Ants are those small insects that can’t be easily seen as they go about their little business on the ground. Due to their tiny nature, the average person may find it difficult to peer closely at ants.
Anyone who takes any time to look closely at ants will realize that all ants are not the same. There are noticeable differences in ants; you will be surprised to find that there are winged ants. Ants differ in shape, size, and color depending on species.
Ants, like other tiny insects, live in colonies and their dwelling places are usually hidden from plain sight. Usually, they make their home under the ground, forming colonies that often take many years.
To survive, ants require food and water therefore, they make their homes in areas that are not easily accessible. Oftentimes, there is a column of ants marching with careless abandon through your garden, if you do nothing to disturb their file, they will march right on without troubling you.
Ants tend to multiply quickly and therein lies the problem. When they grow this quickly, a full colony will likely form below your garden if they go unchecked.
The carpenter ant is one of the most common ants found in the west. This particular ant may have crossed your path severally but you haven’t taken notice of it until now.
What is a Carpenter Ant?
The carpenter ant can create a nest speedily and this is where it gets its name from. These ants work very quickly and can dig into wood quickly and build smooth tunnels inside the wood.
While termites chew through wood, carpenter ants do not eat the wood itself; what these ants do is create tunnels underneath the wood through which they can navigate from one point to another. Do not underrate them based on their size, these ants can cause great damage to your garden.
When carpenter ants are attracted to your tree, they will quickly begin to create huge tunnels all over the bark. When this begins, you will end up losing the whole tree to these ants. After they’ve gotten into it, the leaves will begin to wither slowly until the tree itself dries up completely. All of these take place in a very short time.
An average carpenter ant colony has about 20,000 workers but a larger colony can contain up to 50,000 workers.
It is not going to be easy getting rid of ant infestation. We recommend that you take appropriate steps to get the situation under control anytime you have an infestation.
How to know that you have an ant infestation
Before you begin to fight ant infestation, you have to be sure that you have an infestation going on in your garden. This is why you have to learn the signs of infestation. A line of ants marching through your garden may not mean anything.
But some signs show a serious infestation is ongoing like when you notice a bunch of ants walking about the base of your tree, that’s a sign that you have an infestation to fight. Usually, they swarm at the base of the tree, slinking in and out of the soil around the base.
When you spot an ant nest close to the base of your tree, it is a clear sign that an infestation is ongoing. It is important to note that these nests aren’t going to be so obvious; carpenter ants often create their nest within the wood so what you should look out for is the opening of the nest.
When you are simply suspecting an infestation, the best thing to do will be to contact a pest removal company. The company will send an expert who will check the tree carefully to determine if there is an infestation and also the extent of the infestation.
Getting a professional to examine your tree or garden is possibly the best option for you. This way, you will be sure of what you are dealing with. When you notice the health of your tree waning, it is most likely a result of infestation.
The First Stages of Carpenter Ant Infestation
One may ask how it all begins, how a carpenter ant infestation suddenly pops up. A variety of factors affect the answer to the questions above.
There is a common pattern to all types of carpenter ants; these ants only build their nests in decaying or damp wood. You expose your trees to the risk of ant infestation if you ignore it or pay scant attention to it.
What are the best ways of getting rid of these ants?
The process of getting rid of a carpenter ant infestation is not a walk in the park. You will find some simple home remedies below designed to help you get rid of carpenter ant infestation. When you try them and the infestation persists, the best move will be to hire a pest removal company for the job.
Below are the simplest solutions you can begin with.
1. Peppermint Oil
To fight an infestation with peppermint oil, mix about 30 drops of peppermint oil in a gallon of water. When you have mixed the solution as well as you can, you can then spray it all over the infected tree.
Since the infestation usually occurs at the base of the tree, you should channel the bulk of the solution towards that spot.
Ants dislike peppermint oil and will disperse very quickly but a one-time spray isn’t going to do the job.
To make this remedy effective, you should make sure to apply the solution regularly.
Always find their nest, it is important to know where the ants have built their nests when you are fighting a carpenter ant infestation. You will find a wingless ant queen and thousands of winged workers within a nest.
When you find the nest, spray insecticide directly into the nest, there is a high possibility that you will get a positive result and destroy all the ants within the nest.
Oftentimes, it is not easy to locate the opening of the nest. You may have to do a little digging to find the nest.
Here’s how you go about it; take a regular earth scraper and begin to poke around at the base of the tree. When you notice a particular spot from which lots of ants are falling, that is most likely the nest. Spray directly on that spot.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of being very thorough. The insecticide you should use has to be the heavy-grade variety and you should be sure to cover as much ground as possible. When you begin to spray, the ants will attempt to escape around the edges and under the ground, be sure to cover as much of the area as you can.
Ant bait is a great option when you notice a column of ants marching through your garden.
The primary nest is often within the tree but satellite colonies develop very fast. Since it may not be easy to locate all of these nests easily, using ant bait is a good way of tracing them. Sugar or protein-rich food is excellent ant baits you could use.
When the ants find these bits you’ve put out, they will want to carry them back to their queen or their larvae. When this happens, you will be able to trace where they are headed. Mealworms and sweets can also serve as excellent ant baits because ats love them.
To kill them, you could use baits prepared with boric acid. Boric acid is a powerful chemical that can kill ants quickly.
Be sure to keep these baits out of the reach of kids and pets because boric acid is potent enough to cause some damage to children and pets. Pay attention to the instructions on the bait too, it increases the chances of success.
When you use commercially available ant baits as instructed, they can be super effective and help you get rid of ant infestation speedily.
4. Call a Pest removal Company
Another option open to you is calling a pest removal company. They can come to your home and help you get rid of pest infestation. This option brings in professionals who have the requisite knowledge to fight all kinds of infestation speedily and successfully.
They use commercial-grade insecticides and not locally available insecticides. They can also mix commercial-grade insecticides on their own.
For Pest Removal Companies, the first step is always an examination of the garden in a bid to discover the primary nest and other satellite colonies, if they exist.
This first step is necessary because, with the information they gather, they can create a plan of attack to ensure that the whole colony is destroyed completely with nothing left to rebuild on.
After this, they carefully mix the insecticides to get a potent mixture. They mix the solution so well that the chemicals do affect the plants in the garden even as the ants are annihilated.
Anyone who doesn’t have much of an idea about the best ways to go about fighting ant infestation in their garden is advised to invite professionals who would help to get rid of the ants.