Why Over-the-Counter Pesticides Don’t Work on Carpenter Ants

When first-time customers call to inquire about our carpenter ant extermination services in NY & VT, they almost always say the same thing about over-the-counter insecticides, “They must’ve changed the formulation. I sprayed 2 years ago and they went away. I sprayed last year and they went away. But this year they aren’t going away.”

What is actually happening is that a swarmer ant with wings, sometimes referred to as a “new queen” or a “secondary reproductive ant” is forming a satellite colony. The first year, only a few ants are present in the satellite nest, which is why homeowners spray and are fooled that they solved the problem. The second year the colony is larger, but not fully mature, so once again the spraying seems to work. By the third year, you’re potentially dealing with a fully mature colony of 3,000-5,000 ants, and the OTC sprays are ineffective against these numbers.

Over-the-Counter Carpenter Ant Sprays Exacerbate the Problem

When you use over-the-counter carpenter ant sprays you can actually make the problem worse. That’s because the colony will often split and move to multiple locations within a home when they feel threatened.

The key to destroying a carpenter ant colony is to lure out the worker ants with bait, which they take back to the nest and poison the colony and the queen. When you spray the line of ants with insecticide, the ants at the nest aren’t affected, and it could alert them to move to a different spot in your home.

Carpenter Ants can Enter Your Home in a Number of Ways

Just when you think you’ve got your carpenter ant problem under control, they strike again. You cannot let your guard down or they will win. They can enter your home by simply crawling or flying in, but they can also be brought in by firewood or gain access during new construction.

Carpenter ants can move an entire main colony from a nest in a tree outside to the inside of a structure within a few hours. While they generally go dormant in the winter, their bodies produce a natural antifreeze that enables them to remain active in cold temperatures, especially once inside a heated home.

Carpenter Ant Nests are Very Difficult to Find & Access

Finding and killing the colony can be extremely challenging, particularly since carpenter ants nest in hollow doors and cabinets – or worse, walls and beams – which aren’t easily visible or accessible. The colony is usually behind building materials, such as sheetrock and insulation, then burrowed inside the wood timbers of a home. Carpenter ant swarmers can also fly in, completely bypassing prevention barriers, and start a new colony in your attic space.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Since it’s difficult to determine the severity of the carpenter ant infestation – as well as the damage that is being done – it’s always best to consult a professional carpenter ant exterminator. Unfortunately, many pest control companies are unaware of the complexities of carpenter ants. In fact, multiple homeowners have called us to take over for the competition after 2-3 years.

At Nature’s Way, we are so confident that our carpenter ant treatment and prevention program works that we back it with a Lifetime Warranty – practically unheard of him the pest control industry. We also use natural, essential oil-based products that cause no adverse effects for people or pets.

If you need a carpenter ant exterminator in Albany, Saratoga, Glens Falls, or as far north as Plattsburgh NY, give us a call at (518) 745-5958, or complete an online request for a free inspection. You can also contact our carpenter ant exterminators in Rutland, Burlington, and throughout Western Vermont by calling (802) 855-2978.

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