All posts by exscalable

Delta Dust vs Drione Dust Review

Dusting is a popular method used by pest control professionals. It essentially involves the application of a toxic dust directly on a nest or into areas of potential infestation. The 2 most common insecticide dusts are Drione dust and Delta Dust. So what are the differences?

Drione Dust to Kill Carpenter Ants

Drione dust is a mechanical and chemical insecticide. The mechanical component is diatomaceous earth (DE) or a similar silica based powder. Under a microscope, you will see that the powder is essentially microscopic glass shards which will cut up and dry out insects that crawl over them. In addition to DE, Drione dust contains pyrethrins which are natural chemicals from chrysanthemum flowers. Pyrethrins have a nerotoxin effect on insects, causing paralysis leading to death. However it is widely considered the safest of all insecticides and the Environmental Protection Agency’s October 2011 Pyrethrins/Pyrethroid Cumulative Risk Assessment indicates that exposures from the many current uses of pyrethrins and pyrethroid insecticides do not pose risk concerns for children or adults.

Delta Dust to Kill Carpenter Ants

Delta dust is actually a brand name that has become synonymous with a type of insecticidal dust (like Kleenex is to tissue and Pampers to diapers!). Delta is short for deltamethrin which is a synthetic form of pyrethrin. Delta dust is also generally cheaper than drione dust!

Delta (Synthetic Deltamethrin) vs Natural Pyrethrin

There are several differences between synthetic deltamethrin over natural pyrethrin. Pyrethrin in Drione dust is biodegradable and will disintegrate quickly when exposed to sunlight, air and water. Synthetic Delta lasts longer and is effective for 6-8 months.

So which should you use? It depends.

If killing the carpenter ants or other insects is your top priority and you do not have to consider the safety of pets, a pregnant wife or infant then go for Delta dust.Or you can also consider Bayer Drion Dust which contain 1% Pyrethrin, 10% Piperonyl Butoxide (PBO) and 40% Amorphous Silica Gel (DE). PBO is is added to increase the effectiveness of pyrethrins against insects, however it has been linked to a delaying development in young children up to 36 months old; an effect similar to lead. I would personally advise against using a PBO based product if you have a pregnant person or young child.

If you are concerned about safety, then use a dust that contains pyrethrin as the only active chemical ingredient such as Evergreen 1% Pyrethrin Dust Insecticide.

Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Carpenter Ants and Other Bugs

If you are really concerned about child and pet safety, then use diatomaceous earth by itself which is a purely mechanical insecticide with zero chemicals.

Read about how to get rid of carpenter ants naturally or get Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth.




Don’t Forget a DUSTER!

Finally, whether you get Delta, Drione, Pyrethrin or Diatomaceous Earth, don’t forget to get a duster together with it. The B&G Bulb Dust-R Model M1150 Hand Duster can be used to apply Delta, Drione, Pyrethrin or Diatomaceous Earth.

Zero toxicity.
Low toxicity to humans.Chemical toxinChemical toxin
Active IngredientsDiatomaceous Earth aka DE is a type of amorphous silica gel.1% Pyrethrin, a natural insecticidal neurotoxin from chrysanthemum flowers.
15% Amorphous Silica Gel
1% Pyrethrin
10% Piperonyl Butoxide (PBO)
40% Amorphous Silica Gel
0.05% Deltamethrin, a synthetic pyrethrin which lasts longer than biodegradable drione dust.
RemarksNon-toxic. Natural, slower acting, mechanical killing action only.Moderate neurotoxin combined with some mechanical killing action.Highly effective neurotoxin combined with mechanical killing action.
Can pose health risk to unborn and young children under 36 months old.
Similar to Drione but is a synthetic insecticidal dust that has longer lasting effect (6-8 months).

Return to Homepage

Carpenter Ant Control Kit Review

Amazon ImageThe Carpenter Ant Control Kit reviewed consists of 2 products so as to be doubly effective to get rid of carpenter ants.

The products are:

1. Advance 375a Select Granular Ant Bait – 8 oz.

2. Maxforce Carpenter Ant Bait Gel-1 Tube

Have you used ant baits on carpenter ants in the past and found that  ants were not interested? It might be that you were using the right bait but at the wrong time. Carpenter ants have alternating appetites. They alternate between eating protein and sugar, but not both at the same time. This is the reason why some people are unsuccessful with the baits they use for carpenter ants. It is also why some carpenter ant bait seems to be ineffective and receive negative reviews. These periods of eating either protein or sugar can last up to several weeks. So if you put out a sugary bait when they are in the mood for protein, it will be virtually useless.

This kit combination is not simply a marketing gimmick to sell you more products. Whether your ants are in the mood for protein or sugar, this kit has you covered with both the protein based Advance Granular Ant Bait and the sugar based Maxforce Carpenter Ant Bait Gel. You might start to see some effects in 3-5 days, with initially more ants swarming to the bait and then a reduction in their number as the poison starts to take effect. Don’t fret if you still see ants running around after a week. Be patient, it will usually take 2 to 4 weeks for all the ants to be killed.

Both employ slow-acting ant poisons which are designed to be carried back to the ant nest in order to kill the whole colony. If you have a problem with carpenter ants and have not had success with your bait, it’s time to switch!

Finally, you can simply buy this kit and have it shipped quickly as one item or buy the 2 items separately, which could save a few bucks. Personally if I had a problem with carpenter ants, I would just get whatever shipped with Amazon Prime in order to deal with them asap.

Carpenter Ant Killer Bait Products

Gel & Granular Bait KitGranular BaitGel, 4 PackGel, 1 Pack
Best Value!

Termites or Carpenter Ants?

Carpenter Ants Identification

So how do you identify whether you have termites or carpenter ants? What do carpenter ants look like?

Carpenter Ants vs Termites

Carpenter ants and termites actually look quite different on close inspection. The identifiable physical differences include:

  1. Body color
  2. Antennae
  3. Waistline

Carpenter ants are dark colored. They could be black or red or some shade in between. They also have bent antennae and a narrow supermodel waist. The image below illustrates the key differences to look for.

Termites are light colored, white, beige or light brown. They have straight antennae and a broad waist that is the same width as the rest of their bodies. Definitely not supermodel material!

Carpenter Ants vs or Termites
Ants vs Termites – distinguishing features.

Now that you are armed with the suspect’s mug shots, it’s time to identify the serial wood killer!

In the battle of termites vs carpenter ants, termites are the far more destructive force. If you have a case of termite infestation, immediately contacting a pest control professional. You can also pay the exterminator to deal with carpenter ants and other pests. However if you want to D.I.Y. then start from the home page or check one of the posts on how to kill carpenter ants with ant bait, using Drione or Delta dust or get rid of carpenter ants naturally.

Do Carpenter Ants Bite

Like most animals, carpenter ants do not actively seek to bite humans. However they will bite in defense of the colony. When their nest is threatened, whether by other ants, a dog or human, they will bite. A carpenter ant bite can be inflict quite a bit of pain due to their large and powerful jaws which are designed to bite through wood. It’s like the bite-sized equivalent of being punched by a kung fu master whose fists have been hardened from a lifetime smashing planks and concrete blocks. Prevention as they say is better than cure. But let’s have a look at both how to avoid being bitten and how to treat a carpenter ant bite should you get bitten.

Carpenter Ant Bite Prevention

It’s pretty simple actually. Just avoid them as much as possible. The key to that is to make sure they do not nest or forage in areas where you live or work. To learn how to get rid of carpenter ants in the house, read the home page. If you prefer to get rid of the ants naturally, go to the post titled How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants Naturally which details the use of diatomaceous earth to kill insects.

Carpenter Ant Bite Treatment

The good news is that carpenter ant bites do not spread any diseases or viruses unlike mosquitoes which can carry malaria and dengue. Neither is their bite dangerously venomous to humans although some species in Southeast Asia do spray toxic gunk when they self destruct as a form of colony defense.
Pain from a carpenter ant bite is mostly due to the large, powerful wood crunching jaws combined with formic acid which is common in many ants and bees. The formic acid is what causes irritation after the initial physical pain of the bite. Formic acid is corrosive, not venomous and the small amount from each bite will cause localized pain and irritation but not paralysis or death which is from venom.  Treatment therefore consists of tending to the bite or bites to minimize pain and irritation. This can be achieved in a number of ways including:

  1. Washing the area with soap and water
  2. Applying ice or a cold compress
  3. Applying a topical cream for bites. I always have a tube of tea tree based cream which is good for bites, rashes and skin irritation in general. Aloe Vera gel can also soothe the bite.

#1 Best Seller
in Bite Creams
I use this personally.
Mainly for mosquito
and sand fly bites.

In very rare cases, a person might have an allergic reaction. A person who develops any symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, speech impairment, swollen eyes or itching that spreads to areas other than the bite should be see a doctor immediately.

Getting Rid of the Carpenter Ants at Home

If you have a problem with carpenter ants in the house, the only long term solution to get rid of them is to eliminate the queen and the colony. We highly recommend using the combination of sugar and protein based granular and gel bait in the Carpenter Ant Control Kit available on Amazon. The delayed action kill formula is effective as it allows the bait to be brought into contact with the whole ant colony where it can kill the queen and all the other carpenter ants.

TOP PICK: Carpenter Ant Control Kit

To get rid of carpenter ants, use this Carpenter Ant Control Kit.

Click to buy carpenter ant control kit to get rid of carpenter ants

Double action ant bait and killer to effectively get rid of carpenter ants.

The Real Facts About Carpenter Ants

This is not meant to be an exhaustive study of carpenter ants. It simply presents some interesting facts about carpenter ants. The thing I enjoy most about Snapple is not the drink, though I enjoy that too! I always look forward to reading the “real facts” printed on the underside of the cap. I’ll attempt to replicate that here and elaborate on some of the fun facts! Hope you enjoy reading some of the real facts about carpenter ants!

If you just want get down to getting rid of carpenter ants then start at the homepage of How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants.

Fact 1: There are over 1000 species of Carpenter Ants!

That’s right! There is not just 1 ant species called the carpenter ant. There are over a thousand species in the carpenter clan and they are found in many parts of the world. Carpenter ants rule!

Fact 2: Some carpenter ants are 1 inch long!

That’s pretty big and scary looking for an ant! Not all carpenter ants are giants though and they vary in size from 1/4 to 1 inch (0.6 cm to 2.5 cm).

Fact 3: Some species of Carpenter Ant can EXPLODE!

Several species of carpenter ants in Southeast Asia have mandibular glands that are many times larger than those of regular ants. These huge glands produce a sticky toxic glue. When threatened, the ant explodes, spraying the toxic glue on the nearby threats. They are the ant equivalent of suicide bombers!

Fact 4: Carpenter ants do not eat wood

It is sometimes mistaken that carpenter ants eat wood. They don’t. That would termites and the two should not be confused. While both cause damage to wood, termites are far more destructive as they ravenously eat their way through everything in their path. Carpenter ants have no such appetite. They eat protein and sugar like most ants. Their only interest in wood is to live in it. The damage they cause to wood is from their carpentry! We consider their handiwork destruction but to carpenter ants it is construction!

Fact 5: Carpenter ants are also farmers

Carpenter ants are not just into the construction industry, they are also famers! Besides foraging for food outdoors or scavenging from your house, they also keep “livestock” for “milk”. Carpenter ants love the sweet honeydew secreted by aphids. Aphids live on plants and the colony will go out to procure them. They then protect and tend them within the ant colony in dedicated chambers in order to “milk” them for honeydew. When an aphid is no longer productive, it becomes steak for the ants. How would you like your aphid Mr Carpenter? Rare please!

Fact 6: There can be only ONE!

There is only one queen ant per colony and she reigns supreme! Her royal highness is key to the colony’s survival as the queen is the only ant in the whole colony who can reproduce. Talk about having all your eggs in one basket! Whenever another queen is born, she will fly away to start a new colony somewhere far, far away…not with donkey. There is no politicking,  infighting, power struggle or coup unlike some other creatures!

Do you have any other interesting carpenter ant facts? Do share them in the comments.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants Naturally

If you prefer not to use toxic pesticides and other chemicals, this post will help you learn how to get rid of carpenter ants naturally.

There could be various reasons and situations where you might prefer to use non-toxic methods to kill carpenter ants. For example I have two dogs at home and prefer not to have toxic ant bait lying around the house in case the dogs eat it! Neither do I like spraying pesticide for the same reason that it risks exposing my pets to the toxic chemicals. My wife also does not like the smell of insecticide sprays and strongly objects to their use. Or you might have a toddler who might inadvertently come into contact with these toxins  and develop a reaction from touching or worse ingesting it.

In such cases, a good non-chemical, non-insecticidal, non-toxic bug killer is diatomaceous earth. Dia-what?? Diatomaceous earth or DE is a white talcum powder like substance that is actually the fossilized remains of marine plants known as diatoms.

Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe?

Amazon ImageDiatomaceous earth is non-toxic and harmless to humans and mammals like dogs, cats, cattle, etc. In fact it is used in things like toothpaste and cat litter. DE is also used as a health supplement for both humans and animals. It is eaten by people to detox their digestive tract and also fed to animals as a de-wormer. For people who take DE as a supplement, the dosage is from a spoonful to a quarter cup a day.  So yes, DE is very safe. The only thing I personally dislike about DE is that the powder makes the area it is applied to feel dusty.

How Does Diatomaceous Earth Work?

DE is also mixed into grains that are kept in storage to kill grain eating bugs and this is where it is relevant as a tool to get rid of carpenter ants. In fact DE can be used to kill any insects with an exoskeleton (a hard outer layer that protects the soft body inside) such as ants, cockroaches, ticks, fleas and bed bugs. DE works in two steps.

First the fine powder is actually microscopically hard and abrasive. It is essentially silica which is what glass is made from. So when an insect comes into contact with it, the powder get stuck on them and in their joints, cutting through the insect’s exoskeletons. It is also inhaled and generally gets into the insect’s orifices.

This brings us to effect two. Since DE is mostly silica, it is a very effective desiccant. This means it will absorb moisture and dry up its surroundings like silica that is commonly used for dehumidifying. The sum effect of using DE on an insect is that it coats the insect, cuts it open, cuts it up internally and dries out the poor creature. Also since DE’s effectiveness is completely physical and mechanical, insects do not develop an immunity to it unlike chemicals.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants Naturally Using Diatomaceous Earth

Applying DE only to areas where the worker ants gather food will kill them but will not get rid of the queen and colony. The powder must be applied directly and liberally in, on and around the ant nest so that it gets into the galleries and tunnels throughout the nest in order to permanently get rid of carpenter ants. Be careful around an ant nest as carpenter ants bite if threatened!

Having said that, it can be used effectively as non-toxic perimeter protection or sprinkled into areas which you want bugs to stay away from such as under mattresses on beds, between floorboards, lawns, etc.

Buying Diatomaceous Earth

DE is not something you can easily find anywhere. I ordered mine online. The main things to note are to NOT buy DE for swimming pools as that is a very coarse grade that will have NO effect on bugs. Just get something that is labeled as food grade or animal/pet grade. You also want to get a powder duster which is helpful to get the DE into holes and crevices as well as to spread it around more efficiently.

Hope this has been helpful! Leave a comment if you any questions or have had experience using DE and tell us the results.

Read more about DE here.

If you also want to use poisonous carpenter ant bait, you can try the Carpenter Ant Control Kit.

Click here to return to the homepage.