Building a Thunder Snorker

So let’s just say you have a carpenter ant infestation…

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter Ant

We bought our home in Dallas 2 years ago this month.  We’ve been battling a problem with carpenter ants in the dining room ceiling since then.  A few days ago I noticed one of these pests on one of the large dining room windows (then entire north wall is glass).  When I looked up… DAMN! – the windows were covered with these 1/2″-long winged ants.  We had a swarm taking place and literally hundreds of them were covering the north wall, the ceiling and inside our Roman shades.  Disgusting!  Quick fast like a bunny I called our Critter Gitter (on speed dial of course).  He couldn’t get out until maybe the next day and suggested a vacuum cleaner to dispense with the pests.

No problem.

I have a fairly new and robust shop vac that gets a lot of use in my workshop.  However… We have a 15 foot cathedral ceiling in the dining room which required a 12 foot stepladder to install the chandelier.  There’s no way the shop vac is going to get the pests off the highest corners, which is exactly where most of these pests have chosen to congregate.

Shop Vac Pre-Modification

Shop Vac Pre-Modification

Simple solution:

Extend the reach of my shop vac with a 10 foot length of 1″ PVC I just happen to have in the shop.

This is pretty simple and it has some additional advantages.  Reducing the diameter of the opening increases the velocity of the intake, which does a better job of detaching ants from the surface they are scampering across.  Sucking in air from a 2″ opening (stock size for the shop vac) has considerably less velocity than that same amount of cfm going through a 1″ opening.  So… BONUS!

My favorite tape for such activities is RED Duct Tape.  Why?  Because it leaves no sticky residue.  You can peel it off and you are not left with a sticky, hard-to handle shop vac tube when you’re done.  I always keep a supply of this stuff in my supply cabinet.  I actually have probably six different kinds of duct tape for different uses.

So.  Off to the workshop and return with shop vac, PVC and red duct tape.  Inserting the PVC about 2 feet into the stock tube gives it better stability and still allows me to reach the ceiling.  Checking this before you tape it up saves a lot of time.  Thoroughly wrapping the intersection with red duct tape results in a very manageable “wand” which allows me to snork up hundreds of carpenter ants in about an hour.

Red Duct Tape

Red Duct Tape

Thunder Snorker Mod

Thunder Snorker Mod

 

They do not appreciate this intrusion into their dining routine and try to get away as you might imagine.  I, however am at least as motivated as they are – and have technology on my side.

It seems these not-so-little pests have set up housekeeping in the joist space above our dining room and may require extreme measures to permanently eradicate them.  In the meantime, I stay busy snorking up any stragglers that appear.

Keeping in mind that there are most likely thousands of these guys up in the ceiling if I have managed to snatch up several hundred so far, is motivation to keep after them.

One more important thing you might have thought of by now…

How do you make sure they don’t come crawling back out of the vacuum

(to re-infest the premises after you’re done?)

My solution is to grab the first can of any insecticide I can find and give them a lung full of it.  Keep the vacuum running and spray this stuff in its snout for about 30 seconds.  That should turbocharge their little lungs with enough toxins to settle them down permanently (see photo of inside of shop vac).

Warren's Thunder Snorker

Warren’s Thunder Snorker

Not getting away from me...

Not getting away from me…

Thunder Snorker Alone

Thunder Snorker Alone

Give 'em a snout full of this

Give ’em a snout full of this

Dead Ants, Dead Ants...

Dead Ants, Dead Ants…

Not getting away from me...

Not getting away from me…

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