Potential for controlling carpenter ants in utility poles with borates

IRG/WP 07-10623

M Mankowski

Carpenter ants (genus Camponotus) are important scavengers and predators in the ecosystems in which they occur. Because they excavate and tunnel into wood, carpenter ants are considered structural pests in many parts of North America where they overlap with human activity. The excavation of extensive galleries in wood by carpenter ants can seriously compromise the physical properties of wood in service. Wood utility poles are extensively used in North America and are often employed in areas where carpenter ants occur. In western North America several species of carpenter ant my cause damage to utility poles including Camponotus modoc Wheeler and Camponotus vicinus Mayr. A recent survey of two western Canadian utilities showed that although ant incidence can be low, the cost of pole replacement caused by ant damage is expensive if the ants are not controlled. Although many utilities currently use highly toxic chemicals to control ants, others are switching to less toxic borates as either sprays or rods to control carpenter ants. This paper discusses carpenter ant biology and behavior, a survey of two Canadian utilities and the effects of ants on utility poles, and control methods used including borate spray and rod treatments.

Keywords: carpenter ants, Camponotus, utility poles, borate, fused rods

Conference: 07-05-20/24 Jackson, USA

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