How to get rid of pests inside and outside of your house

Getting Rid Of Carpenter Ants

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1. The best way to get rid of carpenter ants is to find their nest and spray it. This is sometimes easier said than done.  Once the nest is found drill small holes and spray or puff a good residual insecticide such as boric acid directly into it. Once the nest is eliminated replace wet and damp wood or a re-infestation may occur in the future. 

2. Baiting is the best treatment to use if the nest can't be found. Be sure and use a bait made specifically for carpenter ants. Place bait in areas where ants are seen. I've always had good results using Maxforce Carpenter Ant Bait.  Unfortunately bait usually does not work well if the ants you are seeing have wings. They are the breeders and won't return to the nest to share the bait. Ants will not eat the bait if it has come in contact with insecticide sprays.

Maxforce Carpenter Ant Bait Gel

In most cases if you are seeing ants inside your home they have just wandered in from the outside looking for food and water, but in sometimes their nest is in damp structure wood. 

How To Find The Nest                       

1. Follow or track ants in your house at night when they are most active and looking for food or water. Most ants are usually seen in the kitchen or bathroom where water and food is plentiful. They may lead you right to their nest.

2. Listen for a clicking noise in your walls. This clicking or rustling sound is how ants communicate with each other in the nest. They usually will click their mandibles together when they are upset. Banging your hand on the wall will sometimes get them to click. Many exterminators will use a stethoscope on your walls to detect this sound and find the nest.

3. Ants usually nest in damp or wet wood and have even been known to nest in cardboard, fiber glass insulation, and insulation panels. Check areas closely where there is moisture or leaks such as a window or door frame, roofing leaks, and around bathrooms and kitchens where there may have been plumbing leaks.

4. Look for particles of sawdust that contain insect parts (called frass). Ants will sometimes deposit this waste in visible areas away from their nests.

5. Look for winged ants. These are the adult breeders, which often do not stray to far from the nest. These winged breeders usually swarm out of the nest in the spring or fall in hopes of mating and becoming queens of their own nest. The smaller males die shortly  after breeding.

 Often an ant colony will have the parent nest outside your home possibly in a tree or rotting stump and will place satellite nests inside your home or garage. This is why it is very important to check the base of your trees for sawdust and ant activity. Place Diatomaceous Earth around the base of your trees and around your porches and foundation.

If the nest cannot be located, placing bait in areas where you see them may work to get rid of them. The worker ants carry the bait back to the nest and share it with the rest of the colony.  Use a bait that is labeled to eliminate carpenter ants.

If you see large black ants in your house it does not always mean you have a nest somewhere in the walls. Most likely they have walked in from the outside looking for food and water but it would be wise to contact a pest control firm for an inspection. Most pro's offer free inspections.

Diatomaceous Earth

female carpenter ant.jpg
Carpenter Ant--Female Worker--1/2 Inch Long

How To Prevent Carpenter Ants
1. Be sure to check all utility wires, and drain spouts. Ants use these as roadways to enter your house.
2. Make sure all tree limbs and bushes are not touching your house.
3. Do not stack firewood close to your home. Be sure to check the wood for ant infestations.
4. Most importantly, repair all plumbing and roofing leaks and be sure to replace all wet and moist wood.  Damp wood is the number one reason for carpenter ant problems.
5.Once again, be sure to check your trees in the summer. If ants are found traveling up and down a tree or sawdust is seen, spread diatomaceous earth around the base of the tree. 

flying carpenter ants.jpg
flying ants

If flying ants (adult reproductives) are seen swarming, sprays can be used to get rid of them but ant bait should not be used. They are interested in breeding and will not feed on the bait.

carpenter ant nest in post.jpg
Carpenter Ant Nest

Carpenter ants nesting in porch column. Notice the big pile of sawdust they have dropped below their nest. 


Carpenter Ant Problems

Trying to get rid of carpenter ants.
I've been having a problem with carpenter ants, some have wings, some don't.  The first time they appeared there were maybe 20-30 of them.  The 2nd time they appeared which was baout 2 weeks alter there were 50 or more.  I couldn't kill them quick enough.  the exterior of the house was sprayed with insecticide and a nest was found and killed.  2 weeks later I saw them in another room but coming from the same wall that the 2 rooms share.  The exterior was sprayed again just this past Friday and again the ants came back last night. There were about 20-30 of them.  I was on any patrol for 2 1/2 hours killing them. I have been stepping on them to kill them and then vaccumming them up(of course getting rid of the vaccumm bag afterwards).
I am afraid to use anything in the house because of my 3 cats.
Is there any remedy that is animal safe to get rid of these ants? I have no place to bring them in order to fumagate/bomb the place.
Any help would be appreciated
Answer:  how can I get rid of ants
Sounds like their nest is in your house in a wall or around a window or door frame,ceiling, roof, or someplace where you may have damp or moist wood. The swarms of ants you have been seeing are adult reproductives that swarm out of the nest in the spring and fall. Having the outside of your house sprayed usually wont help because the nest is inside. The nest needs to be located and insecticide should be sprayed or puffed into the nest. Usually small holes have to be drilled. If this is something you are going to do yourself you can use low toxic boric acid but I highly recommend hiring an exterminator. Most insecticides used are low toxic and wont harm your cats when used properly.

How we found the ant nest in our bedroom wall.
Just wanted to let you know about about a recent problem we had with carpenter ants in our bedroom. We would occasionally see ants crawling on the floor in the master bedroom, probably around 2 or 3 every day. At night we would hear what sounded like a ticking sound coming from someplace in the bedroom but we could not  pin-point exactly where. We were beginning to think the room was haunted. Our cat started spending all his "spare time" in the bedroom staring out the bay window, which we thought  was very strange. We finally called an exterminator to see if he could find the ant nest and spray them. When he arrived the cat was in his usual spot looking out the bedroom window.  After the exterminator finished his inspection he determined the the ants were nesting in the framework of the bedroom window, and that the cat was trying to show us were these unwanted pests were nesting. He told us that our cats super hearing was able to detect exactly where the ants were nesting.
I guess the moral of this story is that if you suspect you might have an ant problem, pay close attention to your pets behavior. 

Large Black Ants in Wooden Deck
I have a wooden deck off of my kitchen. This year I think I have carpenter ants. What color are they. The ones I am seeing are red and black. Could they be coming from rotting wood on the deck. I do not see any visible signs of rotting wood on the deck. I am extremely concerned that I am having some major damage done to my house by these ants. I find them in my kitchen. I also find them on my carpet in the living. The living room is off of the kitchen. I also find some of these ants and something called a sow bug or sow beetle around the baseboards of my living room. My house is on a slab. My house is aluminum sided. I have no crawl space. Is it possible for carpenter ants to be in the attic? Could they be between the walls? I need HELP! I have read articles about "rip-offs" from "professionals" who would come out to treat this problem. I do not want to be "taken for a ride". I want to try to get rid of this problem on my own.
I read the article about different natural home remedies. Last year I found a couple colonies of ants in my back yard. I didn't take a close look as to what kind they were. I also read about Diatomaceous earth. Where do you buy this DE? Any help you can provide me is deeply appreciated.

Hi, thanks for your question. First I want to assure you the most pest control firms will not rip you off and it would be best to have an inspection to determine what type of ants you may have. Carpenter ants can be red, black or red and black in some cases. They are quite large, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long.
If you have seen these ants throughout the winter or when temperatures are cold they probably have a nest inside your house. They usually nest in a area where the wood is damp such as window or door frames, or any place that there may be a water leak such as roofs or even in the attic. Keep an eye out for fine particles of sawdust that they sometimes deposit in areas near their nest. You sometimes can even here them in their nest making a clicking noise.You may also want to try following one, it may lead you back to its nest.If you do locate the nest,drill small holes and puff in boric acid. Nontoxic diatomaceous earth works good around the outside foundation of your house and around the base of trees and will kill any crawling insects that come in contact with it.You can check it out at the link at the top of page. Hope I have been some help.

Re: wooden deck
Thank you for your fast response. To answer your question, I have not seen these ants throughout the winter or when the temperatures are cold. This is the first time I have seen them, meaning since we have had warmer weather this year. So, is it possible they are coming in from the outside? By the way, is all diatomaceous earth non-toxic? I appreciate your kind help.

Response--Good chance they are coming in from the outside if you have only seen them since the weather has warmed up. There are two types of diatomaceous earth, food grade DE and also the type that is used in swimming pool filters. Only the food grade DE will kill insects and is non toxic.

Fine Sawdust Below Maple Tree
I keep finding piles of sawdust at the bottom of a maple tree in my back yard. Could this be caused by termites. What can you recommend? Do you know of any remedies to get rid of them. Nothing toxic please

No. You probably have a nest of carpenter ants in your maple tree.The best way to get rid of them is to put a three inch wide barrier of diatomaceous earth around the bottom of your maple tree. It is non-toxic pesticide product and will kill any insect that walks through it. Ant killer granules also seem to work quite well

We have a wooden bench in our back yard that is getting destroyed by insects. Around each leg are piles of fine saw dust. We are seeing a large amount of very tiny black wood ants in the area. I really hate to loose this bench to insects, it has been in our family for years. My main concern is that we have small children and pets in the area, and I dont want to use any insecticide that may be harmful to them. What would be best to use that is safe,,,,,,thanks.

Answer: Tiny ants eating wood bench
Once again I recommend using diatomaceous earth. It is not toxic and will not harm the pets or kids. Just place a small amount around each one of the legs. It will kill any insect that crawls through it. Any lawn furniture, wood decks, or wooden structures in your yard that make contact with the ground should be treated with something such as Termite Prufe ( labeled for homeowner use) to keep wood infesting insects out permanently

Do Pest Repellers work on ants.
I am interested in trying pest repellers to get rid of ants that I am seeing in my house. Do they really work? Thanks for your site it is very informative.

ANSWER: Do pest repellers work
In my opinion, no. I was recently in a customers house to spray for ants who was using pest offense repellers.She said they did not do much to repel ants but they had stopped her mouse infestation.

I also was in a home to treating for wood roaches.She was using around twenty pest patrol repellers and said that they were helping quite a bit.
Thanks For Your questions

Ants Making Clicking Noise In Wall
We keep hearing a clicking noise in our bedroom wall almost every night when we go to bed. We always hear it in the same place which is just below our bedroom window. We thought it might be a mouse but we have never seen mice or droppings in our home.We occasionally do see black ants on the floor but not many.What do you think this noise in the wall could be,,Please help,, Its driving us nuts,Thanks for the info on your web site.

ANSWER: noise in wall:
The noise you are hearing is probably a nest of carpenter ants.They communicate by making a clicking noise that sometimes sounds like the crinkling of paper. I really recommend having anexterminator get rid of them, due to the amount of damage they can do.. If you have to exterminate them yourself drill 7 or 8 small holes spaced 12 to 18 inches apart and puff boric acid into the holes. Be sure and go 3 to 4 feet to the left and right of where you are hearing the noise. You may have to repeat this a few time to get rid of the ants.Good luck,,