flow of the green stuff.I stand by and squish then as the run out of the nest with their green eggs.
They will never return

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 9:43PM
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Thank you everyone for your advice. I was horrified to find dozens in my kitchen, and they had found my bottle of honey sitting on a shelf. The previous summer I only saw a few, and the exterminator was able to control them. This time was much worse, and the exterminator was on vacation. I bought 20 Mule Team Borax and mixed it 50/50 with the honey. Every time an ant come out of a crack, I smeared a little of this mixture in from of it. As soon as the ant touched the honey/Borax it started eating, and eating, and eating. Then it brought friends. They ate all night. The next afternoon, a few of the remaining ants started coming out of the crack and passing up the honey. That's when I used a turkey baster to spray diatomaceous earth into the crack. Its been four days now, and not an ant to be seen anywhere!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 4:36PM
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i know this post has been here for a long time,but I have a question.When you mix boric acid and honey,what do you do with it after mixing.

I have ants inside and outside,so where would i put the mix

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 3:08AM
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stop cooking and get terro. It works I have a cedar cathedral ceiling and there were piles of sawdust on my floor. Terro ant bait== and they were gone!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 3:03PM
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Many of us have problems with ants. Mine is the mounds they call "home" that pop up in my lawn. My lawnmower does not seem to like them and complains every time I run over one. That sound of a spinning blade tearing through soil.Now ants beware! I have been working on developing an "All Natural" product that will get rid of those pesty insects. So far I have had great success. When I say "All Natural", It is so natural that it can be eaten. I hope to have final testing completed in the next two weeks.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 12:34PM
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I tried the Terro - no effect on my ants so far. It has only been a couple of days though.

I am worried about the borax mixture - when the birds and frogs eat the ants will it harm them too? I like my birds and frogs.

Tree frogs especially are not numerous here. I usually encounter one or two a year in my yard. I don't want to poison them.

My husband wants the ants gone. I will not put down something that will kill the spiders, and hence the birds and the frogs too!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 1:22PM
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In fact, I have watched for quite a while on several occasions, and have not seen a single ant go for the Terro, or even stop to smell it. I just put out a mixture of honey and borax, and not a single ant was remotely interested in it either!

I am looking into the Advance, but I have not recieved and answer about the toxicity to birds and frogs who eat the poisoned ants.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 2:14PM
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I have tried the torro sweet baits,nothing.
Borax and sugar. nothing.
Diatomaceous earth. they laughed around it.
boric acid. they go around it.
I am frustrated.
they are coming from a tree but I feel there is a nest in my roofand am not sure how to get to them. will try pouring concrete in the tree and drilling into my eves to drop whatever poison I can.
I need help.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 5:43PM
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Carpenter ants are looking for wet wood to burrow into. That means you have a problem somewhere in your house. I believe it is true that in early spring they are searching for food and water, but if you see them for a while, they may be nesting in your house. Termites can eat wood, carpenter ants chew through it

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 9:12AM
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The best thing I have found is to use Basic H. It was originally made over 50 years ago as a cleaning agent and is still around today. Although it wasn't made to kill ants, I have found that it kills them instantly! I've been told that it does that by penetrating their exoskeletons and drowning them.

No running to another nest, or worries that it won't kill the Queen! In fact, I have timed it... only about 5 seconds after it hits them and their dead!

It is 100% nontoxic so it won't hurt to be sprayed inside and outside your home. You just mix 1/4 teaspoon of it in 16 oz of water so it is very cheap. A 16 oz bottle of Basic H makes 380 bottles of it so it only costs about 3 cents a bottle and you will always have it handy!

I always keep a bottle ready. Its literally the best thing I have ever found and will never use anything else!

Here's the website where you can learn more about it:

Here is a link that might be useful: Help Me Get Rid of Ants

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 7:59AM
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Has anyone used borate?
If so, any luck? We have a log chalet which requires a borate treatment and was hoping to kill two birds with one stone...or in this case, one borate application!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 4:48PM
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Help! I am fairly certain I have a carpenter ant living in my farmhouse style table. I can hear it chewing away in there and often wake up to find small piles of sawdust on the floor beneath my table. I have no idea how to get this any out of my kitchen table. I have never seen any ants in my kitchen... This has been an ongoing problem for well over a year.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 12:04AM
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