What Repels Carpenter Ants

Identifying Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are known for their destruction of wooden structures and property, making them a problem household and business pest. But before you can identify what repels carpenter ants, you must first understand how to identify the ants in the first place. Carpenter ants are some of the largest in species among ants, measuring up to 0.5 inches in length. They appear black, brown, or red and can be distinguished from other ant species by their evenly rounded shape. They have distinctive pincers at their heads and their middle and rear sections are slightly curved.
Carpenter ants are a common sight inside homes, constructing their nests in wood that has been damaged from moisture or that has sustained some other form of damage. They often burrow into wood, making them difficult to trace and get rid of. But since they usually travel in straight lines, the damage they leave behind is often easy to spot.

Making the Environment Uninviting

Fortunately, you can avoid carpenter ants by taking some steps to make the environment outside your home or business uninviting. This involves removing any sources of standing water, such as those from leaking drains or spigots, and eliminating stumps, wood piles and other wood debris from the immediate area. Keeping the area around your home free from debris and vegetation can also help.
Carolyn Logsdon, a biologist with the National Pest Management Association, suggests using traditional chemical insecticides to create a protective perimeter around the building. “Using a perimeter treatment such as a granule or liquid pesticide around the base of the exterior will help in providing a barrier to repel carpenter ants.” Logsdon adds, “It’s also important to make sure the inside of your home is sealed properly with caulk and weather stripping to keep carpenter ants from entering through cracks and crevices.”

Using Natural Repelants

For those looking for more natural solutions to repel carpenter ants, there are also a few remedies that may work. Cayenne pepper, for example, can be sprinkled around the exterior of the building, as well as in any areas where carpenter ant activity has been observed. Alternatively, stands of crushed mint leaves can also be mixed in with equal parts of talcum powder and sprinkled around the perimeter.
Tea tree oil, which has naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, can also be mix with water and sprayed around the perimeter to serve as a natural deterrent. This solution can also be sprayed directly on carpenter ants to kill them.

Baits and Traps

If natural remedies and chemical insecticides fail to repel carpenter ants, then sprays, baits, and traps are the last alternative. Sprays are most effective when used to treat certain areas, and should never be used as a general-purpose spraying solution.
Baits can be effective at killing carpenter ants if they are used properly and strategically placed. Sprinkling bait in areas where you see carpenter ant activity is often enough to draw the ants in and begin to eliminate the infestation.
Some traps are also effective, the most common being sticky traps. traps that are scented with sweet odors are particularly effective at luring carpenter ants in, as the insects are known to be attracted to sweet smells.

Fighting Moisture Issues

In addition to making the environment uninviting for carpenter ants, it’s also important to fight against any moisture issues in and around the building. Carpenter ants are fond of damp, dark areas, and will often seek out these kinds of spots when looking for a place to nest.
Begin by correcting any water leaks inside the home and then addressing any potential issues outside the home such as clogged gutters or broken downspouts. Additionally, identified moisture issues should be solved by insulation and ventilation, with any cracks and crevices sealed off around windows and doors.

Regular Inspections

Apart from creating an uninviting environment and making sure to fight against any moisture issues, it’s also important to regularly inspect your home to ensure there is no carpenter ant activity. Spraying down any suspected areas, like those around doors and windows, with a deterrent product will go a long way in preventing an infestation.
Lastly, the best way to keep carpenter ants from visiting, let alone setting up shop, is by keeping your home clean. Regularly sweeping and vacuuming any woody debris, and then storing all such debris away from the home in a secure container, is an effective way of keeping carpenter ant numbers down.

Using Natural Predators

In addition to natural repelants and baits and traps, the use of natural predators can be effective at getting rid of carpenter ants. The dark-eyed jumping spider preys on carpenter ants and can usually be found in and around homes and businesses. Other predators include certain species of ants such as Acrobat ante and Argentine ants, as well as spiders, centipedes, and some wasps.
For anyone wanting to limit the use of chemical insecticides in their home, these natural predators can be a great way to keep carpenter ants away. Furthermore, they can maintain control over the ants without the need for continual upkeep or maintenance.

Investing in Professional Services

For those that are not keen to take on the fight against carpenter ants alone, it may be best to hire a professional. Investing in the services of a pest control specialist can go a long way in identifying, tracking and eliminating carpenter ant colonies and nests.
By keeping a regular watch over the area around your home or business, and maintaining the integrity of your exterior walls, you can help to deter carpenter ants from visiting your property. Professional services can also help with any additional help needed to prevent an infestation.

Using Honey Sticks and Gels

One final solution that may help with carpenter ant prevention is using honey sticks and gels in and around the home. These sticky substances can be used to bait and trap carpenter ants, as the ants are known to be drawn to sweet substances. Once the ants feed on the honey, they become immobilized and are unable to move.
Knox Husbands, an entomologist from the University of Florida, says that honey sticks may be the best option for those looking to protect their property from carpenter ants. “Honey sticks and gels can be a very effective bait for carpenter ants as the sugar will attract them into it. The stick or gel can then trap the ants and be removed to dispose of them.”

Creating an Unfriendly Carpenter Ant Environment

By using the various tactics mentioned above, you can create an environment that carpenter ants find hostile and avoid completely. Making the area outside your home uncomfortable, investing in professional pest services and using traps and baits are all ways to help keep carpenter ants away.
For those who are looking for natural remedies, using cayenne pepper, mint leaves and talcum powder, or even tea tree oil, can be effective as deterrents. Investing in natural predators, like spiders and centipedes, can also help keep carpenter ant numbers down.
Finally, using honey sticks and gels can be an effective way of trapping carpenter ants and eliminating their presence from your property. With these suggestions, you can keep your home free from carpenter ants and the damage they leave behind.

Marc Jones

Marc Jones is an entomologist and avid insect enthusiast. He's been researching and writing about insects for over 10 years, focusing on topics such as classification, biology, and ecology. He believes that understanding and appreciating the amazing world of bugs can be immensely educational and often amusing.

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