« Nick's Notes

Nick’s Tip: Leave My Wood Alone!

by Nick Vitrano

Carpenters - they're a fantastic breed, skilled craftsmen in the art of cutting, shaping, and installing natures (arguably) greatest building offering. Its a trade at which I do not excel, though I did make a pretty bad a*s xylophone, a functioning trough lamp, and a giant clothespin in 8 th grade woodworking class. Check out the lamp - seriously, I made that!

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Anyway, the few carpenters I know are equally as cool as they are skilled. I'm sure, like any discipline, some jerk carpenters exist, but I've never met 'em. Heck, Jesus was a carpenter and he's the personification of forgiveness and kindness and cool. But I have a feeling that even Jesus hated the ironic nemesis of the woodworker - genus Camponotus - the carpenter ant !

As the temps rise, the carpenter ant comes alive. If you live in a wooded area, you may have already noticed a few of the fat-bodied fellas crawling around your property. They are tough to eradicate, but they can be controlled. Pest services are great and fairly inexpensive, for the most part. Home remedies such as sprays and granules also work well, though you need to stay on top of it and they tend to treat the symptom more than they prove effective at eliminating the problem. Plus, there are the chemicals there that can make folks with kids and pets a little nervous.

So, today's tip a very effective and safer bait for carpenter ants and a lot of other hard shelled critters.

First of all, you're going to want something sweet to attract them and get them all fired up. Grape jelly is great, but so is syrup, honey, or just plain old sugar. Peanut butter also works. As for the eradicating agent...just some plain old borax. Borax rips apart the digestive tracts of the insect and also damages its exoskeleton, dehydrating it to death. Mix equal parts borax and your sweetener and smear it on a plate or, if you're worried about pets and kids, slather it in a jar and poke holes large enough for the ants in the top. They'll grab it and carry it back to the nest for all to consume...ideally the queen, as well.