Carpenter ants are one of the worst pests you can have in your home. They cause damage to your home by tunneling and nesting inside structures made of wood, hence the name carpenter ants. However, they do not feed on wood like termites do – they burrow into it so that they can build their nests inside. Often found during spring, carpenter ants prefer damp and decaying wood that they can easily excavate and it is only in very rare cases that they cause damage to solid, sound structures.
Signs of Carpenter Ants in the House
Homeowners do not realize their house is infested with carpenter ants until these pests, wreak havoc in your home. These ants tend to reside in wet and damp places such as sinks, bathtub s, and badly sealed doors and windows. Contrary to the popular misconception, these ants do not feed on wood, they simply burrow holes into damp wood and nest deep within.
Before you go berserk and begin dousing your home with pesticides, look out for ‘frass’ signs. These ants leave a trail of sawdust behind them and can lead you directly to their nest! Once you have spotted nest, getting rid of carpenter ants will not be as difficult as you think.
Treatment for Carpenter Ant Infestation
If you have an indoor infestation of carpenter ants in your home, the treatment you need is a little complicated- your safest bet is to call a professional exterminator. However, the good news is that if you prefer doing the job yourself, it is possible to handle the extermination on your own by trying out a few home remedies for carpenter ants.
- First of all, you need to be sure of where the wall voids or indoor nests are located. Once you have found the location, you will need to drill into the wall where these insects are nesting.
- The drill holes you make on either side of the entrance used by carpenter ants on the wall should be between 2 and 6 feet – this will help ensure that you treat the nest directly.
- Next, get an insecticide foam, aerosol or dust treatment and use it around all the holes as well as other possible openings that the carpenter ants could use.
- Always keep in mind that you should NEVER use liquid insecticide on an indoor carpenter ant nest. Also make sure that children and pets stay far away from wall void treatments.
Natural Treatments to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants
If you prefer avoiding store-bought poisons and pesticides, you will be glad to know that there are a couple of natural remedies that you can use to solve your carpenter ant infestation problem. These natural treatments are just as effective as insecticides and dust treatments, but they are safer and more cost effective.
1. Sugar Water
One natural method is to make baited food for the pests that have infested your home. Mix 10 parts sugar water with 1 part boric acid and add the solution to the food you will be using as bait. Now, set the mixture along any spots or trails that the carpenter ants use. The sugar water will attract the ants and the boric acid will kill them as well as their nest. You should keep in mind that this method may take some time to work and you may have to repeat it several times to eliminate the infestation.
2. Boric Acid Spray
Another method is to spray boric acid on the carpenter ant nests, or the areas near the nests where the carpenter ants are likely to travel. This will poison them and eliminate the problem. However, you should use this method with caution and make sure not to spray the boric acid near any electrical circuitry or wires.
3. Diatomaceous Earth
Another highly effective carpenter ant bait is diatomite or DE (short for Diatomaceous Earth). This is a soft sedimentary rock that is obtained from fossilized plants similar to algae. Food-grade DE is a great choice for treating carpenter ant infestations as they are completely safe for children and pets. Insects cannot digest the dust properly because it dries them out and in return shreds their bodies. Injecting food-grade DE directly into carpenter ant nests or dusting it over the nests can destroy an entire colony of carpenter ants. Keep in mind that like all other natural remedies for eliminating carpenter ants, you may need to apply diatomite several times before completely getting rid of these pests.
Also read: How To Get Rid Of Crickets?
This common kitchen ingredient can be used to combat a carpenter ant infestation. Its acidic nature helps to repel these pesky bugs. Make a solution of vinegar by diluting it with equal amount of water. Add a tablespoon of peppermint oil to this. You may also add pepper, garlic or cinnamon to make the solution more potent. Spray this mixture into the nest and also on the trail and watch the ants fled away!
Other Tips for Carpenter Ant Control
Apart from the remedies mentioned above, there are several other tips that can help ensure that you get rid of carpenter ants and prevent them from infesting your home.
- You should maintain your house structure and its surroundings to prevent the accumulation of excess moisture in wood. This will not only keep your house looking good, but also prevent any infestations in the long run.
- If you have any existing damage, you should get them repaired as soon as possible. This will help in cutting off any ant access routes.
- Remove tree stumps, wood debris and take care of injured trees on your property. This will ensure that you eliminate any potential carpenter ant nesting areas.
- If you have branches that touch your house, prune them as soon as possible. Also, eliminate earth or wood contact with structures.
- Apply insect killer solutions around landscaped areas, lawns and foundations. This will help you both eliminate and repel carpenter ants and other types of troublesome insects.
- If the carpenter ant infestation problem in your home becomes intolerable, you should consider a spot treatment of the nest with a fast-acting botanical insecticide. These are natural sprays that have less toxicity and shorter half-lives compared to commercial chemical pesticides.
- If you use firewood, check them properly for insects before you bring them inside and keep a close eye on them once the wood warms. You should also store firewood off the ground and as far away from the house as you practically can.
If you leave them unchecked, carpenter ants can cause a huge amount of damage and it can be extremely frustrating as well. However, with awareness and the right tools, you can control, treat and prevent carpenter ant infestations.
Remember that if you are unsure about your infestation or if you cannot eliminate the carpenter ant nests no matter what you try, there is always the option of consulting a professional exterminator and letting a trained and experienced pro get the job done for you. Keep in mind that a carpenter ant infestation is a solvable problem, whether you use your own methods or call a professional.