There are two types of carpenter ants in Canada, red and black carpenter ants. The size of them are usually around 6 to 25mm long (.24 to 1 inch), and they have antennas on their heads. Male and female carpenter adult ants have wings during mating time. Carpenter ants are wood infesting ants, they are different from termites (which one can not see easily at home, and people often confuse them with )but unlike the termite ants, carpenter ants don’t eat wood, they only tunnel into the wood structure to create a nest and tend to take/spread the wood dust to hollow spaces between drywall, however this is significantly damaging for your structure of the house over time.
Carpenter ants infestation can occur in interior and exterior walls of a home including, bathroom, sub floors, walls, attics, ceilings and a variety of other odd places. Carpenter ants like damp, wet, rotten, decay and molded wood, since its easier for them to chew through them. Carpenter ants may be building a satellite home inside your house, you need to follow the ants and find the source of colony to see where they live, there could be a tree within a 300 meters radius that could be the source of where the ants are living, and they are trying to build satellite homes around. If you hear crunching sounds within your walls, especially in your bathroom, or kitchen where water is available, you may have carpenter ants building a nest in your home.
- The number one thing to do to prevent carpenter ants in your home is to eliminate any moisture problems, from leaky sinks, showers to faucets, cut away the tree limbs that are touching your house, remove and replace any rotting wood/deck that is attached the house, remove any firewood that is close to the house.
- Remove most of the plants that are growing next to your foundation especially peonies flowers, carpenter ants tend to like peonies flowers and place rocks around the house, carpenter ants do not necessary like rocks next to the foundation.
- The product that I have found very helpful is Ortho Max, one can purchase it from any major hardware store like Canadian Tire, Home Depot or Lowes. It does contain some level of pesticides, so be warned if you have pets and kids around.
- Organic alternative that I have found is Diatomaceous Earth, you can purchase this from Ritchie’s here in Ottawa, Diatomaceous Earth is something eatable so there is no toxic in it. It basically can deter any bug with an exoskeleton (ants, fleas, bugs). Highly recommended.
- Boric Acid and sugar mixed is another alternative that one can use to prevent carpenter ants. I never used it personally.
Here are some preventative things that I do:
When spring arrives and the snow gets melted, I would start at the beginning of every month and I would go around the house and spray Ortho Max around the edge of the foundation where it meets the ground, and the week after I would go around again and put Diatomaceous earth around the same area. Ortho max comes with a spray so its easy to use, for Diatomaceous Earth I get a bottle that has a tip similar to the image below and use that to spread it around.
And by being proactive in it, rather than reactive, has helped me tremendously in preventing any bugs entering my house.
Author: Nilay Ertemur