How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants Naturally

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My sister and I were having a mighty fascinating discussion yesterday afternoon on carpenter ants.  She’s in a heavily wooded area, and she told me that on their moving day, she heard carpenter ants in the walls.  The home was brand new!  An inspection proved there were indeed carpenter ants which had moved in before they did, and this discussion prompted me to look into how to get rid of carpenter ants naturally.  

The photo you see here is a lovely little shot of the carpenter ant.  These guys also come with wings; the more you see with wings around your home, the bigger that ant colony actually is.  There are usually 20 or 30 winged carpenter ants per colony.  So if you’re seeing lots of winged ants, it’s not a very good sign.

With or without wings, however, you want to get rid of the guys before they chomp up your home.  I’ve done some research and have come across a few different things you can try.  Borax seems to be the overwhelming remedy of choice.  Mixing equal parts Borax and powdered sugar gives the ants a little something for their sweet tooth while stomping through the Borax, which destroys their exoskeletons and eliminates the ants shortly after contact.  The biggest issue with carpenter ants is that the majority of them never leave the nest.  If you wait until night when the ants are most active and the house is quiet, you can give a good listen and note where you’re hearing them.  If you’re brave enough to drill little 1/8-inch holes in your house where you hear crunching, you can puff some of this mixture right into the walls.  

For those of you not willing to put holes in the walls, you can try placing little plates of the mixture on the ground around the areas you most frequently see them (out of reach of kids and pets).  Another option is to make a little pool of maple syrup on the plate and ring it with the Borax; ants have to travel through that Borax to get to their snack.  But again, you’re not eradicating the nest by only killing off those few ants willing to come out.  If you have only seen these ants outdoors and haven’t heard them in your house, try the plate trick in the areas you’ve seen or heard them. Search areas where you may keep firewood, or where there’s damp woodpiles.  These are a couple of favored hiding places.  And be sure not to store firewood inside your home – you may just be inviting them in!

If the carpenter ants have been spotted outdoors but haven’t come in, try planting marigolds or lavender around the perimeter of your home.  They don’t like vinegar either, but I personally find marigolds more appealing than vinegar!  

In the end, if the problem is a big one you’ll probably have to call a professional.  Always ask lots of questions, and don’t be afraid to ask about the chemicals they use!  Ask questions, take notes, and research the chemicals on your own.  These days companies are indeed getting more used to questions like this than ever before. You’ll be helping them to understand consumer concerns, and you’ll be more likely to choose a solution you can live with.

Have other solutions on how to get rid of carpenter ants naturally?  Leave a comment here and share!

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