Recommend ways to eliminate Carpenter Ants

About a week ago we were invaded by Carpenter ants. They were crawling in heavy numbers in my home office, so I tried the only thing I had on hand, ant spray. It killed the ants I could see, but they quickly found other ways into the house (no big surprise there).
So, I made a trip to the store and picked up some Raid ant baits and put them around the house. These have "dual" bait types and were the only indoor baits that even mentioned carpenter ants. But, there hasn't been a single ant that even went near the things.
So, another trip to the store and I found some baits called "Grants Ant Control System". These had 10 little stakes you put outside. I put them outside yesterday along some of the more obvious ant trails. At first the ants seemed to love them and were climbing all over each other to get to the bait. But today, not a single ant near any of the baits, despite significant numbers of ants all around the house. It appears they have "learned" that these baits are toxic and won't go near them now.
I would prefer to avoid hiring an exterminator, but I've exhausted the options available at the local home centers. I've seen other ant baits online that claim to be more effective, but I'm hesitant to shell out another $30 for one more thing that doesn't work.
It seems most ant poisons, sprays, baits, dusts, etc. are not real effective for carpenter ants (and often say so on the packages).
I saw a recommendation for "Combat Ant Gel" which was supposedly available from Home Depot, but our local store only carried Combat "Roach" gel which said nothing about ants.
Can anyone recommend good do-it-yourself solutions for eliminating carpenter ants?
Thanks,
Anthony
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On Tue 14 Jun 2005 01:06:41p, HerHusband wrote in alt.home.repair:

Sometimes it just pays to call the pros. You've already spent money on several "solutions" that haven't been totally effective.
In a previous house in the second year we lived there, we had a huge invasion of carpenter ants. The house was in the woods, so we knew that more would be coming.
We paid a flat rate for a one-time permanent eradication of the ants. When we moved from there six years later, we had still ever seen another carpenter ant. It was well worth the money.
You really don't want to mess with carpenter ants anymore than you termintes.
--
Wayne Boatwright տլ
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Yeah go with the pros with this pest. I had an exterminator provide carpenter ant service with a one year guarantee for approx $150. Have not seen any since...
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HerHusband wrote: ....

Don't have the recommendation list at hand so don't know whether it includes carpenter ants or not but my preferred relatively inexpensive solution for ants in general is the Diazinon granules...
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I thought Diazinon became outlawed recently...
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Oh, yeah? If so, I'll find it a pita. I'm still working on the 20-lb bag for such critters I had. But, would figure--they'll get rid of anything useful, it seems. :(
Hopefully my applicator license will be sufficient if it isn't a total ban....
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wrote:

Interesting stuff here...
http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/Entomology/entfacts/struct/ef603.htm
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Log on to www.gardensalive.com and buy liquid ant bait. blue liquid in two ounce bottles. Follow the directions. Only stuff that has ever worked for me.
--

Christopher A. Young
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There was a movie in the 70s, where this one guy blew up an ant mound, and the ants got pissed and took over the world.
Knowing this, what I did was to build a huge ant costume, about 30 foot tall. Whenever I see an ant, I get in the costume, and under cover of darkness go to an anthill near my house. When the sun comes up, I stand over the mound, twitch my antennai, and scream: I AM THE KING OF THE ANTS, AND SOON WE WILL CONTROL THE PLANET! I ASK MY ANT BROTHERS AND SISTERS TO KILL ANY OF THEIR FAMILY WHO DARES SPEAK AGAINST THE KING OR THE PLAN!!!!!!! And also, could you stay out of my house while the plan is being formulated? Cause it's kinda secret, and really important, and if any other ants see it, the plan might get spoiled.
Havn't had an ant in my house in years.
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I had a contract with a bug-control company last year to take care of carpenter ants. Their service "kind of worked". They sprayed around the house foundation to disencourage carpenter ants from getting into the house, and I trimmed back the brush and tree branches away from my house. But they still found a way to get in (they even found a way through the inside of a downsprount to climb into the house -- believe it or not).
I am not sure why they seemed to be able to always able to get through. They might have found a break in the defense line like the downsprout mentioned above. Or the chemical sprayed on the house foundation might have washed away by rain prematurely (I don't have auto-sprinkling system near the house foundation though; but two sides of the house foundation is not protected by overhanging roof line and rain water potentially can get to those area). Anyway, they still could get inside the house.
After almost a year of on-and-off carpenter ants intrusions and spraying repeatedly, finally we had a major outbreak. This time spraying the house foundation didn't help a thing. I decide to read up on this in internet, and knew that we need to put bait gel inside the house to get rid of carpenter ants that are already nesting inside the house in addition to spraying around the house foundation (given that I don't know the exact location of their nest inside the house). We mentioned about this to the "bug people" and asked them to put bait gel in our house. They agreed to do this and this finally got the problem under the control.
Now I have decided not to renew the contract for the following reasons:
1. Whatever they have done, I can do this myself by researching on this issue and by mail ordering the right chemical through internet -- and for a lower cost (not counting the cost of my own labor).
2. I hate wasting time waiting at home for the bug people to come. We are talking about doing this every month or every two months. And I don't have that many hours of vacation days or personal days to spend on waiting for bug people.
3. I needed to explicitly ask the bug people to give us the good stuff; otherwise, they would just continue spraying the house foundation regardless the fact that the carpenter ants were already nesting inside the house. If I have to give them advice to do this the right way, I really wonder why I hire them for. I am better off doing this myself. Seem like the bait gel is relatively expensive as comparing to the cost of the chemical being sprayed around the house foundation, and I can see that people may not want to use the bait gel if the house owner didn't ask for it. Obviously, I am not saying that every bug people is like that, and I am sure that there are bug people who give the right service to their customers. But dealing with one company is bad enough for me, and I am not about to try my luck with another one.
This year I will do the spraying, dusting, baiting by myself, and I will see what happens.
Jay Chan
HerHusband wrote:

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Jay,

Or, it just stopped working... I sprayed some areas indoors and out fairly heavily when we first noticed the carpenter ants. It was just typical over- the-count ant spray, but it "claimed" it protected for 12 months! Of course, 3 days later, the ants were walking all over the areas I had sprayed earlier. :)

Yep, that's the same experiences I've had for most anything I've hired out for. So, I do everything myself unless I absolutely, positively, HAVE to hire something out.
In any case, I've noticed a dramatic decrease in the number of ants around our house the last couple of days. Originally they had been coming in virtually every crack and crevice, I could hear them in the ceiling, and I could see numerous trails of ants running in the yard, on the side of the house, etc. I tried following the trail to the nest, but it went off into the brush I couldn't track it further.
Anyway, I had sprayed around the house, including down in the crawlspace with regular ant spray. Then I installed a package of "Grants" ant control spikes near the areas I was seeing the ants. They went crazy with it the first day, but afterwards seemed to ignore them.
In any case, it seems something is working, at least temporarily. The ant trails are gone, and I've only seen a few random ants in the house. There was still a fair number of ants crawling around on the front of the house, but those too have been declining over the last couple of days.
So, I don't know if all the ant control stuff is working, or if the ants simply moved on somewhere else. Either way, as long as they're not in our house, I'm satisfied. If they flare up again, I'll probably order some of the chemicals online and try those.
Ants are fascinating though. They had a trail that came from the brush in the forest, into our storage shed, up through the rafters of the shed, back down the opposite wall, along the ground to the house, up the house wall, up to the peak of the gable end wall, back down the opposite side, and into the house. Then another trail came down the opposite gable end wall, and down to the ground again where they seemed to disperse. I don't know if this was all a single line of ants, but they were certainly on a mission... :)
Anthony
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I don't have confidence on the chemical that we can buy from home center like Home Depot. I tried two different chemicals from Home Depot before to spray around the house foundation, and none worked. I will mail order and try the chemical that professional is supposed to use instead of getting it from home center.

Good to know that. May be you have done something right.
Jay Chan
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I'm still watching and waiting... I wish I could say the problem is solved, but I'm still seeing a few random ants around the house each day (indoors and out). Nothing real organized, but they still bug me... :)
I don't mind an ant or two every once in a while, but there's still a few too many for my comfort level. So, I'm trying to be patient and see how things progress before shelling out more money... So far, so good though.
Anthony
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Dear Mr. Chan, Please try the Gardens Alive stuff and let us know how it works. This field promotion to Product Tester Grade Five brings with it a promotion, a 26% raise, and increased posting privileges. Do you accept this assignment? Your nation needs you.
--

Christopher A. Young
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Gardens Alive sells organic stuff to take care of carpenter ants. This is probably good for some people. I have already purchased the chemicals that professional use to take care of carpenter ants. Therefore, I will not be buying the alternatives from Gardens Alive.
Hope someone else can try their products and see how things go.
Jay Chan
Stormin Mormon wrote:

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