big black ants

topic posted Wed, April 5, 2006 - 2:51 PM by  Åmªzºn¡Kª

Now that spring is here, my "summer problem" is slowly making a comeback.

Big black ants are beginning to crawl around my house.

Unlike small ants that travel in large numbers on easily-identifiable paths, these black ants are loners. They just wander aimlessly, so I can't figure out where they are coming from -- making it difficult to kill them at the source. (And yes, I don't mind killing them.)

They also bite! I got bitten on the neck by one while sleeping!

So any ideas about how to get rid of them would be appreciated.
Maybe catching them early in the season will help.

  • My problem is mild compared to yours, as "my" ants are merely hungry and harmless.

    The Bugman (Dr. Richard Fagerlund) suggests Advance Carpenter Ant Bait and not to call in exterminators, as they're usually ignorant and useless. As the bait is not sold retail, you'll have to call or email him for the name of the nearest supplier. His email address and telephone number are on his home page (you'll have to scroll down to find it):
  • ::stunned face:: I HATE ants. With a passion that rivals Napoleons love for Josephine. Sincerely.

    And if one of those fuckers bit me there would be war.

    Damn, I wish I had a solution for these. I know how to cope with sugar ants and even fire ants, but carpenters? No idea.
  • Unsu...
    Boric acid ant traps will kill them and the stuff will not hurt you or yout pets. You can eat it.

    On the other hand if you really want to do 'em in take a drive on up to Canada and buy some Chloradane. They still sell it there unlike us loonies here in the states who think it's evil. The stuff is instant death for ants. Put some on a small ( fist size) cloth bag and swing it gently with a string making little whiteish dust spots on the timbers and places where they crawl.
    • Carpenter ants like your house because somewhere in or near it, there is wet wood.
      Traps and crap may help with the symptoms of the problem, but you need to address the cause. Is your roof leaking into your attic, even a tiny bit? Did someone use wood mulch on plants outside? Is rainwater splashing against aging wooden clapboards somewhere?
      Look for the cause/source, eliminate it, and you will actually be rid of the ants. It's often easier than you might expect.

      • haha...Fixit Fox:

        I am *surrounded* by wet wood!
        I live in a house in the mountains surrounded by temperate rainforest.

        In a way, it is I who invaded their home, and not the other way around. :)

        • I may just be stuck with this problem. I will try to check the house to see if there is a nest in it somewhere, but based on the info you guys have posted, they're probably just coming from outside.

          Country living involves putting up with a lot of bugs -- these are only one of many!
          I will just have to learn to accept them.
          • Ohhhh... bummer.

            They're tricky- when we first bought our house, we bashed open the kitchen wall to remove plaster/lathe and replace with insulation/drywall, the first hole we made exploded with hundreds of giant black ants. It was deeply alarming and disturbing. There was no visible indication that the nest was there, from either side, except that it was near the point where water from the main roof hit the porch roof and splashed against the kitchen wall. Yuck. We sprayed the wall with raid, but until we addressed water issues in a few places, there were loners all over the house. It was keeping water from hitting wood- once things dried out for good, the ants lost interest and moved on.
            Too bad yours bite- ours never did.
  • I am really surprised that no one has mentioned this before so I guess I will.

    First, DO NOT import chlordane. That will get you in a lot of trouble and it is very harmful. Do a net search on it. Don't be stupid.

    Second, cinnamon. Ant's hate it. Just spread it where they walk. It won;t hurt to leave it there as long as you want to.

    Third, grits. Yep, everyday grits. Instant is fine. Just put some down, let them carry it away and they will die when they eat them and the grits expand in their stomach as they absorb water. Clean, natural and safe.

    Fourth, wipe up where they walk with vinegar because ants leave scent trails loaded with chemical messages about what they were doing, why, when and other info. Vinegar helps break it down and wipes it away, and is also a good anti-fungal/antibacterial.

    Most important, try to be as clean as possible in your house, keep all food in closed containers and take out the trash. Ants don't go where there is no food. It's not worth the risk to waste the energy of the hive om something that yields no return.
    • Well said, James. : )

      I have also found that lavender repels ants. When I found a two-lane trail of ants going between the back door and the dog food bag, I put some lavender oil in a spray bottle with water, wiped it all down, and they didn't come back in the week it took me to get around to moving the dog food to a better place.

      The trouble with carpenter ants, though, is they don't follow many of the rules we've learned about the other varieties.
      They don't care about what's in your kitchen- if there's wet wood, they're here to stay.
      • Thanks. I try to be at least semi-coherent when I am going through these bouts of insomnia. :-)

        I agree that wood ants are a little less predictable because they are not just seeking food, they are seeking shelter as well.

        By the way, if you have wood ants you are at least very unlikely to have termites, which do a lot more harm. Wet wood will usually end up with one or the other though.

        Speaking of ants looking for habitat, beware of what are called grease ants or pissants in many areas. They are small microfine ants that are almost too small to see a single one with the naked eye.

        I have found that they like to build nests in jars of peanut butter if you do not close the lid tightly enough, which my recent girlfriend was prone to doing.
        • Unsu...
          We had black ants when we first bought our present house. The pest company said to cut back any trees that touched or grew over the roof. We had the trees trimmed & the ants disappeared.
    • I have a passionate distaste for ants. I am pretty much a pacifist and will only kill three types of animals:
      *ticks (I have had Lyme and do not want it again!)
      *mosquitos (The Dalai Lama is on record as saying he would kill a mosquito, so I think I'm OK here)

      Did I mention I DETEST ants??
      Did I also mention I don't like pesticides and other nasty chemicals?

      I developed a carpenter ant problem big-time three summers ago. I sprayed Raid. I put out traps. I put out the Roach Motel stuff for ants. I would have sprayed "Cancer in a Can" if I thought it would kill 'em. They kept coming, for several months. I shudder thinking about it.

      Last summer, I got two great pieces of advice from other area "hippie types," and lo and behold it kept them under control!

      1. Reiterating what James said: Keep it clean! The rest of the year, my kitchen upkeep can best be described as "frat boy style," but as soon as I see those litlte f*&%ers come in each year, I scrub it down like a possessed Merry Maid with OCD. I promptly wash dishes, put away food I'm not eating right away, roll up that bag of chips and clamp it with the bag clamp. Do not leave a SPECK out. I swear. One little piece and they're THERE.

      2. Clove oil! I hate the smell but luckily, it eats away at ants exoskeletons so they avoid it like the plague!! I rubbed it all along the doorway from the kitchen to the living room and found that they never crossed the threshold. I tried as best I could to narrow down the source (another big plus I want to echo from a previous poster) and I oiled over there too. It makes you kitchen smell like, well, cloves, which I don't dig, but I hate ants more. You may like the smell as many people seem to do.

      I have not yet tried the cinnamon and vinegar remedies and will give that a shot.

      One other thing that worked was sugar traps - I put sugar in water and put it in little ramekins or glasses with steep slick sides and ramps going up to them. Once the ants fell in, they couldn't get out, and they died in droves.

      The grits - uncooked, right?

      • I've read a lot of remedies to get rid of ants but I need to know what is safe to use around my pet parrot. I woke early this week to find big fat black ants in the bird's and bottom trays. Really not in his food dish. This morning was the same thing. I'm not talking a few....I mean 70-80 and maybe more. I don't even have them in the kitchen where the food is.....just in the bird cage. I've had many birds before and NEVER an ant problem. HELP! I live in the western part of Ohio if that would make a difference. Thanks

  • Unsu...
    if you have that mulch stuff close your home get rid of it. get some lava rock instead.
    ditching that much stuff, trimming the trees got rid of a lot of ants at my parents house. you also might want to move any flower beds that are close the house.

    look around the home for ant hills too. they could be baby queens out looking for a new home. we poured boiling water down the holes everyday for a week.
    • ........oh yeah...welcome to my world!

      Big, monster ants...that crawl up my pant legs if my pants are touching the floor...and take large chomps outta me. F*&^ers...
      AND now...they have wings!

      Another way to deal with them without risking poisoning yourself in the process, is peppermint in the essential oil. Also, if you have any mints plants..put them in your house around the areas that you see them the most. This helps but it doesn't get rid of them completely. They LOVE sweet...sugar, juice...keep that out of their reach and wipe up anything that you spill.
      • -
        offline 12
        > Third, grits. Yep, everyday grits. Instant is fine. Just put some down, let them carry it
        > away and they will die when they eat them and the grits expand in their stomach as
        > they absorb water.

        LOL.... That's a nice variant of the "exploding pigeons" urban legend:

        A more direct comment here:
        GRITS: Grits, oatmeal, cream of wheat, corn starch... none of them make ants explode. I don't care if I don't get the points for this answer but enough is enough. The rumor of grits was started by some big, fat, redneck hillbilly who was too cheap, drunk or stoned to hire a professional or even go to Wal-Mart to try to do it himself. The truth: Ants will take grits back to their nest, untouched. They'll then use their saliva to mix with the grits and turn the whole mess into mush... they don't eat it yet. Then they turn the mush (which is going to expand as much as it can) to their larvae. The larvae will slurp-down the mush, digest it, and regurgitate a sweet syrup back to the adult ants as their reward for a fine meal. There isn't a step in the process where this could possibly kill an ant. The ants disappear for a while becuase they have to figure out where to put all the free food they just got. Then the queen goes hog-wild making babies and reproductives (more kings and queens) and your problem just gets worse. Don't fall for this urban legend... grits don't work.

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