Eliminating Carpenter Ants

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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.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants: There Must Be a Better Way

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.
Bonnie D.

Organic Solutions

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.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants: Citrus Air Freshener Fights Ants Too

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.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants: An 'Earthy' Ant Repellent

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.

Kerosene is Very Dangerous

Yes, spraying with kerosene can be quite dangerous and very unhealthy.

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.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants: Beware of Wet Wood

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.
E. S.

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