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Amanda 06-02-2002 05:43 AM

Carpenter Ants
First of all, Orkin is out of their mind!! I had them come out to give us a price and hopefully spray since we have huge black carpenter ants (the kind that eat your house) and lots of spiders. They wanted over $800 per year, with over $300 down!! There's no way I'm paying that kind of money. :ugh:

Has anyone here dealt with carpenter ants, or even just done their own exterminating? I know you can get one of those sprayers at Home Depot or WalMart, but what do you use to get rid of the pests?

Shawn 06-02-2002 02:46 PM


I have some home remedies that I promise to post in the am. My husband has been on the computer all day ... there was some type of computer problems at his work and he is trying to resolve it. I am on kust long enough to check my mail (I am sneaking this in ;) )

I will get back to you soon :daisy:

Amanda 06-02-2002 05:16 PM

ok thanks!

Shawn 06-03-2002 02:02 AM

When carpenter ants invade a home or structure, they can cause a considerable amount of damage. It is important to properly identify the type of insects or ants invading a structure so measures can be taken to effectively control them. Carpenter ants can be various sizes. Major workers are about one-half inch long, minor workers are about one-fourth of an inch long, queens having wings are about three-fourths of an inch long, and queen carpenter ants are about five-eighths of an inch long. Worker ants are brownish in color, and they can be identified by a large head and a small thorax. Queen carpenter ants are usually all black, but there are some varieties of carpenter ants that have shades of brown, red, or yellow occurring on the legs and body. Larvae appear similar to a grub and form silken cocoons that are light brown in color. Carpenter ant eggs are approximately one-eighth of an inch long, oblong in shape, and off-white in color.

There are areas within a home or structure where carpenter ants and nests are most likely to be found. Typical nesting locations of carpenter ants prefer to make their nests in damp wood. Areas they are often found in are cracks surrounding doors, window frames, and chimneys. Carpenter ants also prefer wood in areas where roofs have leaked, around basins, and around tubs. Nests may also be in damp spaces between walls, hollow timbers, railroad ties, and tree stumps. Although they can occupy cracks and crevices that are dry, any areas having moist wood can be a likely spot for a colony of carpenter ants to make their nests.

Carpenter ants do not eat the wood they damage. They create tunnels and hollow areas for their nests. "Carpenter Ants", construct two types of nests. Parent colony houses the egg-laying queen, at least 2,000 workers, and baby carpenter ants. a satellite colony contains only worker ants. These nests can cause damage to a structure if the problem is not taken care of right away.

The June 2000 newsletter entitled "Plants and Pests", published by Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, in the article entitled "Carpenter Ants Make a Life Out of Bugging Homeowners", written by Gary Bennett, Purdue Entomologist, and Daniel Suiter, Georgia Extension, provides the following recommendations for preventing carpenter ants. It says cracks and other openings should be sealed, food should be stored properly, and tree limbs that come in contact with the roof of a structure should be trimmed. In addition, trash cans should be kept covered, and any crumbs or spills should be promptly cleaned up. Exposed wood or areas having moisture should be kept dry.

"Carpenter Ants", published by The University of Kentucky, provides the following recommendations for killing carpenter ants once their nests have been located. It says if the nest is within a wall, a small hole can be drilled and boric acid can be blown in. The holes can be sealed with cork, dowel rod plugs, or a patching compound when the nests and ants have been eradicated. In addition, residual insecticides should be sprayed in and around the area of infestation. The outside of a home or structure should be treated as well. It is important to spray all cracks where carpenter ants can enter, and the foundation of the building should be sprayed a minimum of two feet from the ground up. In addition, the ground adjacent to the building should be treated at least three feet beyond the foundation.

Although carpenter ants can cause damage and are undesirable, "Carpenter Ants Make a Life Out of Bugging Homeowners" says these pests can be beneficial. It says they often kill other insects for food. However, the damage they cause is greater than any benefit they may bring.

Be sure that caution is taken with any type of insecticide. These products should not be used if there is a chance that children or pets may come in contact with them. All product labelling should be carefully read and followed. If store bought products are not successful in getting rid of carpenter ants, "Carpenter Ants Make a Life Out of Bugging Homeowners" recommends seeking help from a professional exterminator.


If you find ants in your house, it means that the ants have found a food source. Find the area where the ants are getting inside and seal it. Often ants find cracks and enter the house near the foundation, vents, windows and utility pipes. Keep food in plastic containers and vacuum frequently to pick up crumbs.
You can try to keep ants from entering your home by placing repellents along house entry points. Use egg shells, red pepper, borax, calcium dust, bonemeal, diatomaceous earth or powdered charcoal to repel ants.


You can use diazinon or chlorpyrifos to control carpenter ants. However, the ants are often a sign of unsound wood. You may have some structural damage. You can reduce the likelihood of a carpenter ant infestation by removing old tree stumps, firewood and old, rotting wood by buildings.

pita1213 06-06-2002 05:37 PM

you may also want to remove any wood mulch from around the house. they seem to like hiding in that as well. especailly if it is against the house.

ajrsmom 06-06-2002 06:59 PM

Amanda, I share you pain and frustration with those dang things !! This past weekend we were invaded big time !

I used ant bombs inside the house-yes, it takes some cleaning afterwards but it was worth it. I also used Diazinon around the house outside. It worked :) I now this is a temporary fix because the trees over the hill in the back yard are infested with them and eventually they will return but I plan on keeping up on this routine....its a lot cheaper than having a company come over but then again they would treat the yard too.

Are you having any success getting rid of them ?

Shawn, Thanks for the contains excellent info. Before reading this, I didnt think that carpenter ants were "food" ants too...meaning they would follow food trails like other ants.

Has anyone had any luck with Boric Acid ? I want to put a trail of it under my sink way in the back but I dont know if it works or not. HHHMMM......

What a YUCKY job !!

rowdette 06-06-2002 07:04 PM

Carpenter Ants
We have also had problems with spiders, ants and at one point a small problem with termites that we quickly got under control. We too found that the profesional treatment was too costly . So we order our own Professional grade products from a company in flordia and have been doing our own treatments and have not had any problems. It almost seems more effective then the professional treatment. I do have a 1-800 # for this co. if you wish to e-mail me off list I will be glad to give it to you.( I have no personal interest in this company at all. Just have had great customer realtions with them they are excellent and very knowledgeable to deal with) When doing your own treatment you have to repeat every 6-12 months but it cost us 50.00 for the chemicals and our house is approx 2100 sq feet and it last 1 1/2 years well worth it for us and no more termite problems either. Hope this helps...:daisy:

MissPeggy 06-06-2002 11:36 PM

carpenter ants
I'm not sure if this would work with carpenter ants, however, I've had very good luck using diamataceous earth (DE) to keep ants and other soft bodied insects under control. I especially like the fact that it's non-polluting, and is safe arounds kids and animals. You can find DE at garden shops (generally overpriced), and wherever pool chemicals are sold. I buy 50# bags for about $13US, and it lasts several years. DE is composed of the fossilized shells of microscopic sea animals called diatoms. These shells have razor sharp spines jutting out which cuts anything they come in contact with. When they die, their shells are deposited in beds. When DE is spread out, ants and other insects walk through powder, and it is carried back to the nest. Any bug which walks through the DE will have its little body lacerated with the prickly spines of the shells. They generally die within a few minutes. I spread a large amount over the yard and throughout the house last year and this year there has been virtually no ants. I haven't noticed any detrimental effect on the beneficial insects. Hope this helps.

mrs_helm 06-07-2002 09:36 AM

get more quotes
If you're seeing a lot of Carpenter ants, you want to move fast. They can do a lot of damage to your home in a very short time. Fortunately, when this happened to us, it wasn't our home - we were renting. But we did have to find other accomodations quickly!

Anyway, what I really wanted to suggest was that you call and get quotes from some other companies. After a year of battling carpenter ants in our Maple tree with several different methods, my DH finally made some calls. Orkin and the other name brand company were ridiculous. We found a local company that will treat the problem much more reasonably. For @$250 they tackle the infestation, and we also signed up for a monthly treatment for the house & barn for $32/mo. (It would've cost us WAY more than that to have the tree taken down - and probably more for house damage. )They are very conscientous and personalized in their service, making sure that nothing they use will affect my 4yo ds with asthma, our cats, or our fish pond.

We live in a VERY small town, so if we can find a cheaper price, you probably can too!

Many ant infestations (sugar ants, etc.) can be adequately treated by the homeowner, but if you've got carpenter ants, I wouldn't mess around.

mousebyte 06-07-2002 09:37 AM

Miss Peggy a quick question. Will the DE hurt our cats paws or childrens feet if they are barefoot? This sounded like a great solution for us but we have 3 kiddos and 5 cats and I don't want them getting their feet cut up. Thanks for the advice.

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