I'm battlin carpenter ants

Lynn Dollar

TVWBB All-Star
First I found them in my pile of wood for my smoker. Then I find I've got a colony in the eave of the house.

I hit both places with bait. I first tried some " Combat " which is fipronil on the wood pile and did not see much diff. I then found them in the eave of the house and that's when I got serious and ordered some Optigard, which is made by a company I knew of , Syngenta. That company also makes a roach bait that worked great for me a few years ago, called Advion.

So I hit the colony in the house with Optigard last Wednesday. I would've also put down some " Advance " granules, but these ants are not on the ground, they're crawling around on walls.

I get impatient, and I Google " how long take optigard to work " .

Well, the internet is not like it used to be. All of my results were from pest control firms. They all say the same thing, that within a week there will be a noticeable diff in the number of ants I see, but to really get rid of the colony, I need to hire a professional exterminator who has the really good stuff.

Yeah, OK , right..........

Frankly , I'm skeptical, I'm getting a sales job and not the truth. In the old days of the internet, a Google like this would result in experiences of actual users instead of people selling something. Another reason that I once thought the internet was a great thing, but its now turned into something detrimental.

But I digress, and back on the subject.... anyone else have experience setting out bait for carpenter ants ?


Sorry Lynn, saw this on another cooking site and could't resist. Not to make light of your problem, sorry I can't help there.

Dan Leighton

TVWBB Super Fan
I had similar issues with carpenter ants back in RI. My pharmacy had a recipe that worked great. I'll have to try and find it. It was a slurry of sugar and borax. You put it in a coffee can lid and they would belly right up and drink the stuff. they would then take it back and feed it to the queen and end the problem. At my parents house which was surrounded by oaks, I'd spend many a youthful summer night at dusk bouncing a lacrosse ball of the cement sidewalk crushing them.

Found it!

Borax and Sugar
Yes, all you need is sugar and borax. First, mix three parts sugar with one part borax then add a little bit of warm water until the borax mix becomes a sludge. Pour the sludge into a small container then place the container next to the areas where the ants are frequently spotted.

As an alternative, you can also soak some cotton balls in the sugar-borax mix and place the soaked cotton balls next to the trail of ants. You should see the ants gather quickly.

Dan Leighton

TVWBB Super Fan
It takes a couple of days, but it is comical to watch them feeding on the stuff. I would put a new batch out each day. Once the scout ants find it, their hearts and minds will soon follow. Good luck with those pests who can do some real damage.


TVWBB Hall of Fame
Yea i'll third the borax slurry. we had them bad one year and after using it have not seen them.
They like to burrow in old damp or rotting wood. You see little piles of sawdust you can find the nest.
I've used food grade diatomaceous earth around the countertops and that worked also, but the sugar in the borax acts as a bait a really attracts them.


Lynn Dollar

TVWBB All-Star
I've read about the borax. And I could use that below my smoker wood pile. But I've got a problem with access to those in the eave of the house. I don't see them on the ground very often.

I'm almost sure I've located their nest in the eave. I heard them the other day. I've read that they make a clicking or " static like " noise, and I was on a step ladder up under the eave and heard that clear as a bell. I pounded on the soffet and got them stirred up and they came running out in hordes.

But getting bait to them is a problem. I went with the gel because I could inject into cracks, corners , etc .... and it would stick. I'm working on a step ladder up under the eave.

I'm a DIY guy, I like doing as much as I can myself. To call someone is admitting defeat. But I gotta get rid of these things before they do even more damage to the house. I think they may've been there for a while. I've only found them because I cut back some shrubbery growing across the front of the house.

Last evening was really discouraging. I've had bait out for a week and I saw them streaming down the side of the house to the ground and then heading somewhere that I could not see. I've been seeing fewer and fewer on the outside of the house but there was many many last night.

Richard in NS

TVWBB Super Fan
Lynn, I tried the borax and sugar dry, not in a slurry and it did not work for me but the slurry might. Called the exterminator and he came several times last summer before they disappeared. Cost $350 though. Two months ago they were back. Too cheap to spend $350 again I looked on-line and people said this Ortho product worked. Had hundreds of ants on the side of the hose and found the hole where they entered and sprayed twice a few days apart. Three weeks now and no ants. It does have Permethrin so it is toxic, even to my cats but so was the stuff the exterminator used. It was $29 for the jug and it comes with a battery powered sprayer.
I would definitely try the borax slurry first though and see.

Lynn Dollar

TVWBB All-Star
I have to be careful with the sprays and the dusts, most of those are repellents. And if I'm trying to get the ants to the bait, so they can take it back to the queens and kill off the colony, then a repellent is not the best thing. And those will kill for a while, but the colony is still there.

I'm spraying the ground under my smoker wood and around the foundation of the house with a product I got from HD, Terminate. Spray about 2 foot out from the house and then 2 foot up on the wall. That will repel them from other parts of the house.

However, some of the queens will fly from the nest and start new colonies in other locations. What they look for and how they do it, are still mysteries I'm trying to Google.
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Lynn Dollar

TVWBB All-Star
I may be going down this road, soon. I haven't seen any lately but I was seeing some carpenter ant drones right before last winter.
Under my smoker wood, there were piles of what's called " frazz " , which is like sawdust. Carpenter ants don't eat the wood, they just bore into the wood to build a nest. They push all the fine sawdust out and it makes these little piles. That's the first sign I look for. I've not seen frazz around the house.

Past that, I look for them crawling on the outside walls. I've heard they have to go to the ground for water. I don't know that, its just something I've heard. But when I found them on the house they were streaming in a convoy to the ground. I think they might've been going for water.

After that, just close inspection and I could see a solitary worker ant , here and there.

And this nest is right outside Mrs Dollar's sewing room. This past weekend we saw several of them on the walls in her room. She's not seen that before.