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Q

I have a problem with what I think are black ants. I used to use Fluorguard Ant Bait Stations, which worked very well. Unfortunately, they have been pulled from the market and are no longer available. Can you recommend another good treatment product? Currently, I'm considering Maxforce Carpenter Ant Gel (which supposedly works on black ants), and Gourmet Ant Bait Gel.

Answer(s)

A

Carpenter ants do not eat wood but will tunnel into wood structures to establish new colonies

or expand existing ones. They can tunnel into sound lumber but prefer wood that has been

softened by water and rot organisms. Consequently, in buildings they often establish

themselves initially in window sills, door casings, thresholds, and other areas frequently

subjected to moisture. Sawdust and other debris are cleared from the tunnels and dumped in

piles outside the colony.

  As for control if you properly identified and know of a colony in your home, the best control is a bait with insecticide that the worker ants will take back to their colony. If you need identification of the ant, you can bring samples to the Salt Lake County Extension office (the address is below), and if we cannot confirm the identification, for a small fee, we can send it up to the Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Laboratory.  The following fact sheet provides more detailed information on identification and habits of carpenter ants.

Carpenter Ants and Control in Homes

http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/31.pdf

 

For identification here is a photo and description. Key distinguishing characters of these ants include a pinched waist, elbowed antennae (these characters easily distinguish ants from termites), a single bump or node between the abdomen and thorax, and an evenly rounded thorax when viewed from the side with a hand lens.

Posted on 29 Aug 2007

Maggie Shao
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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