Carpenter Ants - anybody dealt with them?

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boomerang

Lifer
Jun 19, 2000
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We've got them. The exterminator came out for the initial assessment and during that visit sprayed something around the perimeter of the house both inside and out. Next was the guy that came out and drilled small holes above the baseboard of all the exterior walls as well as at opposite ends of a studio ceiling in our living room. Powder was poofed into all those holes as well as around the sill on top of the basement walls, up in the attic and around the opening for water and waste lines under the sinks.

He told me that by law he cannot use products that are effective against ants that lasts for more than sixty days. He says he used to be able to eradicate a problem, now he can only treat it. As such, their treatment plan calls for visits every two months for the next year.

They were out Monday for the drilling and poofing and we are still hearing the ants going to town. I called yesterday and they are returning on Monday.

This company and another are both equally rated and have the highest rating of the exterminators that service our area. Just wondering if anybody else has had to deal with carpenter ants and how it went for you.
 

Blain

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
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I've had good experiences purchasing from Do My Own Pest Control .com

Discount code givemea5 for $5 off a $50 order.
 
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boomerang

Lifer
Jun 19, 2000
18,890
642
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I've had good experiences purchasing from Do My Own Pest Control .com

Discount code givemea5 for $5 off a $50 order.
That's pretty wild, I found that site earlier this afternoon. I told my wife that when the contract is up, I will be doing the treatments for myself at a greatly reduced rate. Once the colony and the queen are dead, keeping the little buggers out should be fairly simple. A twice a year process. It will be an ongoing quest though as we are surrounded by trees here. The walls of the house are a much better place to set up a colony for them than a tree.

Great site BTW. Lot's of very useful information without a lot of extra filler.

Just as an aside, the poofer dude was telling me that they will build a tunnel to a water source to service the colony. A water pipe will do as they can survive off the condensation alone. Very smart creatures they are.
 

boomerang

Lifer
Jun 19, 2000
18,890
642
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You can hear them going to town? Really?
Oh, yeah. It's somewhat scary knowing they're chewing away at structural members of your home. The noise is what got me calling them as were not seeing ants. The evening before I called after they'd already been out, the sliding door was open to the deck and we were hearing some traffic noise, the TV was on and even my wife could hear them and she's hard of hearing. It sounded like an army was up in the ceiling just tearing up the ceiling joists. That is not even one iota of exaggeration.

The first question the guy asked me on the initial visit was if we were seeing ants. He started pulling the registers up from the floor and there were an alarming number of dead ants in them. After checking about 2/3 of the house he told me what needed to be done. After the drilling and poofing was done, I vacuumed up the drywall dust and cleaned out the ductwork under the registers and the far bedroom had a ton of them there in the ductwork. It really makes me wonder how long this has been going on especially because at the website mentioned earlier they say that carpenter ants become active at night. Maybe that's why we never saw any ...
 

slag

Lifer
Dec 14, 2000
10,473
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Carpenter ants are fine. They are the good ants that build the structures. The bad ants are the demolition ants. They destroy the good wood.
 

DrPizza

Administrator Elite Member Goat Whisperer
Mar 5, 2001
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We briefly had a problem the first year after moving into our home. When I talked to a guy who recommended products for me - I wish I could remember the stuff I used - it was sprayed against the perimeter of the house and worked incredibly well - the guy asked me, "so how close to your house is the dead or dying tree?" "Huh?"

Turned out, he was right. They apparently don't just travel 5 miles in search of a house to build a colony in - they actually have small colonies, and split up frequently into more small colonies. There was likely, according to the "expert," a decaying tree very near to the house. We had an old pine tree about 15 feet from the corner of the house, and it definitely met his criteria. The tree was cut down; despite few signs of carpenter ants outside, it was full of them on the inside. So, that was the home base for new colonies. Eliminated them, sprayed the perimeter of the house, killed the ones in the house, and that was the end of it.

So, OP, in addition to protecting your house, you may want to consider hunting very nearby your house for possible nests in trees that may be spreading into your house in the first place. Caveat - I've never googled to verify that this advice was accurate, but in my case, it seemed very accurate and permanently (thus far) has fixed the problem.
 

IndyColtsFan

Lifer
Sep 22, 2007
33,656
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I'm late to this thread, but I thought I'd share my story in case others read the thread. I have battled carpenter ants a couple of times over the years. If they're in your house, one of two things is happening: 1) They are scouts from a nearby colony 2) They have a nest of some sort (satellite or main) in your house. If you're seeing DOZENS of ants per day, it is very, very likely that you have wet, rotting wood somewhere and they're colonizing it.

A few years ago, we started seeing the ants in the house. I did my research and tracked them to a place on my house where the garage meets the house. The siding wasn't installed correctly by the previous owner and as a result, there was wood rot there. I had the wood replaced and the ants virtually disappeared overnight.

Last year, I noticed that the carpet in that room had a wet spot. It had to be coming down the interior of the wall and sinking to the floor. So, I had a contractor out to fix it. Well, guess what? The moron didn't do the job right and earlier this year, ants were swarming in by the dozens. I battled them with chemicals (a combination of Terro bait traps, Terro carpenter ant poweder, and Advance powder) and pretty much destroyed them, but I knew that they would just be back unless I solved the root problem. So I had another guy look at it and HE found the actual problem - the entire wood framing of that wall was wet and rotten and ants were feasting on it.

So, I had the entire wall ripped out and rebuilt. One of the two sliding doors was rotted, so we threw it out and just centered the remaining door (we never liked the two doors anyway). They then PROPERLY sided the entire wall, install extra flashing and water diverters, and did a pretty good job. No sign of any moisture in late spring/early summer when we had torrential downpours and not a single ant in sight. I also determined that during the winter, water had backed up in the gutters and froze because of a clogged underground drain and that was causing some of the moisture issues. I've taken care of that issue and will keep an eye on it in the future. I also spray the foundation around that wall and occasionally put down bait traps and ant powder just to keep bugs out, as most were entering the house in that general area.
 
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