Showing posts with label carpenter ant control. Show all posts
Showing posts with label carpenter ant control. Show all posts

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Pavement Ants - A Pesky Problem in Ontario

Pavement ants, a common pest in Ontario, are just one of the 100+ species of ants in Canada. They are a small ant, ranging from about 2mm - 3mm in size. Pavement ants vary between black to a medium brown in colour and their legs are often a lighter brown colour. One identifying marker of pavement ants are the parallel groves found on their head and thorax, which are best seen when using a magnifying glass. 

Where do pavement ants live?


Just like their name indicates, pavement ants are found under stones, sidewalks, concrete slabs and at the edge of pavement. Many people notice the piles of dirt that have been excavated to make room for a nest; these dirt mounds can been seen on driveways and pavement. Pavement ants can also be found nesting under objects that are sitting on top of pavement, such as patio blocks, stones and so on. In the summer time pavement ants live outdoors, but
over the winter these ant colonies often move to the foundations of a house and
can sometimes be found indoors.

Photo Credit to Cyril Weerasooryia - https://www.flickr.com/photos/7609788@N04/6897564029/

What do pavement ants eat?


Pavement ants eat nearly any type of food including insects and honeydew from aphids, to animal food, seeds, meats, fruits, and starches - but their preference is greasy and sweet items. Pavement ants can become a nuisance when they are found foraging in homes for food. When found indoors, they are specifically looking for protein or sweet substances needed to feed the queen and the young.

How do you prevent pavement ants?


There are steps you can take inside and around your home to prevent pavement ants from becoming a problem. Sweep up! Cleanliness is important inside a home or business to avoid any foragers from entering in search of food. It’s also best practice to seal up any cracks in exterior walls to discourage ants from moving indoors. Repair any water leaks and watch for problematic foundation drainage. 


 Photo credit: Wikipedia

What treatments are there for pavement ants?


There are a number of ways to treat for pavement ants depending on a variety of factors. Often people want to know if they can treat for pavement ants themselves using products found in hardware stores. It is our experience that these treatments are only a temporary fix and don’t get to the core of the problem. We recommend that one of our professionals asses the situation in person, so that the correct treatment is used to maximize results. Typically, when a nest is located a liquid insecticide agent is used to flood the area. A residual insecticide is used on areas that the ants travel along, like cracks in a sidewalk. For interior problems we apply a dust into walls and baseboards of the home. We do ask that you leave your home for four hours after the treatment is applied to allow for proper drying time. 

 Sawyer Pest Management is licensed by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and is insured. Each of its service representatives is a fully licensed Structural Exterminator, fully trained and competent in the services they provide. Sawyer Pest Management does not employ unlicensed service technicians. 


Sawyer Pest Management is proud to provide service programs in the communities of London, Melbourne, Ingersoll, Aylmer, Port Stanley, Strathroy, St.Thomas, Parkhill, Grand Bend, Bayfield, Exeter, Lucan and St. Marys.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

How to Kill Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are exceptionally common, exceptionally destructive pests. Left unchecked, a carpenter ant infestation can spread rapidly. Because of this, identifying and exterminating carpenter ants as early as possible can help prevent serious structural damage, which can be quite costly to repair. See Step 1 below to start stamping out a carpenter ant infestation before it grows out of control.

Part 1 of 3: Spotting an Infestation

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    Learn how to identify carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are a group of ants belonging to the genus Camponotus, of which there are over 1,000 species.[1]Carpenter ants live on every continent except for Antarctica and, as individual species, have a wide variety of differentiating features. However, certain traits common to the entire genus are useful to know when attempting to decide whether the ants in your home are carpenter ants or another variety. Some common traits to look for are:[2]
    • Color: Usually red, black, or an intermediate shade
    • Shape: Segmented with oval abdomen and boxy, thin thorax. The tops of carpenter ant thoraxes typically have a smooth, even curve, rather than an uneven or bumpy one.
    • Size: Approximately 3/8”-1/2", depending on caste
    • Antennae: Yes
    • Wings: Typical worker ants do not have wings. However, relatively rare male drones may possess them.
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    Learn where carpenter ants live. Carpenter ants can (and will) establish a nest inside or outside of any type of structure, but wooden homes are especially at risk because carpenter ants like to bore tiny tunnels into wood. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don't eat wood - they only tunnel into the structure to create a nest.[3] Because moist wood is easier than dry wood for carpenter ants to tunnel through, the interior locations of carpenter ants will often be near a moisture source, like a leaky sink or bath.
    • Sometimes, carpenter ants build a network of one or more satellite or parent colonies outside a structure and travel between these colonies and their foothold indoors, entering the structure through small cracks or openings. In these cases, outdoor colonies will often be located in tree stumps, landscape timbers, wood piles or other sources of damp wood. You can often locate carpenter ant trails between colonies in the early morning or early evening when the carpenter ants are foraging.
    • When carpenter ants tunnel, they can leave “frass", a substance resembling tiny wood shavings or sawdust, behind. Frass often contains dead insects. This can provide clues to their nesting location. If you come across small piles of frass in or around your house, carefully inspect the wood nearby for tunnels - probing the suspected wood with a thin screwdriver can reveal hollow spots.[4]
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    Know where to look for carpenter ant activity. Though they usually nest in wood, if a carpenter ant colony is within the wall of your home, you may have a hard time finding it. If you suspect you have carpenter ants, it's a good idea to look for them in easily-accessible places where you are likely to find them. Certain common household sites are more supportive of carpenter ant activities than others - especially if these sites are damp and/or have access to food. Look for ants in the following areas:
    • Carpets – Check around doors, fireplaces, and other areas with easy access to the outside.
    • Patios and foundations
    • Areas with vegetation - Ants like to nest and forage in trails out of sight behind any vegetation, tree stumps, branches which rests against foundations, patios, etc. Pull back the vegetation to look for ants. When you find foraging ants, attempt to follow them back to their colony.
      • Mulch and leaf litter can harbor numerous types of ants in addition to carpenter ants, such as pavement ants, fire ants, and Argentine ants. Rake mulch back from the ground to check for colonies.
    • Floors – Potted plants, compost bends, or any other suitable item that has ground contact can contain carpenter ants.

Part 2 of 3: Exterminating Carpenter Ants

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    Use caution when dealing with carpenter ants. Though it's unlikely to happen, this warning bears mentioning: don't handle carpenter ants or their nests directly. Carpenter ants are not particularly aggressive and will not usually bite humans. However, when irritated or threatened, they can and will inflict a painful bite. Carpenter ants are also known to spray formic acid into bite wounds, increasing the pain. Though it's not the end of the world to be bitten by carpenter ants, you can avoid unnecessary pain by avoiding touching the ants or their nests unless it's absolutely necessary, in which case you should use long sleeves and gloves.
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    Locate the colony or colonies. The first step to exterminating a carpenter ant colony is to find it. To pinpoint the location of colonies in your home, look for ants, small holes, and piles of frass in the locations discussed in Part One, paying special attention to any areas that appear to contain moist wood. You can also test wood for infestations near the surface by firmly tapping. Wood with extensive burrowing can sound thinner or hollower than unaffected wood. Tapping can also agitate ants, causing them to leave the nest, where you may be able to see them more easily.
    • Don't forget that mature nests often have smaller satellite nests nearby, which also must be located to ensure the entire ant infestation is exterminated.
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    Destroy or remove the colony. In the case of smaller colonies, or ones that are fairly easy to access, it's sometimes possible to simply get rid of the colony itself. If the colony is outdoors, simply dispose of the affected wood carefully, using impenetrable materials like tarps to protect yourself from the ants as you handle the wood. If the colony has been located indoors, some pest control websites recommend using a vacuum cleaner's hose attachment to disrupt the colony and suck the ants out.[5]
    • If using the vacuum cleaner method, be sure to carefully seal and dispose of the dust bag to keep any ants that survive from escaping.
    • If you find a colony that has extensively burrowed through the wood in your wall, don't cut the wood out - you risk compromising the structural integrity of your house. Instead, call a professional.
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    Use baits for ant colonies that cannot be treated directly. You may not always be able to find carpenter ant colonies. However, if you can find significant numbers of the ants themselves, placing insecticides in their trails can control and eliminate the colony. A variety of baits, traps, and other ant-killing products are available for sale to the general public - visit your local hardware store to check which options are available to you.
    • Be very careful when using poison ant bait in houses with small children. Make sure that the child knows not to eat the poison, or, if s/he is too young to understand, keep the child under close supervision.
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    Contact a professional. If you can't quickly locate and eliminate the colony and you haven't had success with insecticides, it's usually best to contact a professional exterminator. Professionals have access to insecticides and other tools that aren't available to the general public, but, more importantly, their training and experience allows them to locate and assess carpenter ant infestations much more intelligently than the average person.
    • Keep in mind that certain methods that exterminators use to kill ants may require your family to temporarily vacate your house for a day or two.
    • Don't delay in contacting a professional - the longer you wait to deal with a carpenter ant infestation, the larger the colony can grow and the more extensive the damage to your wood structure may be.


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    Eliminate sources of moisture. Moisture is a big factor in carpenter ant infestations. Often, a patch of wood will become susceptible to infestation after it's been exposed to moisture. By fixing or sealing any leaks that allow water into your house, you can make it much more difficult for carpenter ants to nest. Below are a few suggestions for eliminating the moisture that can contribute to carpenter ant infestations:[6]
    • Check around windows for signs of an improper seal
    • Check your roof and weather-facing walls for leaks
    • Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well-ventilated
    • Look for and fix leaky pipes
    • Clean clogged gutters to eliminate runoff water
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    Seal up entry points, cracks and crevices. If carpenter ants can no longer get in and out your house, any indoor satellite colonies that are being fed by larger outside colonies will become isolated and may die off. Inspect the outside of your home for cracks, holes, and other small spaces that allow the passage of ants - pay special attention to the areas of exterior walls that are closest to the ground or foundation. Seal any holes you find with caulk or a strong putty.
    • Also check around the points where water and electrical lines enter your home, as these points are extra vulnerable to ant infestation.[7]
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    Eliminate wood materials near your home. Because carpenter ants like to make their nests in wood both inside and outside of buildings, finding and eliminating infested wood outside your wood can keep ants from making their way into your house. Carefully inspect any sources of wood near your home - if infested, move or carefully dispose of these wood sources. Places to look include:[8]
    • Stumps
    • Firewood piles
    • Old trees, especially if their branches touch your house.
    • Piles of yard waste
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    Consider installing an artificial barrier. If carpenter ants are a recurring problem, you may want to think about installing a small strip of gravel or stones around your home. This "barrier" zone is fairly inhospitable to carpenter ants and may discourage them from crawling into your house through holes near the foundation. Consult with a contractor to discuss the practicality and affordability of such a project at your house, or, if you're particularly handy, tackle this home improvement project yourself.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Carpenter Ants Pest Note

Carpenter Ants – What are they

pest control london ontarioCarpenter ants vary in length from 6 to 25 mm. Workers are generally 6 to 13 mm long. The reproductive forms are distinct in size, with males ranging from 9 to 10 mm while females are the largest, varying in length from 12 to 25 mm. The body is divided into three segments, with a very slim waist separating the thorax and abdomen. Their elbowed antennae are segmented. Male and female adults have wings at mating time, and the front wings, if present, are much longer than the hind ones. The red and black carpenter ant has a dark brownish black body, with a reddish brown thorax. The black carpenter ant is uniformly dark brownish black. The red carpenter ant and the black carpenter ant are two of the most common types found in Canada.
All ants undergo complete metamorphosis, so their nest may contain eggs, larvae and pupae as well as adults. Carpenter ants live in large colonies consisting of hundreds of workers, all sterile females, several reproductive males and females, and one or more queen. The male members exist in the colony only briefly, dying soon after mating, and the fertilized females fly on to new sites where they establish new colonies. During warm weather, eggs are laid and develop through all stages in about 66 days (under optimum conditions). The workers are responsible for caring for the young and foraging for food to feed the rest of the colony.
When part of an established colony wanders into a nearby structure, it sometimes establishes a smaller satellite colony there. Some experts actually consider this as the main mechanism for house invasions by carpenter ants.
Carpenter ants eat both plant and animal matter. Their natural food sources consist of insects and other small invertebrates, and sweet exudates from aphids and other insects. Protein and sweet foods found in and around homes also provide sustenance for foraging workers. Workers will consume food on the spot, and regurgitate it back at the nest to nourish developing larvae, non-foraging workers and the queen.

What can they do?

Carpenter ants construct nests by burrowing into wood. Outdoors, they are found in dead trunks of standing trees, stumps, or logs, or under fallen logs and stones. They can, on occasion, mine sound wood, but usually choose a soft wood, such as pine. Because of their preference for moist, decaying wood, their presence in a home can signal a moisture problem, or wooden structures suffering from decay. These ants excavate galleries much longer than those produced by termites.
The wood is not eaten but ejected from the nest as sawdust-like shavings. In addition to tunnelling in the trim of buildings, wooden steps and sills, colonies can nest in houses without attacking structural timbers, using hollow spaces such as wall voids, attic spaces, hollow doors, and can even be found behind books in libraries, behind drawers in dressers and cabinets, and in styrofoam insulation.

How can I manage them?

A thorough inspection of areas of high moisture, wood in contact with the soil, areas of improper ventilation, and exposed structural lumber is the first step. Carpenter ants get into houses in several ways: through windows, holes in foundations, heating ducts and air-conditioners, along power or telephone cables, points where tree branches or other vegetation come in contact with the house, or via wooden structures attached to houses, such as porches and sheds. Firewood brought into the house can also be a source of carpenter ants.

Signs of Infestation

  • Determine if there is actually an infestation of carpenter ants or if it is a case of individual ants wandering in the house. Look for a high concentration of ants in a particular area like under the kitchen sink.
  • Pay attention to foraging ants and the patterns of their movement. For example, there may be a trail communicating with a parent colony outside. Note: they are most active after sunset.
  • Notice if there are swarms of winged reproductive ants trying to escape to the outdoors, usually in the spring.
  • Look for piles of sawdust-like borings expelled from their galleries and slit-like openings in woodwork.
  • Listen for the sound of an active colony which will produce a dry rustling noise that can be heard best at night during high ant activity and quiet time in the house. The use of a wine glass or stethoscope can be helpful to listen to the walls.

Physical Control

Clear away any decaying or infested wood from around buildings and remove firewood from inside the premises and away from the sides of buildings. Do not bury stumps or other wood debris in proximity of the house. Pay attention to the state of landscaping elements such as decorative bark, retaining walls and driftwood. Humidity problems in the home should be investigated and corrected. Decaying or infested structural wood should be replaced with sound material. Removal of food sources will discourage ants from invading buildings. Keep food in sealed containers and regularly sweep up all crumbs and other food fragments. Good sanitation should also prevent re-infestation. READ MORE