You will recognise a carpenter ant when you see one. Both the Camponotus Modoc ant, which lives in the western United States, and the Camponotus Pennsylvanicus, which lives in the eastern part of the country, are jet black and the largest ants you are ever likely to see. The Camponotus Modoc ant can grow to be as long as a half an inch and is at least twice as large as the majority of other ants. A third species of Camponotus, known as Camponotus floridanus, may be found in Florida. It is distinguished by its red and black colouring and is a little smaller than its relatives.
These ants have been given the nickname “carpenter” due to their ability to make quick work of wooden buildings; nevertheless, in contrast to termites, they do not consume the wood. They do this in order to make nests for themselves, which is why they dig through wet wooden beams, studs, and floor joists. These nests are more like holiday houses; their true home, where the queen resides, is often outdoors. This implies that you cannot end an infestation by destroying the ants that you see inside your house since the queen lives outside.
However, eliminating the ants that you find within your home is definitely a start in the correct path. You have a choice of tried-and-true sprays, gels, foams, and dusting powders to employ for this purpose; the most effective pesticides to use are the kinds that are safe for use around both children and pets. When it comes to eliminating the primary nest that is located outdoors, the first step is to locate the nest. As soon as you have done so, you may go on with baiting, spraying, or dusting, and you will discover a number of items suitable for each method.
Traditional Indoor Treatments for Carpenter Ants
Boric acid and diatomaceous earth (DE), both of which are powders that may be dusted into any wall crack where the ants have made a nest, are the standard treatments for any sort of indoor ant infestation. Both of these treatments can be found in traditional pest control products. The exoskeleton is sliced open by DE, while boric acid causes it to dry up. Boric acid is a toxin that may kill ants if they consume it, which they will do if they walk through a powder containing boric acid and then groom themselves with it.
You need a duster in order to apply these materials, and while a turkey baster may perhaps do the job, it is recommended that you get a duster that was specifically created for the purpose. In order to enter the duster into the wall, you will need to drill a hole in the wall; however, you will need to make many holes in order to guarantee that you receive dust wherever the ants are likely to be. Ants will perish if they come into direct touch with the flying dust, and those who walk through it will likewise perish as a result of their exposure.
Boric acid is also often utilised in the fishing industry as bait. The theory behind this is that if you mix it in a low concentration with something delicious, like honey, the ants will consume it and survive long enough to bring it back to the nest where they may feed it to the queen. Because none of the satellite nests in your home is the primary nesting location for carpenter ants, it is very unlikely that any of the ants that consume the bait would ever find their way back to the queen. Since this is the case, it is not recommended to utilise this strategy.
Pesticides in Commercial Carpenter Ant Treatments
In the vast majority of commercial carpenter ant sprays and dusts, you won’t find boric acid or DE mentioned as one of the components of the product. Chemicals with names that seem ominous, such as abamectin, fipronil, and disodium octaborate tetrahydrate, are what you will discover instead (DOT). The toxicity of these varies, but the majority of them are found in amounts that are low enough to be regarded safe for use in the home. Even so, it is beneficial to have an idea of what you will be spraying into your walls before you really do it.
Boron and oxygen come together to form DOT, which, similar to boric acid, is roughly as hazardous as regular table salt. It has an action that is similar to that of boric acid, and it may be used in the form of a mist, spray, or foam.
Abamectin is a pesticide that is often sold in the form of a gel, a paste, or granules. It kills insects by disrupting their nerve systems, which causes them to starve to death. Although it is poisonous to both people and animals, the amount that is included in pest control treatments is not high enough to be deadly.
If the description of fipronil as a phenylpyrazole chemical makes it seem strange, there’s a solid reason for that. It wasn’t until the middle of the 1990s that it was identified, and the method by which it kills insects is somewhat complicated and includes blocking particular brain receptors. Dogs have been known to get sick and even die when they lick themselves after being treated with it, and even though it’s toxic to humans and animals, it’s the main ingredient in a leading flea and tick treatment for dogs. Even though it’s toxic to humans and animals, it’s still used in the treatment.
Chlorfenapyr is a member of a recently discovered group of compounds known as pyrroles. These substances inhibit the creation of ATP and stop the conversion of food into energy in order to achieve their intended effects. It is regarded to be harmless and non-toxic for mammals since it does not become active until it reaches the body of the insect to whom it was fed. It is important to keep in mind that glyphosate, the primary component of Round-Up, was similarly thought to be harmless until its effects on the body and the environment were well recognised.
The Bottom Line for Indoor Control
Boric acid is not fully non-toxic; nevertheless, it is not hazardous at the doses that are required for pest management. Additionally, since it has been used for such a long period, the effects of boric acid are recognised and understood. Because DOT has a similar chemical make-up and has comparable results when applied to insects, it is typically safe to consume any product that includes it. The dusting method is effective, but it will only kill the insects that come into touch with the substance.
An additional advantage may be gained by spraying the afflicted regions with a product that includes DOT. The poison gets into the pores of the wood and stays there for an indeterminate amount of time, which prevents the ants from coming back.
The issue with spraying or dusting is that the ants will simply ignore the area that has been treated and relocate to another section of the home if you do any of these things. In order to eradicate an interior infestation once and for all, you will need to minimise sources of moisture, cut tree branches that create paths for the ants into the house, and block off entry points for the ants through which they may enter the home. In addition, you need to take action on the primary nest.
Getting the Ants Where They Live
It’s possible that finding the primary nest won’t be a simple task. Within one hundred feet of the home, the best locations to search are any woodpiles, old logs, or yard garbage heaps that are there. If you come across an ant path and decide to follow it, you will most likely end yourself at the ant colony. You should avoid spraying or dusting the ants that are on the path since they provide your greatest opportunity to get rid of the nest.
When you want to attack an ant colony, the most effective method is to use baits, and in order to do so, you need the workers in the path. You may use any one of a variety of commercial products that include a combination of sweet attractants and boric acid or DOT. These items are available for purchase. Place them in close proximity to an ant path or the colony, if you are aware of its location. It shouldn’t take more than a few weeks for the colony to perish once the workers have finished consuming the bait and brought it back to the queen.
It is possible that the ants will not be drawn to the bait. If this is the case, you may be forced to saturate the colony with a pesticide such as carbaryl, diazinon, or chlorpyrifos; however, this practise is not permitted in many states and may have unfavourable effects on the environment. In the event that this becomes required, hiring a professional exterminator is your best option for ensuring that this is done in a manner that is both safe and effective. Digging up the nest and dousing it with boiling hot water is a low-impact and effective approach to kill it, so the devoted do-it-yourselfer may want to try this first before picking up the phone to call for help.