How to Control Carpenter Ants
Safe Ant Control
Ants Inside Your Home
Editor's note: You should always take proper precautions when dealing with anything that's toxic. Also remember to keep your children safely away from poisons.
Is there a safe way to get rid of carpenter ants? The County Farm Agent said to spray with kerosene! I think it would be extremely dangerous and also would make our house stink unbearably.
An "organic" or less toxic solution involves spraying citrus oil and/or dusting boric acid in affected areas. The web site dirtdoctor.com has many similar ideas.
A local do-it-yourself pest shop sold me OutSmart, by BioSmart Ideas, Inc., a boric acid gel that gets the ants after they are attracted to the sweet base and eat the boric acid.
This may sound really strange but the citrus air freshener that is made with essential oils which is sold in the auto section of discount stores works on ants. It also smells much better than ant poison.
I spent a lot of time and money on insect sprays, traps and baits. Nothing seemed to work on our ants until I found out about "diatomaceous earth". This is a chalk-like product that has microscopic sharp edges to it. I sprinkled a line of this around my entire house perimeter. Yes, it looked funny for a couple of weeks. I also lined the bathroom walls, especially where the plumbing emerged.
The ants are cut on this powder and they bring it back to their nest to dust the rest of the colony. The large box cost only $6 at our farm and home supply store. In addition to being inexpensive, this material is non-toxic. Although I do recommend covering your nose and mouth when applying the powder since it may be irritating to inhale.
Yes, spraying with kerosene can be quite dangerous and very unhealthful. Not only can it be an environmental hazard, but also may endanger your health. Absolutely avoid this.
I use diazion, which is like cornmeal. I spread it around my house about two times per year. You can buy this at most hardware stores. The ants take the diazion back to their nest, where they eat it and subsequently die. It usually rids my house of ants in a day or so. Also, due to the consistency of the diazion, pets (especially birds) appear to avoid it.
In the house, I use Windex or any other ammonia base product to kill ants. Not only is this faster than using those bug sprays loaded with unhealthful chemicals, but the Windex destroys the "scent" ants use to follow each other.
According to a local remodeler, Illinois Farmers Insurance Company's newsletter and our local farm extension office, carpenter ants love wet wood, so their presence indicates a leak somewhere in your home. You can kill those present with toxic substances, but as long as the wet wood is still there, they will come back. The only long-term solution is to find where the water is getting in, fix it, and replace the wet wood.
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