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JDH23

Carpenter Ant Control

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JDH23

Hello all,

I recently planted a Sabal minor a few weeks back that had a small “trunk” on the backside of the plant. I noticed over the past week that pill bugs and ants were pretty prevalent in the trunk area, but didn’t think much of it. Fast forward to now, and there’s a noticeable chunk of the trunk that has been chewed off. There are ants everywhere around the plant now, and there’s sawdust-like powder in and around the trunk. This leads me to believe that I’ve got carpenter ants. I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure they really won’t damage any parts of plant that is currently alive and growing. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t want them gone.  What are some methods/products I can use to control or exterminate the carpenter ants? I’ve looked into a few products, but I’m curious to see if anyone has had success handling a situation similar to this. 

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JohnAndSancho

Pet aardvark :greenthumb:

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Las Palmas Norte

Ortho - Home Defense Max. Carpenter ants are as bad as termites. You want those gone ASAP.

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Little Tex

Are fire ants bad? I see them on my queen palm...

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ZPalms
On 5/11/2022 at 5:07 PM, Las Palmas Norte said:

Ortho - Home Defense Max. Carpenter ants are as bad as termites. You want those gone ASAP.

This is plant safe?

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Las Palmas Norte
3 hours ago, ZPalms said:

This is plant safe?

I wouldn't recommend it on foliage. Soil and hardscape around the affected area is fine, There's a residual effect so no direct contact with the insects is needed. I think there's other options if organic is your preference.

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Looking Glass
8 hours ago, ZPalms said:

This is plant safe?

It is bifenthrin, and you can spray it on plants without it damaging them. When in doubt test it on a spot.   I’ve sprayed it directly down the crown of various palms without issue.  You can buy the same ingredient in Telstar and you can dilute it and put it in any sprayer. 

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mnorell

Please get an I.D. on the insect(s) (if it is insects) causing your problems before you start spraying poisons, which are a danger to beneficial or neutral insects and animals in the vicinity. Often ants are secondary to other problems but get blamed and exterminated unnecessarily. You will likely cause problems up the food-chain once the affected insects are consumed by larger insects, birds, etc. and so insecticides should be your last resort. There are many types of "carpenter" or "bull" ants, and only a few species in the U.S. are a potential danger to wood structures. The bull ants found in central and south Florida, for example, only excavate soft, wet wood or old termite galleries and are not harmful. However, if you spray wantonly on a plant, you will do nothing to get rid of the ants. There is a colony with a queen, and you will have to locate that before you attempt any removal. There are plentiful resources available at university entomology departments/extensions and you can also consult a knowledgeable pest-control expert to get an I.D. and try to find out the root of your problem. But spraying pesticides recklessly (i.e., without a diagnosis in place) is not going to be the answer to your problem.

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Las Palmas Norte
11 hours ago, Looking Glass said:

It is bifenthrin, and you can spray it on plants without it damaging them. When in doubt test it on a spot.   I’ve sprayed it directly down the crown of various palms without issue.  You can buy the same ingredient in Telstar and you can dilute it and put it in any sprayer. 

I absolutely fried the foliage on an Ensete ventricosum last year. I thought it was nuked, but six weeks later it started to push new foliage.

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Looking Glass
1 hour ago, Las Palmas Norte said:

I absolutely fried the foliage on an Ensete ventricosum last year. I thought it was nuked, but six weeks later it started to push new foliage.

That sucks.  I’ve done similar with foliar iron made for plants, so I guess you never know depending on the species.  Sometimes other additives in the mix do the damage also.  

Biflenthrin is used as a lawn spray for entire lawns.  It isn’t absorbed by plants.  It’s used as monthly foundation spraying and spraying around doors and windows by exterminator companies down here.  

I’ve used it for palm crown attacks from some kind of boring larva.  I’ve also used it on a hedge, that gets pummeled ever year by beetles and some sort of white fly, without issue.  

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