Ants ants everywhere!
April 11, 2004 7:00 PM   Subscribe

Carpenter ants. My wife and I are finally winning the war against sugar ants (thanks to a wonderful product called Terro which works better than our $300 exterminator did), but now we have a carpenter ant infestation. The nest (main nest? will there be multiple nests?) is located in some rotten 2x6 boards framing our raised beds in the garden. However, their current ant highway leads to a vent under the house. Any of you Mefites have carpenter ant experience? What worked? What didn't? Do we need a professional? If they're foraging under the house, does that mean they've probably already set up a colony there? I hate ants. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them, I hate them, I hate them.
posted by jdroth to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I mentioned this in another insect related thread, and my crunchy side is going to come out again, but give peppermint oil a shot.
posted by pieoverdone at 7:26 PM on April 11, 2004

jdroth - Powdered boric acid (nontoxic to humans and most creatures unless one eats a lot of it or rolls in a pile of it, I suppose) controls ants and various other insects. You can get bags of it wholesale from exterminator supply companies. You just mix it with water and spray it on. The ants don't like it at all, and so they stay well away. It works well, additionally, to control wood-eating bugs, termites (I think) and many other creepy-crawlies.
posted by troutfishing at 7:55 PM on April 11, 2004

(main nest? will there be multiple nests?)

There is the one nest where eggs are laid and broods of larvae raised and so forth and then there are satellite nests for foragers and the like. I'm having a swarming right now. Get rid of the boards, cut back shrubbery touching the house and use some residual insecticides on ant trails.

I'm going to take kitty and me to an empty apartment for a couple of hours and set off a flea bomb in mine to get the swarmers. I tend to stick to the pyrethin end of the insecticide spectrum for flea bombs--botanicals or quasi-botanicals. Get rid of the main nest, spray the trails and consider flea bombing the house and basement. It won't be a cure but it will knock them back.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are a sign of wet and rotten wood.

The flea bombing also knocks the spiders back, I find.
posted by y2karl at 10:23 PM on April 11, 2004

Cecil (Straight Dope) had a definitive answer re: borax for bug-killing.

I also have a niggling suspicion that sand-blasting abrasive (the really aggressive, black-glass type) would do a similar number on the little buggers. Scratches the wax off their abdomen, causing them to dry out.

Hmmm. Maybe that was only for cockroaches, though.

In my uninformed opinion, you'd be well off completely disrupting that path from your house. It's a scent trail, and if the ants can't find it, they can't get back. I'd rig up a plank, a cement block, and a towel, and drag a ring of nasty oily chemical around the house twice a day, every day.

I don't know how effective it would be, but I figure it can't hurt.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:37 AM on April 12, 2004

We had some in our home last year. Carpenter Ants will only eat wet/rotting/rotted wood. They will not eat good dry wood. If you have no rotted wood, you have no problem, other that big disgusting black ants crawling around. The way to make sure you will never have a carpenter ant problem is to make sure your gutters are not leaking and backing up, your roof and flashing are in good shape, and you basement or crawlspace does not have moisture issues.

You should consult a pro to make sure you don't have water problems.
posted by internal at 9:55 AM on April 12, 2004

Get into your basement/crawlspace and clear out any debris lying around. Make sure that you don't poison too many all at once. If the queen senses that lots of her workers are dieing then she'll just make more, lots more and you will be in a shit storm of trouble. I was under the impression teh Terro would work for carpenter ants as well, but may be wrong.
posted by jmgorman at 11:05 AM on April 12, 2004

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