Carpenter Ants

sue_vaJune 11, 2004


My daughter bought a 50(m-l) year old house 6 years ago. There was the required termite inspection; no problems noted. This week she had replacement windows installed. At one window carpenter ants were found. She called a pest control company and when the inspector came he told her that they had treated the house on a monthly basis (for carpenter ants) for the previous owner. This was not disclosed at any time at the time of sale.

That is a moot point now, but should that not have been on the termite report? I know that carpenter ants can cause great damage, sometimes more-so than termites. Seems like the required inspection should be for termites and carpenter ants.

Anyway, the recommendation now is to have a one time whole-house treatment ($150) and begin the monthly treatments again ($30.) Does this sound reasonable? Isn't there some way to solve the problem permanently?

Thanks for any ideas, thoughts, recommendations.


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I'm certainly no expert on carpenter ants, but the house I grew up in (and, indeed, the whole block) had a problem on and off with them. I do not remember--ever--having the house treated on a monthly basis. I do remember having the men of the block go around and eliminate all the dead wood in the trees and trimming them significantly after one neighbor's willow fell over due to the ants. We didn't seem to have major problems with them after that. Is your daughter's house surrounded closely by big, old trees?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2004 at 10:06AM
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Simgirl has the right idea. Carpenter ants live and breed in trees and dead wood. They don't eat wood like termites and usually get into your house looking for water or food. They are often found under shower pans or in walls where there has been seepage. They are almost impossible to eradicate unless you find the nests in the woods and kill the queens. Consult a pro and get rid of as much dead wood clost to your house as possible. Also fix leaks, cracks in shower tiles, etc. We have a lot of carpenter ants here in FL.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 12:37PM
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my neighbor had them in her patio cover, she went to Lowe's and checked their pest book. It told what to use and how to use it. I don't remember what she treated them with, but she had to do it after dark, once or twice then fill the holes. They have never come back on her.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2005 at 9:43PM
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We had an ant problem in our apartment. We got this great ant-killer. They look like little containers with a lid on them, and a little hole in the top of the lid. The ants come marching into the hole to take out the sweet liquid (poison), they take it back to the nest, and it kills all of them. After 3 or 4 days, we did not see another ant. It costs about $5. I would try a bunch of these before having someone spray poison all over my house every month. They are very easy to find also. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2005 at 6:12PM
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We had them in our house when we moved in. We have a regular monthly exterminater (our "Hired Killer") because we live in Florida. He told us they were living in our attic space and he had to go up and dust it. It was around $100 and took care of the problem. He also said something about they come in after you've had termites and either they eat the dead termites or they finish eating what the termites left, I don't remember. Anyway, you can't get rid of them with monthly treatments, it's a special one time treatment, and it's not for the whole house it's just where the carpenter ants are. I'd find a different company.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 9:02AM
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I had quartlerly treatments (not monthly) for carpenter ants. The treatment was to drill tiny holes on the inside of perimeter walls, every 16 inches. Then they would puff a powder that they said was just boric acid in each hole every three months. This was done after we had all the rotten windows and surrounding wood replaced. I beleive they also dusted the attic very well in the first treatment. We removed the rotting apple tree a few years earlier. I also only use cypress mulch (not pine bark) in the garden because insects don't like it.

I felt that my treatment was a huge rip-off. I did not want the basement sprayed, the outside of the house sprayed, or the interior living areas sprayed. The pest control companies have one price around here - no matter how little you want done. I just wanted the boric acid treatment for the ants. I would have been happy to have them do just the first treatment that did involve the attic and basement, but they would not allow that. I had to pay $75 every three months to have them come back and puff powder into the wall holes they had drilled.

If you are like me and don't want your dogs, cats, or kids exposed to poisons, do the boric acid treatment yourself. You can still buy it in drug stores.

Don't fall for the "everything we use is organic" ruse. OF COURSE it is! Living things are organic and other organic compounds (poisonous organic compounds) kill them. Arsenic is organic. So was agent orange. So is botulism, so is dioxin, so is DDT!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 3:20PM
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I was told by an expert in the field to find the leak - because there had to be one - fix it - and relax. That's just what we did and the problem vanished. It turned out that an earthquake had caused a hairline crack in a water pipe.

My daughter had the same situation. It turned out that the ants were due to a leaky bathtub. When that was fixed, the ants disappeared.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 1:36PM
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