What Are Carpenter Ants?
Technically known as, Formica ligniperda, the carpenter ants belong to a diverse genus of ants having around one thousand identified species. Spread almost throughout the Asia, America, Europe and other parts of the world, this cadre of ants is potentially damaging to wooden structure and building material.
Some Facts About Carpenter Ants
To start with the description of carpenter ants with wings, it is important to know some important facts about these ants:
- Unlike termites, carpenter ants in house do not eat wood, they only make galleries and creeks in the wood for their shelter.
- Carpenter ants reside only in decaying wooden pieces.
- Carpenter ants are really small in size. They range from 3 to about 15 mm in body size.
- Carpenter ants vary greatly in body color. They may be black, brown, red or even black in color.
- The workers of the carpenter ants colonies are generally without wings while the carpenter ants with wings are the queens of the colonies which are responsible for fast reproduction of these ants.
Signs of Carpenter Ants In House
Before devising any strategy for the control of carpenter ants in house, it is important to know different signs which might suggest the presence of these ants in your house. These carpenter ants are sometimes confused with termites since both these kinds of organisms damage structural wood in homes. But the major difference is that the termites generally consume wood for the purpose of feeding and therefore the debris you find in case of termite attack largely consists of soil and muddy material. However, the signs of carpenter ants in house are a little different than those of termite attack. The carpenter ants only burrow into the wood and do not consume it. Therefore, the debris you find in case of ant attacks is as if some pencils have been sharpened there. Presence of wood shavings under wooden structures is one of the signs of carpenter ants in house.
In addition to the aforementioned signs, the presence of flying carpenter ants in your home is a sign that confirms that these ants have infested the wooden structure in your homes. The reason behind this confirmation is that the flying carpenter ants are the queens of the colonies and queens are only seen where the colonies have been established.
The carpenter ants identification can sometime get a little tricky. These ants are generally less than an inch in length and differ greatly in body color. The color may different from specie to specie and even from member to member within the same species. But generally, the black color and small size of the ants are considered as primary factors for carpenter ants identification.
Cultural ways of killing carpenter ants
Different methods are used to kill the carpenter ants. Most important is to prevent their infestation. Some of the common ways of killing carpenter ants are described here.
- Prevent entry
This is the main step that can reduce the infestation of these wood damaging ants in the home and offices. Seal all the openings of the house and the points from where ants can enter the house. This sealing of entry points will stop their establishment in the home. All the cracks and crevices that can be the entering points of the ants should be closed completely.
- Reduce moisture level
The moisture around the wood structures causes the establishment of ant colonies. Try to remove the moisture around the wood articles so that ants should not be facilitated to prepare their colonies.
- Keep the wood articles above ground level
The carpenter ant control can be done by keeping the wooden articles such as cupboards, furniture and others somewhat above the ground level. This distance between the wooden things and the ground should be at least 12cm so that the contact items will be reduced and the ants find no way to enter the wood items.
- Removal of wood structures around home
One of the ways of getting rid of carpenter ants is the removal of wooden structures around your home and offices. In case when there will be no wooden items in surroundings, there will be very less chances of attack of wood damaging ants.
- Destroy the colony
Another way of getting rid of carpenter ants from the surroundings the identification of colonies is important step. If any colony is detected around you the destruction of this colony is very important. Destroy the colony manually so that its spreading chances will not be there anymore. If any wooden item is completely damages then the destruction of that item by burning will be the good strategy.
Chemical ways of killing carpenter ants/ Home remedies for carpenter ants
The person thinking about how to kill carpenter ants immediately should adopt other ways of carpenter ant control along with the cultural ways. One of these ways is the chemical control methods.
- Use of ant killing traps
One of the chemicals available at home is the boric acid. This can be used for making traps to attract the ants and kill them collectively at one place. The trap can be prepared at home by mixing the 1tsp of borax, 1 tsp of sugar, four ounces of water and some amount of honey. Place this mixture at anything and spread it near the places where ants can be attracted. A carpenter ant bait is an unconventional kind of bait that includes mixing carpenter ant food with an insecticide. The workers of the ant colonies take the food back to the colony where these ants (including the queen) eat the food and are killed. The carpenter an bait is generally used along with conventional baits to have more successful results.
- Use of vinegar
Vinegar can be used as one of the home remedies for carpenter ants. This has the repellent action and ants avoid contacting with vinegar. This can be spread around the susceptible places.
- Use of synthetic chemicals
Synthetic chemicals are commercially available for carpenter ant treatment indoors and outdoors. These can be used safely with effective results.