This information was compiled in July, 1997 while trying to rid my home of carpenter ants. I wrote it as a memo to my neighbors because the ants on my property seemed to be leading to their property as well. In the last two years, the names and prices of the pesticide people may have changed. But the general information about the insects and the chemicals used to treat them has not changed. In the end, both neighbors agreed to have their property treated.  We saw no ants in 1998. It is too early to tell if there is an infestation this year.

-bk June 1999

Carpenter Ant Treatments

Carpenter ants are very common in Oregon. Normally, they help break down dead trees in the forest. But sometimes, they like to help break down our homes. They start their nests in soft, decomposing wood, but will expand their nests into solid wood quite easily. They can be very destructive to the structure of a house.

Pest control companies will spray pesticides into your walls and onto your grounds, returning every year (or more often than that) to repeat the practice. The bugs will die. But evidence now exists that the most of the pesticides they use are harmful to us as well.

My older brother Tom is one of those people who is very sensitive to chemicals. Alerted by his experiences, I have done some research into how to deal with this problem in an safe, yet effective manner.

I’ll start by listing the pest control companies I’ve talked to. I’ll then describe the chemicals they use and share with you some of my research.

Pest Control companies:

Good Earth Pest Control



Steven Benedict

Recommended treatment: Tempo (a pyrethroid) sprayed inside the walls and around the house, but will use boric acid in walls (Borid) on request.

cost: $275

Offered $60 discount for each neighbor that gets treated on the same day for a grand total of $215 each.

Nature First Pest Control


Randy Witten

Web site address


Recommended treatment: boric acid (Borid) and diatomaceous earth in the walls. Would spray a pyrethroid in the attic to keep the carpenter ants from escaping up there. Wants to spray

Knox-Out (a diazinon) around the house and perimeter of property. Also would spray Elizabeth's garage with Knox-Out.

cost: $400

seasonal perimeter sprays $69

Alpha Ecological




Recommended treatment: Dragnet (a pyrethroid) spray inside and outside the house.


$295 for 1 year guarantee + 1 follow up perimeter sprays

$345 for 3 year guarantee + 3 follow up perimeter sprays

$395 for 5 year guarantee + 5 follow up perimeter sprays

Ladybug Exterminators

800 900-0855


Recommended treatment: Dursban 50 (a chlorpyrifos). He will apply Tim-Bor for an additional $100

cost: $200

with Tim-Bor $300

Offered a discount to us if a neighbor joins in

Research comes from the following sources:

        Web site address

        (541) 344-5044

           (206) 632-1545

All of the sources I've used are non-profit groups (except for the book) whose main concern is protecting people from environmental hazards. As far as I can tell, they have no hidden agenda. For their part, all of the pest control companies insist all of their chemicals are safe and say that they wouldn't be using them if they weren't. I’ve listed the options starting with the most safe and ending with the least safe.

Now we get into the area considered by most of my sources as unsafe.


Our Conclusion:

We have chosen to use Good Earth Pest Control (listed first) and ask them to spray Borid boric acid dust into our walls. I’m trimming back bushes and looking for leaks. There are a couple of stumps under my deck I’m going to try to get rid of too. If another neighbor goes in with us on this, the price for each of us will drop to $215 (if the houses are sprayed on the same day).

Any takers?

In addition:

I've got materials available if you want more information. There are a couple, short, easy-to-read pamphlets, company brochures, and Material Safety Data Sheets required by the EPA. In addition Common-Sense Pest Control is a huge book with lots of info on how to take care of lots of bugs. You can borrow that anytime. In fact I'll keep all this stuff on file forever because I've got lots of friends and family who will, because they live in the Northwest will someday get carpenter ants themselves.

Thanks for wading through all this. I hope it’s helpful.

Bob Kerns

30 July 1997



You can e-mail bobco at:

2000 bobco