Carpenter Ants - Get Rid of Carpenter Ants
Summary: Have you ever discovered damage to your wooden fence or door frames and wondered about the cause? If moisture is associated, carpenter ants may be the culprit. Read this article to discover do-it-yourself ways to get rid of carpenter ants.
Carpenter ants are misnamed. They should be called carving ants or deconstruction ants based upon the damages they inflict. The discovery of carpenter ant damage often close follows the night you first come upon the ants foraging in your kitchen. These ants are nocturnal, doing their food searches while you sleep.
Carpenter ants trail. That is, they follow each other in a line, moving from their nest to their intended food source. So, if you think you have a carpenter ant problem, the best time to look for them is after midnight. In warmer temperatures you can discover them marching from the base of an old, or dying tree. With a little patience and a good flashlight, you may be able to watch them entering your home via a foundation crack or a poorly sealed window.
The Carpenter ant is polymorphic, meaning it comes in all sizes. In fact, a single colony of ants may have several different sizes of workers, ranging in size from ¼” to 5/8”, making them larger than most ants. So, trying to identify carpenter ants by size alone may leave you scratching your head. You'll need to examine them for other features such as a circle of hairs around the tip of their abdomen. They also have a large, single nod or spike between their thorax and abdomen. They come in multiple colors, too. There are red carpenter ants and black carpenter ants and some have areas of brown or yellow. There are also winged carpenter ants and wingless carpenter ants.
Should you discover wood damage, don't automatically think “termites”. The damaged wood from termites is distinctly different from carpenter ant damage. Termite damaged wood is layered and contains lots of dried mud. Termites eat the soft wood and leave the layers of hardwood in tact. Carpenter ant tunnels are clean, smooth and contain no mud or frass. All the wood is totally excavated.
Carpenter ants reproduce and form colonies. However, these colonies will reproduce to make satellite colonies. Basically, you will have an entire society of carpenter ants if you do not take action. Here are some tips to get rid of carpenter ants on your own.
• Do a thorough inspection of your backyard to try to find the source of infestation. If you find a carpenter ant nest, open it up and pour a mixture of water and ant killer or boiling water into the nest. This will kill nearly all of the ants in the nest.
• Move any firewood or brush away from the foundation of your house. It is much too easy for carpenter ants that are munching on wood to sneak into your house if they are in close proximity of it.
• If the ants have wandered inside, try to find their nests. They prefer moist wood, so they can usually be found near damaged window or door frames, bathtubs, sinks, or where there are leaks in your roof or backed up gutters.
• Set out small bowls of honey in the rooms in which you have found carpenter ants. Once the ants discover the food you can then watch them trail back to their nests. They are most active at night, so you might have to sacrifice a few hours of shut-eye for some peace of mind.
• If you have trouble locating the nest, take a screwdriver or other tool and tap on hollow walls. Make sure to put your ear up to the walls as you do this. If the ants are hiding behind the walls, you will hear them rushing around.
• Larger carpenter ant infestations can be heard inside walls. It sounds like clicking. After you locate them, drill small holes (about 1/8 of an inch) into the wall. Use a bulb duster, available at better hardware stores, to pump boric acid into the wall voids to kill a large number of the ants. You will need to drill a series of holes so the pesticide can reach the ants between wall studs. Wall studs are normally spaced sixteen inches apart, so drill accordingly.
• To prevent any future carpenter ant infestations repair any rotting wood you have in or around your home. This includes fences, dying trees, and firewood.
• Look for sources of moisture such as leaks, roof damage and clogged gutters and make necessary repairs. Usually, the removal of the source of water will discourage further nesting activity and help you to get rid of carpenter ants quickly.
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