Sunday, July 08, 2007

Carpenter Ants

Tree from the swing.JPG

This is the view from our new swing. We used to have a toddler swing hanging from this branch, but since Punkin is just about outgrown it and Buddy can't fit it at all we replaced it with a big kid swing. The great thing is all four of us can use that swing. It is so relaxing to sit back and gaze up at the tree while you stretch out and sail over the garden.

The thing about this tree is that it is full of ants. I couldn't take a good picture of the ants so I am showing you the tree they are chewing from the inside out. This is also the tree that dropped a huge limb almost on top of Buddy last summer while he was riding his tricycle. I blame the ants.

Our front lawn is also full of ants. The hedge has its roots in the ant hills. I can see birds out in the grass every day squabbling over the feast of ants. You can't walk across that lawn without getting ants crawling up your legs. The grass is dying around the highest traffic areas. I believe they are carpenter ants. I have had pest control people tell me that carpenter ants are endemic in this part of the country. You can't ever get rid of all of them. The hive is huge, covering blocks underground. The workers travel up and down the street, searching for food for their queen. Even if you spray poison on the ones in your yard, the hives is chock full of more eager workers right next door.

If they start chewing on your house you are doomed. The first question the pest control people always ask is, "Have you seen any ants in your house?" Up until this summer the answer was no. This week I saw one in the dining room, crawling up the wall. I think that is really bad news.

I don't want to have the pest control people come and spray my house and yard with poison every month. Not only because I have young children eating off the floor at times, but because I don't want my land to be a sterile wasteland. I want to be organic as much as possible. I am a granola cruncher, after all. I have been looking for a healthier alternative. Last week Stephanie suggested this web site. I read that boric acid is good because the ants take it home and feed it to the queen and the whole hive dies. I am going to try mixing it with a sugar solution to make it attractive to the ants. Has anyone done this? What do you do for carpenter ants? I don't want to just keep them out of the house at this point. I'd like to get them out of my yard too!

What is going on in your garden this week? Leave a link in the Mr. Linky below and then tour the other gardens linked here. Has it been a good week?


Dawn said...

We had carpenter ants something awful in the old house and no desire to spray. They came from an old cottonwood tree (and then the stump when we cut it down) and we should have drilled the stump out but never wanted to spend the money. (It was a really big stump and fun for Noah to use as a stage.) Anyway, we tried the boric acid and that didn't work. And we sprayed vinegar over their trails and that didn't work. What did work was a last ditch effort of using a sonic guard thingie in the kitchen. They're those plug-in things that emit a high sound only ants can hear. My sister gave it to us as a what the heck why not try and it totally worked. We had absolutely NO ANTS for the last two years we lived there. I didn't expect it to work because I had friends try the ones for mice and those didn't help but the ant one worked. It's made by Sunshine, I think. It's worth a try -- they're pretty cheap.

Anonymous said...

I used boric acid once for roaches when I lived in NYC. It worked for them but I don't know about carpenter ants. Good luck, let us know what works! (That's a very pretty tree by the way).

Mother of Invention said...

We have ants too and just put powder all over and I really hope my cats don't eat it or walk on it. Yikes! Now, I'm paranoid.

Saints and Spinners said...

I'm sorry you're having to deal with ant problems. I hope that boric acid works.

On a brighter note, if you're looking for something to submit to the Carnival of Children's literature (hem hem), that father/son book post would be good.:)

Stephanie Appleton said...

Thanks for linking me again. Sorry I didn't remember myself (again!) I'll try to remember this Sunday! :)