Carpenter Ants

mikeh(z8 DFW TX)June 8, 2006

I think we have carpenter ants. I think they might be nested nearby instead of in the structure. I see them filing in from outside and coming into the house during the day. Also, I don't see any activity during the winter months but since spring we have been seeing them. Is there anything I can buy from a HD or Lowes that can help me get rid of these guys?

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

There are several baits that work like a charm for carpenter ants. I'll attach an informational link so that you can read up on your ants a bit.

Have you ever used an ant bait before? You will need to place it in the appropriate location (away from non target animals, who will want to eat it, too), and LEAVE IT. The ants will typically swarm the bait, which is alarming to say the least. But they will take every bit of the boric acid laced food source back to the nest. In very short order, you'll be done with them.

Yes, these products will be available at your big box stores. Be sure to get a BAIT for carpenter ants (read the label).

Here is a link that might be useful: Carpenter ant baiting information

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 2:59PM
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username_5(banned for no reason)

I'd suggest the 'do it yourself' approach for one year. If you still see them next year call a pro for help.

My mother had these and all we ever saw were some crawling over the floor periodically.

When the pro came out he used mirrors to show us where they bored into the wood doors (they went into the bottom of the door where one would normally never look) and other areas.

They also got into the walls.

He was successful in getting rid of them, but it took all year and he had to use specialized equipment to get the poison into their domains.

My mother also was advised to remove all wood mulch from around the perimiter of the house and the firewood pile was relocated too.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2006 at 7:49PM
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canttype(0b (Cold North))

Check my post on fire ants... Maybe my solution, Borax and icing sugar, might work on carpenter ants too?


Here is a link that might be useful: Fire ants

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 12:04PM
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mikeh(z8 DFW TX)

Thanks for all the help ... Where can I find the Borax though? Would you be able to pick it up at like Walmart? The sugar icing is that the confections sugar right?. I am going to try the 1 to 1 method boric acid/sugar... I plan on trying it tonight and see if it works ..

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 1:05PM
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girlndocs(8 WA)

"My mother also was advised to remove all wood mulch from around the perimiter of the house"

Just an FYI, I read recently that wood mulch is actually not a factor in carpenter ant infestation. This is because carpenter ants don't eat wood; they tunnel through it to build their nests. They only want solid wood. They're not interested in wood chips on the ground. Firewood piles, maybe.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 10:29PM
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We live in a log home and carpenter ants are always a concern for obvious reasons.

My sister, who also lives in a log home, has to be even more persistent that us. She had ants invite themselves into logs a few years back.

To solve the problem you should try to discover their 'route' and possibly their nest if it's not located in the house. Once located, if outside, do not disturb the nest since this will make them move on, and since they've found the home, you certainly don't want them there.

You can use the Borax/sugar if you are using where children and pets won't be. Since she had pets, the ideal places were behind the fridge, stove, etc. The Borax you purchase should be the one from your pharmacy. The Borax soap will not work effectively. Ask the pharmacist for Boric Acid.

For other places, use Diatomaceous Earth. As you will read in the link I provided, it is safe to use around pets, children, and plants. It is available at any garden center/box store. We use the brand Insectigone for Ants and apply a few times during the summer circling the foundation and any possible points of entry.

If you've located the nest and it is away from the house, use the DE between the nest and the house on non-rainy days. Also, by watching the nest, you'll be able to see if you are getting results.

After you've rid yourself of the problem, use the DE as a preventative measure so the problem doesn't reoccur.

Both measure are not instant. You will begin to see a decline in a week, and in a couple of weeks your problem should be down to nearly nothing if anything at all.

Here is a link that might be useful: Diatomaceous Earth

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 9:34PM
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Carpenter ants are a symptom of a problem, not the problem. If they are present in your house that is an indication you have some wet wood someplace. fix that problem and the ants will go away without you spreading any poison around.
If the ants are outside of your house they are not a problem and nothing needs to be done, although seeing them climbing trees may well indicate the tree has rot and need to taken care of. The Carpenter ants are there because of the rot and they did not cause it.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 7:40AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Kimmsr, though this post is several years old, you've managed to bring up some misleading information.

Carpenter ants are more complicated than you think they are. They are not necessarily ONLY attracted to wet wood or moist conditions. As a matter of fact, they may enter homes BECAUSE they are dry, in order to build satellite nests.

Their presence in trees may have nothing to do with rot, but everything to do with aphids, scale and other soft bodied insects upon which the ants feed. Carpenter ants, after all, are nearly omnivorous...acting as scavengers, predators, sweet eaters, etc.

These ants not only excavate moist wood, but sound wood, as well (not live wood, though). It only makes good sense to find the source of the ant activity and try to destroy the colony with a bait.

Every homeowner should make every attempt to secure their homes against tiny invaders, but sometimes they make their way inside, in spite of all we may do. Boric acid baits and DE are excellent curative and prophylactic (respectively) solutions for carpenter ants and can go hand-in-hand with good housekeeping practices.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 5:04PM
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Rhizo, the only time anyone will find Carpenter Ants inside a house is when there is wet wood that attracts them. Their presence, inside a house, is a symptom of a problem. Every time I have investigated why these wee buggers are present i have found a leak that is allowing the structural wood of the house to get wet and that is where the Carpenter Ants are.
What I have written above is not misleading in any way.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 7:17AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'll just suggest that you should remove the words "every time", "only time", "always" and "never" from your vocabulary when describing the activities of most living things.

Carpenter ants can often be observed inside homes in the spring, especially, to forage and to check the location out for possible nesting locations. Their presence does not always mean that there is a nest.

Too, trees with 'rot' do not necessarily need to be 'taken care of'. It depends upon the type of tree, it's over-all condition, location, and the type of 'rot', among other factors. Many trees have what is generically called 'heart rot', which is rather benign. After all, the interior portions of trees consist of dead wood. Saprophytic fungi take advantage of that, and trees can live for generations with heart rot.

Just sayin'.

Removal of such trees without a thorough inspection is wrong...and trying to treat such trees is never the right thing to do. Seeing carpenter ants nesting in such a tree is not necessarily bad for the tree, but having these particular ants in close proximity to a home is not a good idea. They are too darned persistent!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 5:37PM
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Heart rot in any tree is not a good thing because that weakens the tree and they tend to fall down in strong winds. Every arborist I know uses the presence of Carpenter Ants as one criteria to climb up and take a good look at the tree. That the ants are present does not mean the tree needs to come down today, because if what is allowing that rot can be treated (that rot is always moisture related) the tree might well be saved.
In your house the presence of Carpenter Ants always indicates there is the possibility of some structural damage that needs to be looked at. The presence of Carpenter Ants does not mean your house will fall down around you today, or tomorrow, but that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Failure to properly read the symptoms, the presence of Carpenter Ants, can be really expensive as some people that allowed their roofs to leak discovered.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 7:13AM
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I bought wood mulch (black dyed) from a popular garden ctr. After I finished spreading it around my trees (12 large bags worth) I noticed red/black ants crawling in each mound. I had our pest control put out bait about a week later and it's been a couple of months now and I saw that they are still there. Is it too late to remove all that mulch? I am worried for my trees and house too. I would greatly appreciate your advice on what I should do. Thank you.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 3:02AM
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lonwill, those red/black ants are not a real problem. If they did come in the mulch you purchased more than likely their home nest is gone and they will die with no effort or expense from you. Contrary to popular opinion ants are not a pest that needs to be controlled. Ants are a part of Ma Natures recycling machine and they help clean up our planet so we can continue living here.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 6:46AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

How about: " Contrary to popular opinion, SOME ants are not pests, and don't need to be controlled under typical conditions."

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 9:20AM
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