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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Bug Control / Insect Control / Pest Control Category: Ants

Improvement Project:

How to get rid of carpenter ants and prevent their infestation.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):

Guide:

To effectively get rid of carpenter ants and prevent any future encounter with them in or around your house, you'll need to know a little about them, and such pertinent information follows:

Physical Description:

Carpenter ants are relatively big insects compared to other ants, ranging from 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch in length. They generally have segmented bodies with elbow-bent antennas and are primarily colored brown to black and others colored yellow to red.  In fact, the carpenter ants' respective color appearance vary upon location in the United States:  Primarily, carpenter ants are black in color, with some bearing red appendages; Florida carpenter ants are yellow, brown, red to black in color.

Diet:

Carpenter ants eat a variety of plants, other insects, and sweetened foods.

Habit:

Being nocturnal, carpenter ants are generally most active after sunset, especially during the spring and summer.

Carpenter ants live in nests (also known as "galleries") that are located in a variety of locations that are virtually always moist and/or hollow, and they include the following:  wall crevices; wall voids; around bathtubs; around sinks; around roof leaks; around porous, decaying window frames and door frames; tree logs/stumps; and otherwise around or in the crevices of moist, rotting wood in general.  In some instances, such nests can be found in crevices of wood that is in good condition and not necessarily of a moist, decaying condition.

Control treatment: (1) Natural Barrier Approach:

Non-toxic, homemade treatment.  To control foraging carpenter ants from entering your house, as the least costliest and most eco-friendly approach, sprinkle a thick perimeter line of either charcoal powder or chili powder--whichever of the two is most accessible--around your house.  This should keep carpenter ants at bay.

Control treatment: (2) Store Product for Barrier Approach:

 

As an alternative to the natural method, you may opt to buy insecticide products available at hardware stores, home improvement centers, department stores, and pest control supply stores.  You can buy a chemical-free, sticky-barrier product called Tanglefoot, which is specifically designed to stop insects, like ants, in their tracks while in contact with such a sticky compound.

You may also opt to buy residual insecticide products that are applied all around the outside perimeter of the house, around the house's foundation and up to 2-3 feet above the foundation, etc., include the following:  Demon WP, Cyper WP, Cyonara 9.7, and Dominion 2L.  Some of these products that expressly specify that they may be incidentally used indoors should be applied in the most vulnerable interior areas of a house, such as a basement, garage and attic, etc., in addition to being applied primarily around the outside perimeter of the house.

In addition to the above, you may opt to try insecticide products for the outside in the form of a non-liquid application, which are commonly referred to as gel-bait products.  One example of such products is the Maxforce Carpenter Ant Bait Gel; depending on product specifications, such a type of gel-bait product may also be used inside your house.

These products usually not only kill and otherwise eliminate nesting grounds for carpenter ants, but also have the same effect on other bugs/insects/pests, such as cockroaches and spiders.

Once applied, these products will offer their insecticide protection for a limited time before their effectiveness wears off and, consequently, another application is required.

Caution: Of course, when dealing with insecticide products, make sure you take precautions; read all product manufacturer instructions. 

Control treatment: (3) Store Product for Direct-Contact Approach:

If the perimeter treatment above is not enough, or you are otherwise dealing primarily with an infestation from the inside of your house, you'll need to buy insecticide products that are designed to be applied inside your house.  These products usually come in the form of an aerosol can with a tip to insert in a crevice or crack suspected of harboring carpenter ants.  These products include the following:  Crack & Crevice I-Cyfluthrin and Crack & Crevice II-Propoxur. Such products are to be applied directly on the nests that you observe. 

Alternatively, as the manufacturer instructions permit, you may be able to use these products inside as well, as briefly noted above:  Demon WP, Cyper WP, Cyonara 9.7, and Dominion 2L.

Caution: Of course, when dealing with insecticide products, make sure you take precautions; read all product manufacturer instructions. 

Prevention:

Moisture-free.  Your best measure of preventing carpenter ants from invading your house is to rid your house of any moisture that may be accessible to such ants.  This means regularly inspecting your house for any water leaks, and immediately repairing any plumbing leaks or roof leaks.

Porous-free.  Make sure that your house is as sealed as can be, and this includes doing the following:  Using a caulking gun, cocked with a caulking tube of the appropriate caulking, seal all porous openings to your house, such as foundation cracks, window crevices, wall crevices in general, and particularly the crevices surrounding the utility lines that enter your house walls.

Wood maintenance.  Keep brush and specifically tree branches trimmed enough so that they do not make contact with the house.  Furthermore, if you store any sort of wood outside, be sure to keep such wood off the ground by laying it over bricks so that the bricks are the only objects touching the ground and not the wood, itself.

The above information should prove to be useful in attempting to learn how to effectively get rid of carpenter ants and prevent any future encounter with them in or around your house.

Ed the Handyman

            &

Your Handyman Zone Team

 

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