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Preventing And Killing Carpenter Ants

If you see extremely large ants around your home, you may have carpenter ants. They infest homes and can cause serious damage to wooden structures if not discovered early. Killing carpenter ants can be tricky, since they make their nests in hard to find areas. If you think you may be dealing with these creatures, however, there are still things you can do. Let's find out about how to control carpenter ants.

One of the first things you should know is that carpenter ants do not eat wood, unlike termites, which can digest cellulose. Like other ants, carpenter ants eat sweets like jelly and sugar, meat, and other food residues. In the wild, they tend to feed on live or dead insects. One of the most important things you can do when you're considering killing carpenter ants is to deprive them of food and water. They can't survive without them, and the colony will either die out or move on.

Carpenter ants prefer to build their nests in environments composted of moist wood. In the wild, this could be a rotting stump, a buried log, the roots of a tree or other fallen wood. In human houses, it tends to be in the attic or basement, in the voids between walls, in doors, curtain rods, behind tubs and bathroom tiles, in the wall, behind siding or even in insulation. Wood found under sinks, showers, or washing machines can be a habitat for them. Keeping all wood in your home as dry as possible is an important part of preventing carpenter ants.

Carpenter ants may not eat wood, but they still create tunnels and galleries, just like termites, so controlling carpenter ants is extremely important. Before you have to worry about killing carpenter ants, try to keep them from taking up residence in your home. Regularly check your entire home for signs that they're present or for situations that might attract them. Get rid of routes from trees and bushes to your home, seal openings where pipes and wires enter the house, and make sure there are no plumbing or spouting leaks.

If you see a crack in your foundation, don't delay repairing it. Bugs can sometimes find them faster than we can, and you want to keep carpenter anys out. Avoid storing firewood in your home or very close by, and when you need to bring it in, look each piece over to make sure it's free of ants. Remove all wet or rotten wood from the general area of your home. Keep drainage problems down - carpenter ants need a water source, whether it's a clogged gutter or a leaky bathtub. Controlling carpenter ants requires getting rid of that water source. If you convince them to move out, there's no need to worry about killing carpenter ants.

Like many other pests, carpenter ants are mostly nocturnal. That means that you may not see them unless you're up late, or get up very early in the morning. If you know you have them, however, you'll need to figure out where they're hiding. Remember that it could be some distance from where you've seen them - it might even be outside. If you know where the nest is, killing carpenter ants can be accomplished with a bulb duster and an anti-insect powder. Boric acid powders are a popular method for controlling carpenter ants that's minimally toxic. Of course, if things get too bad, don't hesitate to call a professional.

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By Frank Reece. Page last modified Nov. 10, 2008.

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