Steps For Carpenter Ant Pest Control In The Home
Contrary to popular belief, carpenter ants don't eat wood. They do, however, cause damage when they infest homes because they create tunnels through the wood. In addition, the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program states that carpenter ants are capable of biting humans. When they do this, the individual may feel a tinge of pain, which is sometimes followed by a burning sensation. This sensation is caused by the formic acid that the ant sprays into the wound. If you suspect you have carpenter ants, follow the ant pest control steps outlined below.
The first step in controlling carpenter ants is to confirm that you do indeed have an infestation. The University of Minnesota Extension warns that carpenter ants not only resemble termites, but they also look similar to two other kinds of ants. The university points out that carpenter ants are typically black or red and measure between 3/8 to ½ inch. What is unique about this type of ant is that it has a rounded thorax and a waist with one node.
Locate the Colony
Killing individual carpenter ants as you spot them will not get rid of the infestation. It is vital that you discover the exact location of the colony. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County says you'll need to look for foraging ants in the evenings. You can follow them back to their mound, which often looks like a pile of sawdust. It is possible to find a colony in a tree, or inside a wall within your home or outdoor structure.
Apply Boric Acid for Wall Colonies
The University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture, Food and Environment suggest using boric acid to destroy the carpenter ants within their nests. They recommend you do this by drilling 1/8 inch holes covering at least 3 to 6 feet on either side of the walls where you saw the ants enter. Lastly, you'll need to puff the boric acid into the holes so that it will come into contact with the ants. The university warns never to use liquid insecticide in the walls as it may come into contact with an electrical outlet.
Use Insecticide Sprays for Outdoor Colonies
Liquid insecticides work well if your colony has a nest outdoors. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension reports that pouring a water-based insecticide directly into the nest is an excellent ant pest control strategy. It is important that you soak the entire nest, and the university says this step may require an entire gallon of the insecticide. They also state that any brand of insecticide will work so long as it is formulated for use on carpenter ants. You'll find this information on the product label.