About a month ago I noticed a line of ants marching into my home through a basement window area. We managed to locate a nest outside and took care of it, but there were ants crawling around my house by then- usually at night, but they would come out during the day sometimes too. Anyway, we sprayed inside and out, and saw many dead ants in our home a few days later. However, I still see several ants each day. Does that mean they are still nesting in our home, or are they a remnant, or are they coming in from outside? Yuck, how do I get rid of the rest of them?
If you read through our CARPENTER ANT CONTROL ARTICLE, you'll learn this species of ant will make many nests which are all "linked" via a complex web of scent trails. Finding one nest and destroying it will never solve the problem; the related nests which are very much a part of colony will simply use the pre existing scent trails to continue foraging. In most cases you'll continue seeing ants as if you never killed any nest once they start using the old scent trails and repopulate the area.
To get control and kill off all the nests, you'll need to use some of the professional grade products we have listed in our article. In situations like this, a combination of spray for the outside, spray for the inside and bait for the inside will usually do the job. Lets start on the inside.
Anywhere you've seen activity inside the home you place some CARPENTER ANT GEL out. In most cases this product will be readily consumed and shared by the other ants still alive. In a few days the gel will make it's way into different nests and when it kicks into gear (which only happens after it's been consumed and digested), the net impact of them feeding on it can be devastating since it will be too late for them to realize what has happened and change anything they're doing.
To insure you get all the ants foraging inside the home, you should also spray all the cracks and crevices where you don't apply the gel with some PHANTOM AEROSOL. This odorless and slow action residual will work much the same way as the gel. It's impossible for them to detect and by the time it starts to work, the ants will have infected their nests and it will be too late. This is a key part of the process as it will insure any ants still living that are away from the gel infected nests will be controlled as they forage around looking to establish new nests.
Lastly, spraying the outside with some TERMIDOR will do the same thing as the Phantom on the inside. Be sure to treat the perimeter of the home so that any ants trying to get in will no doubt be affected. And as you'll learn in our article, since this ant will forage several hundred feet, it will commonly come from other property so the outside treatment will be paramount if you wish to stop these long reaching invaders.
In summary, it's important to understand carpenter ants don't rely on just one nest when they build a colony. Instead they make several nests, maybe 4-8, and these all work hand in hand to both support and nourish one another. This is exactly the reason why a direct treatment approach will many times fail; the surviving nests will just re establish themselves and the problem will persist. But treating the inside and the outside thoroughly with slow working products that take 4-7 days to fully work has proven most effective on this species of ant. This "blanket" approach insures you get product into all the satellite nests at the same time so that when the active ingredients kick in and begin to their job, it's too late for the carpenter ants to do anything about it. When done properly, the net result will be all the nests shutting down and the problem will be gone.
Here are direct links to the information and products listed above:
Carpenter Ant Article: http://www.carpenterants.com/carpenter-ant-control
Carpenter Ant Gel: http://www.bugspray.com/catalog/products/page560.html
Phantom Aerosol: http://www.bugspray.com/item/phantom_aerosol.html