Black Carpenter Ant
There are few ants more a pest than the black carpenter ant. If you live in the U.S. or Canada, chances are good that the interstate highway of tiny ants crawling across your patio or kitchen floor is probably black carpenter ants. Just try not to freak-out because there are very effective methods that can be used for carpenter ant control. The first step is to understand what makes them tick.
The fact that there are 50 different species, all varying in size and color, can make identifying carpenter ants tricky. The workers can differ in size with colors changing from black and brown to red or even yellow brown.
Like other trailing ants, carpenter ant workers have one main purpose in life-seeking food. Totally single minded in this pursuit, they respect no boundaries. Working together with a collective intelligence, they achieve amazing goals simply through the size of their numbers.
Here's an important thing to remember, while the worker ants are seeking food, they're smart enough to identify wooden structures. They'll carry away pieces-from 5 to 25 times their own weight-and can cause serious damage. They don't care about eating the wood. Just like a lot of ants, they can multi-task and they want to make their carpenter ant queen happy by expanding her nest.
Knowing what they like to eat is helpful in controlling the black carpenter ant.. Their menu consists of proteins, sugars, fats and oils found in a variety of sources. Sure, they can get protein from sources in nature, but if they can find a buffet line of meat, cheese or even peanut butter left unattended, so, why should they resist?
People often grab a can of poisonous insecticides (pesticides) without reading the label. This can be dangerous to the user and the environment because many outdoor products cannot be used inside. There are also safety considerations for storage and disposal, not to mention that if you use these products around your home, the residue can be carried into drains or natural water sources. This does not mean that chemical ant control isn't effective. Just keep in mind that sprays are a short-term solution. The most effective control of carpenter ants is to eradicate the nest, including the carpenter ant queen. More effective is carpenter ant bait that contains the foods they like mixed with insecticides. The worker ants find the bait and carry it back to the carpenter ant nest where the food is shared with the entire colony.
If you would rather not risk do-it-yourself chemical ant control, most pest companies will have a knowledgeable carpenter ant exterminator who can solve the problem. However, before choosing any chemical option, why not think about more eco-friendly ways to control your ant problem.
Some simple suggestions include proactive prevention like eliminating sources of entry into your home, removing any food remnants in your kitchen, around your pet food sources, and even water dishes because ants need a drink sometimes too.
Proven effective, self-made recipes for on-contact spray solutions include mixing liquid Dawn or Murphy's soap with a little water. Or, if you are able to find the carpenter ant nest, pour at least 3 gallons of boiling water down for an effective kill.
Carry away organic solutions include taking a small bottle and mixing a half teaspoon each of borax, honey and an aspartame sweetener like Equal. Remove the lids and set the bottles on their sides where carpenter ants are active. Attracted to the sugar source, the ants will carry it back to the carpenter ant nest to be shared. For similar carry-away results, smear a mixture of boric acid and peanut butter on a stick.
Just remember that ants are an important part of our environment and should be treated with respect-so long as they respect the boundary of your home.