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Manage Carpenter Ants with Least-toxic Methods

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Carpenter Ants: How to Identify Carpenter Ants Using a Magnifying Glass:

Look for two distinct characteristics when you look at the Carpenter Ant in profile. First, carpenter ants have a smooth, rounded back with no humps and secondly, carpenter ants have a tiny pyramid or pedicel at their waist. You may be wondering how to catch such a quick insect and get it hold still while you examine it. Flick the ant into a small plastic or glass container with a lid and place it in the freezer for a few minutes.

Carpenter Ants: How to Determine if Carpenter Ants Are Infesting Your Home:

1) You will see the ants within the home over a period of several days or weeks. 2) You may hear them scurrying about inside walls, especially at night. 3) You may see piles of sawdust, or frass, under the house, that workers have bulldozed from their nests.

Carpenter Ants: Least-toxic Control Measures for Carpenter Ants:

First, locate the nests by following the well defined trails of the foraging carpenter ants at dusk or after dark. The ants will be going in both directions and those moving toward the nest may be carrying insects or bug parts for food. Carpenter ant nests may be outside the home in a tree stump or near an entrance/crack into a home.

Carpenter Ants: Treating Carpenter Ant Nests Using Least-toxic Measures:

Treat outdoor nests by spraying a pyrethrin aerosol directly into the nest for at least 10 seconds. If a nest is within a wall void, drill a 1/8" hole and spray the same pyrethrin product through an injection straw. Alternately, diatomaceous earth and silica gels can be "puffed" into outside nests. The applicator should wear a dust mask to avoid inhalation of the product. If carpenter ants are still present in the home two weeks after the treatment, repeat the treatment. If carpenter ants remain active within a wall void, a carpenter can remove a section of the wall, then extract the nest and ants and repair the wall.

Carpenter Ants: Taking Preventive Steps to Keep Carpenter Ants Out of the Home:

Seal all cracks on the home's exterior including utility service entrances.
Dry up leaks outside and inside the home and repair or replace any moisture-damaged wood.
Chip stumps in the yard, ensuring that the wood debris is mulched or located far away from the home.
Similarly, locate firewood piles away from the home, so that they do not touch the home or garage wall.
Trim tree branches so that they do not touch the home, roof or attic.
Maintain a clearance of six inches between wood siding and the soil to make sure that the siding does not "wick" moisture from the ground and provide ants another route into the home.

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