Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Local Pests.... Carpenter Ants

New England has its share of pests. And one we are struggling with right now is this little gem -- the carpenter ant.  Jon was up in the attic last week as he noticed one of our network cables wasn't working anymore.  Much to his horror, he discovered that the cable had been destroyed by black ants.  When he pulled up some insulation, he came upon a nest.

Carpenter ants are terrific workers (more good news).  There is the large winged queen, the smaller male and then the workers.  And the workers are plentiful and determined.  One colony, the parent colony can create satellite colonies.  All the ants from these various colonies live together peacefully and productively. They can have colonies inside the home as well as outside in a tree or stump.
Ants follow a trail -- they will keep to this trail and follow natural contours as this makes them feel safe. So, ants walk along cupboard doors, along sidewalks, around stones, etc.  They follow a scent.

They can not eat solid food due to a long narrow esophagus, instead feast on tree sap and sticky foods, syrup, sugars, sodas, soft fruit and other bugs and worms.
They chew the wood looking for any moisture inside it.  It is common to find piles of sawdust when carpenter ants do their bidding.

Carpenter ants go dormant in the cold weather (November through January) and then energize and start activity again.  They do not feed while dormant.

Getting rid of carpenter ants...

So, to get rid of carpenter ants you have your work cut out for you.  You have to locate the nest or all the nests.   This can be tricky and some exterminators will drill holes in an attempt to "locate" the nests".  There are lots of ant baits sold in hardware stores that can be helpful once you locate the nest.  Additionally, boric acid is supposed to kill ants.
Some home remedies include sprinkling cayenne pepper around the ant trail.  I don't know if this is successful.

We called an exterminator.  He examined the situation and administered a slow acting product that is supposed to lure the ants to eat it, take it back to the nest and kill off the ants.  Please cross your fingers for us!

1 comment:

SOFIA said...

Ants are amazing creatures!