How To Identify and Get Rid of Carpenter Ants without Killing
Carpenter ants are found inhabiting the North of America in large numbers. Identifying them correctly is the first answer to the question- how to get rid of Carpenter Ants. Their sizes vary from very large to one-quarter inch and go all the way up to five-eighths of an inch in length. They’re usually reddish-black in colour, and some may have wings. These wings help the ants with swarming to find a new location for their colonies. Their swarming times are usually through spring and summer in the U.S. They find shelter in wood in trees and homes. Their nests are intricate galleries chewed out with their mandibles. These ants work rigorously to hollow out structures. They love tunnelling through trees. Carpenter ants are known to damage property by infesting buildings and fences. This can become a widespread nuisance by causing some major structural damage to wooden beams in houses. Their nesting grounds are both indoors and outdoors and they generally prefer moist and decaying wood. Certain parts of a house, such as around and under windows, roof eaves, decks, and porches, are more susceptible to being infested by carpenter ants because these areas are most vulnerable to moisture.
Carpenter ants have been known to construct extensive underground tunnelling systems. These systems often lead to an end at some food source. Carpenter ants are considered to be predators and scavengers. These ants are good foragers that typically eat parts of other dead insects or substances derived from other insects. Equipped with the right kind of information about them will help you in deciding to get rid of Carpenter Ants Exterminating. Sometimes Carpenter ants can be confused with termites because carpenter ants build their nests in the wood just like how termites infest wood. However, carpenter ants do not eat wood and you can easily tell these two pests apart with the naked eye. Carpenter ants have a narrow middle body segment (thorax), and their antenna has an angle to them, like an elbow.
A tell-a-tale sign that there is a nest of worker ants around your home is spotting a few. If you find some indoors it may be that they have lost their way from their outdoor colonies. However, if you see a springtime swarm of winged carpenter ants, it surely means that there is an established parent colony nearby as they don’t emerge unless the colony is at least 2 years old.
If you find small holes burrowed in wood, the holes may be made by carpenter ants and you may find piles of sawdust underneath the holes called as frass. You will also find dead ant remains within the wood shavings. These ants usually find damp, wet, and decaying places to nest, areas like water leaks in bathrooms, under the sinks, or around window frames. Knowledge about their nesting areas will help in how to get rid of Carpenter Ants.
How to get rid of Carpenter Ants in the House
Most likely you’ll need help from a pest control professional, especially if the carpenter ants have a nest in your home’s structure. If you’re reluctant to call pest control services, here are some steps you can take on how to get rid of Carpenter Ants.
Do not try to kill ants when you see them inside the home as it does not help, rather try to locate the nest so you can destroy the colony.
Carpenter ants always nest in wood. They are attracted to moist and decaying wood, so any damp spot is a prime target for a big nest. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t nest in dry wood. There are a few common locations that you can take as clues from- wall voids, roof beams, gaps behind dishwasher and air conditioning units, among firewood piles, tree stumps, tree roots, and fallen trees or logs.
If you see a couple of carpenter ants foraging in your home or yard, you may be able to track them to the nest. You can also look for signs of carpenter ants, such as piles of frass or rustling sounds coming from inside a wall or wooden structure.
Once you figure out the location of their nest you can drill holes. The holes need to be drilled every 6 inches in the wall or wood structure where you suspect a nest. You may then use any tool used by pest control to inject the insecticide into the holes. Insecticide may be bought from the pest control store that is specifically used against carpenter ants such as Diatomaceous earth (DE), Boric acid, and Borax. After following this procedure and covering the nest area with insecticide, most likely there will be less carpenter and activity. Remember to keep in mind that carpenter ants often build satellite colonies around and along with the main one, so it is imperative to repeat this process several times.
The insecticide that is spread around the nest works only on those ants that come in contact with it. There is no way of reaching deep into the nest or the Carpenter ant queen unless you set up ant baits.
The next step is setting Ant baits which includes a substance that the ants usually eat, mixed with a poison that will cause them to die. Ants forage food back to their nests and thus end up carrying the poison along feeding it to the whole colony thus spreading it deep inside.
There are tons of commercial ant baits available in the market or you may also opt to make DIY baits. Make your own baits by mixing sweet substances like syrup, sugar, peanut butter, and the like with a substance known to be poisonous to ants like baking soda, borax, boric acid, and aspartame. Whether you choose to buy chemical baits or do your own versions, set them at the correct places near the nests, along the ant trails, and in areas you have seen ants typically foraging for food.
Carpenter ants are known to communicate with each other via pheromone trails, which are nothing but scent trails. These trails lead them to food when foraging- like into the pantry and then again back to the nest. You can identify the trail and cover it with repellent to confuse the ants and ward them against food-stacked areas. Use natural repellents that are easily available at home like Cayenne pepper or black pepper, vinegar, and even cinnamon. You can easily locate their trails when you look for marching rows of ants. Also applying the repellent near your kitchen and pantry areas and even around the nest helps. This should definitely make it to your list of DIYs on how to get rid of Carpenter Ants.
If none of the above methods seem to be working and you still have the ants around it’s time to call the exterminator. You probably dealing with a larger infestation at hand that you can’t handle on your own and pest control services should be able to help you with that.
Remember, carpenter ants can have multiple active nests at once, and those nests could be anywhere on your property, either in the inside or the outside your home. Professional exterminators have the tools and expertise to find and wipe out nests that are difficult to locate. Acting quickly before the Carpenter Ants tunnel their way deep into your wood causing structural damage and expensive repairs can save you a lot of money and hassle.
Preventing carpenter ants is easy, just make a few simple changes and take a few precautions and you will be safe from their attacks.
- Eliminating moist wood-Moist wood provides an ideal location for ants to nest. It’s a steady water source and a probable food source as well. Try getting get rid of any moist wood in and around your home, and carpenter ants are less likely to infest your area.
- Clear your yard of decaying tree stumps, moist wood, and fallen tree logs immediately.
- Store your winter wood piles stock well covered in a dry place.
- The gaps and places behind dishwashers, sinks, air-conditioning units, bathtubs, and other moist spaces need to be monitored periodically and sprayed with natural insecticides.
- Wooden beams damaged by water should be replaced immediately
- Prune your trees and their branches regularly. As they are access points for the carpenter ants to get into your home.
- To prevent carpenter ants in your yard, dispose of food waste in trash cans or compost bins with secure lids. Store cans and bins away from the lawn, where carpenter ants are more likely to find them.
- Keep food well covered in dry places. Do not leave bowls with sweet food unwashed for a long time.
- Clear off food crumbs and dirty dishes immediately. Food waste is sure to attract carpenter ants.
- Use repellents- Ant infestation can be greatly reduced by spreading repellent around the property. Chemical perimeter treatments can be used to create a barrier with natural insect repellents. Spread the repellent around all entry and access points such as doors window sills and pipes. Citrus peels, Cinnamon, Lemon grass oil, Vinegar, and Peppermint oil can be used in combination or by itself with a carrier and sprayed around such areas.
How to get rid of Carpenter Ants with Wings
Spotting a bunch of winged Carpenter Ants at home is simply a sign that there is probably a Carpenter Ants’ colony in or around your home. For all you know they may be busy causing damage to your furniture and the woodwork. These are species of carpenter ants that grow wings in spring and summer to facilitate reproduction. The ants fly around in search of new mates and places to establish nests. The wings are dropped after the mating season is over. As it is not possible to eliminate only the winged ants. Rather, you need to identify their colony and then find out ways how to get rid of Carpenter Ants.
We imagine ants to be typically wingless insects, it can be a nightmarish experience to see these ants flying around the house, but fortunately, getting rid of them can be easy if you know more about them and their habits.
So, what do flying ants look like? They are ants that have bigger wings than their worker counterparts, their body is long and pinched at the waist, reddish brown or black in colour with a bent antenna, and have two pairs of brown tinted wings of unequal length.
Flying carpenter ants don’t bite, they are focused on mating. However, you can never tell when it comes to insects, some may sting if they feel threatened. Usually, it is the alates of the species that are capable of giving a bite or a sting.
You may find the ants flying around in search of food to feed on or for moist, dark hidden areas to establish a nesting colony. Swarming is when you see hundreds and thousands of ants flying around, it may last less than a day or a few hours.
Here’s how to tackle the problem of how to get rid of Carpenter Ants.
- You can use a vacuum cleaner to vacuum the swarms and clean the bag outside.
- If you see the winged creatures flying or crawling, stun them with pesticide spray.
- Destroy their colony- Set a bait by mixing a sweet substance along with the Borax powder. The ants fall for the bait and take it to their colony. The Borax may disrupt the ants’ reproduction cycle and exterminate the entire colony
Professional Carpenter Ants exterminators are a promising option. They have the expertise and equipment necessary to solve your infestation problem once and for all. Try to opt for an owner-operated pest control company. A one that distinguishes itself from high-profile franchises and national competition. These companies offer a personal touch to their services. You need not follow-up with them several times, with responses being quick and their service efficient.