We have been getting a lot of calls lately from homeowners with Carpenter Ant issues. Watch this CTV News video clip of a BC family that had their deck collapse during a BBQ due to the activity of Carpenter Ants.
Carpenter Ants chew up tons of wood and turn it into fine sawdust that rots and provides compost for new growth. Because they enter man made structures they are considered the most destructive common insect pest we have in Canada.
Pest Control Canada says . . . Most Carpenter Ant species establish their initial nest in decayed wood, but, once established, the ants extend their tunneling into sound wood and can do considerable damage to a structure. These species commonly nest in standing trees (living or dead), in stumps, or in logs on the forest floor. Since many houses are being built in forested areas, well established, vigorous colonies are readily available in the immediate vicinity to attack these dwellings. Ants are generally active along ant trails from April to mid-October. These trails follow natural contours and lines of least resistance and also frequently cut across lawns. Traffic on these trails may be noticeable during the day, but peak traffic occurs after sunset and continues throughout the night.
Many pest control professionals consider Carpenter ants the most difficult pest there is to deal with in the industry. With all the training and experience they have, there are some homes that take considerable time and a number of treatments to eradicate these destructive insects. Many homeowners will call in a professional after they have failed to solve the problem themselves. This situation is usually more difficult to deal with because the homeowner randomly sprayed pesticides killing the obvious evidence and scattering the satellite nests.
If you are not prepared to spend hours in your attic and crawl space wearing a respirator, rubber gloves, coveralls and a hat, then you may be wise to call a professional to do the job properly from the start.
Most pesticides available to the public will kill any insect that they come in contact with while still wet. Once dry, the residual effect is minimal and has very little effect on insects.
Ant Dusts: Diatomaceous earth is sold in a variety of containers with convincing trade names. The basic product can also be purchased in much less expensive plain plastic bags at most garden stores.
Toxic chlorpyrifos is now off the market and illegal to use in Canada and U.S.A.
Boric Acid dust: It is very difficult to inject into a nesting cavity without proper equipment. Do not put it in exposed areas.
Ant Poisons sold over the counter at most hardware stores have little if any effect on carpenter ants
Ant Traps are actually not traps. The little tin cans with holes in the side contain borax. They have no effect on carpenter ants.
Secret Formulas: If you find one that works, patent it immediately. Scientists around the world have been searching for years for ingredients that will attract and kill or repel carpenter ants. Some things that homeowners have tried include cinnamon, cayenne pepper, moth balls, boric acid and icing sugar.
None of them have been proven effective.