We seem (like many in our neighborhood) to have a nagging number of
Carpenter ants around our New England house.
We bought Home Depot's "best" which supposedly "kills on contact",
however, the ants seemed to just swim through the stuff.
What are your recommendations for the most effective *consumer* spray
that effectively can be used against Carpenter ants? (both inside and
My perhaps faulty assumption is that anything sold nowadays to
consumers will be reasonably safe.
It is said that there are two kinds of houses....Those that have carpenter
ants and those that will have carpenter ants.....
I find that sprays don't work with carpenter ants becasue you never get the
nest. Baits work much better but take a longer time to work. HD sells
Combat gel which is what I prefer. You need to do some sleuthing and
identify the ant trails and put the bait along them. If you're good you can
follow the trails back to the nest and then maybe use a spray on the nest
but you usually still don't get the queen. Baits will get the queen.
Once you get them out of your house than use a spray to spray a 3ft
perimeter around the outside of your house. This will keep them out. I
prefer diazinon as a spray but since you can't buy it anymore, I prefer
anything that doesn't use permithin or its relatives. THey are just too
short lived and you end up spraying once a month. IF you can find where they
are entering the house than just spray a 10 ft by 3 ft strip in front of
that point. My ants seem to be creatures of habit and year after year they
enter thru the same point. Makes it kind of easy.
I prefer to not use insecticides inside the house but if you were forced to,
I would use permithin because of its relatively low toxicity and short life
The trouble with this, and the lawn care industry it seems is that
they don't seem to let us consumers buy the crap that actually works
Maybe I'm a leming, but after trying some consumer baits and such to
no avail, I called Terminix when I had a black ant problem, and I
haven't seen those arthopod sons-a-bitches since. The first year is
somewhat pricey, but you can negotiate witht he local provider after
that and get a substantial discount.
I'm not trying to steer you that way, but I wanted to share my
disappointment with a variety of consumer level stuff in trying to
deal with my own ant problem. Doesn't cost much to try that stuff
though, so have at it!
Trouble is, if a little is good, more must be better. People are stupid
about insecticides. Call an exterminator instead of cleaning up the
stuff that attracts bugs.
I used bait and cleaned my kitchen. Worked. Only ant infestations I've
ever had were in spring (north and in FL) and had foodstuffs attracting
them - crumbs around dog food dish, sweet spills on counter, etc. In
extreme weather, they may come indoors seeking water or escaping
I guess the gov't is trying to keep us not only from killing ourselves
but mutating future generations. I forget the percentage of people who
have insecticides in measurable amounts in their bodies, but it is far
more than half.
My neighbor in the condo dumped at least four bags of Dursban around the
yard to kill carpenter ants. Tried to crush them to death, I guess.
What got rid of them, with no more poison, was to clear out and repair
dead or damaged wood. They were very numerous before, none now. Also
caulked big gaps in out walls around water pipes, etc.
If you were hunting deer, rabbits or lions, you would find out where
they go to eat. Some folks use attractants - same works for bugs.
Carpenter ants forage in the evening and are very easy to trace to their
nest. Sorry to go on so long, but I really don't want the grandkids
poisoned. Their world will be tough enough.
Do it yourself pest control has some nice products if you can have it
shipped to your state. I like suspend which I only need to spray on
the perimeter once every few months. I had an infestation in the
attick where ants were coming across my power line. I used bait for
that which took care of the problem in about a week.
Around or in? If there is damp or dead wood "around", there will be
caprenter ants. A hollow tree, dying limbs, dead wood in hedges,
damaged wood fence or siding. We had loads of carpenter ants around our
condo, with folks dumping bags of poison all over,to no avail. What got
rid of them was getting rid of dead wood in landscape and repairing
damaged wood on structure. They forage in the evening, so are pretty
easy to track to their nest. Put bait where it won't get washed away by
rain if they persist after repair and caulking. One favorite means of
entry is from trees in contact with roof; others - gaps in siding or
around plumbing entry. Only rarely were they seen indoors - one kitchen
of the condo, attic with leaky roof.
Not spray, but I've had great results with "liquid ant bait" avail from
It's blue stuff, you leave it in small pools (I like bottle caps with a
squirt). Put in ant trails. Let 'em drink it up. They don't come back.
Really splended job, it does.
Until you find the nest and kill the queen you will still have ants.
Anything else is simply pissing on the fire. Baits usually only change
their feeding habits (ants usually have separate food streams) and
killing the workers only prompts the colony to breed more workers.
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