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Old 05-31-2013, 07:29 AM   #1
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Ants in my wall pushing out insulation?


Here's the window in one of my bathrooms.



I found what looks like insulation on the bottom right corner of the window sill.


The sill is sealed all around. I opened the window and there is no insulation stuff under the window, or on the outside of the window frame. The only open spot is at the very top right corner of the window. You have to look up and in to see it. That's the only possible place that I can find where the insulation is coming from, and this spot is directly above the pile I found.



While I was taking the pictures to post here, I found a fire ant crawling on the grey window sill. I am pretty sure that it was not a termite.

So, where's the insulation coming from, and is it ants or something else?

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Old 05-31-2013, 09:11 AM   #2
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Ants in my wall pushing out insulation?


You need to get an exterminator in to solve that issue. Doing it yourself is not going to be the best way. As for what is in the corner of the window, looks more like cobwebs. Fire ants are being pushed out of areas, by other ant species, but also with all of the rain this year, critters are heading inside where it is warm, because of being too damp outside.

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Old 05-31-2013, 11:11 AM   #3
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Ants in my wall pushing out insulation?


It definitely looks like it's pink on the right side. Maybe they're removing material the way they move sand and dirt to make their tunnels. Never seen that before.
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Old 05-31-2013, 12:36 PM   #4
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Ants in my wall pushing out insulation?


look for pinholes or small entry holes in the area. i had a similar problem with ants awhile back and they dug through the caulking in the crown molding on both sides of a room. the two entry holes were exactly opposite the room. i had a bunch of similar debris on the carpet, plus spiderwebs where the spiders were just waiting for the ants. i figured out, being ants, they just followed the ceiling joists, that's why the holes were so perfectly aligned. also, ants do not eat anything, they just dig it out and then have to deposit it somewhere outside of their nest. my guess is they are living in your attic or wall and moving all that crap out of the attic into your bathroom sill.

of course, i re-sealed the caulking, fixed a crack in my exterior wall and sprayed. haven't had the problem since.

think like an ant! look up! the holes will probably be very small, but should be aligned with the debris area.

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Old 06-01-2013, 10:40 AM   #5
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Ants in my wall pushing out insulation?


The biggest concern is to identify the "ant". It could be carpenter ants. That would be the biggest risk.

Carpenter ants are primarily nocturnal. I suggest you study the outside wall adjacent to the problem window and watch for large ants in the early evening. They are fairly easy to identify, if they are carpenter ants. Once you find their trails, you can defeat them.

They have a large territory, like 5 acres. This can include the main colony as well as multiple satellite colonies.

Exterminators can be expensive. It is a task that a do-it-yourselfer can do, it just takes care, time, and study. Identify the bug. Select a product (I suggest bait). Use it according to the label. Monitor reaction. Repeat as needed.
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Old 06-01-2013, 04:21 PM   #6
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Ants in my wall pushing out insulation?


Quote:
Originally Posted by gobug View Post
The biggest concern is to identify the "ant". It could be carpenter ants. That would be the biggest risk.

Carpenter ants are primarily nocturnal. I suggest you study the outside wall adjacent to the problem window and watch for large ants in the early evening. They are fairly easy to identify, if they are carpenter ants. Once you find their trails, you can defeat them.

They have a large territory, like 5 acres. This can include the main colony as well as multiple satellite colonies.

Exterminators can be expensive. It is a task that a do-it-yourselfer can do, it just takes care, time, and study. Identify the bug. Select a product (I suggest bait). Use it according to the label. Monitor reaction. Repeat as needed.
I think you nailed it. I just googled for pictures of carpenter ants and they look just like the one ant I did see. I cannot find any activity outside, but will keep up with watching.

How comparable are they to termites as far as damage goes?
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Old 06-01-2013, 05:28 PM   #7
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Ants in my wall pushing out insulation?


You're window frames could look like this, so they are bad news
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Old 06-01-2013, 07:19 PM   #8
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Ants in my wall pushing out insulation?


The damage is different. Both termites and carpenter ants can cause structural damage.

The termite colony can be a ~100 yds from the house, but it is not usually where they get their dinner. That means they do damage over a longer time, and it can be sill plates, 2x4's etc.

If the carpenter ants are starting to build a nest, they like something with a larger volume so they have room for the whole nest. That can be important structural junctions in the structure. So ant damage can occur a lot more quickly.

There are good baits for carpenter ants, unfortunately big box hardware don't carry much in that category. You might find Maxforce granular ant bait. You might find a local pest control company willing to sell you good carpenter ant bait.

Carpenter ant diets alter often during the year. A bait that isn't taken by the ant today could be tomorrow. Sometimes, adding a little powdered sugar changes the ants' minds.

If you can find the ant trails, you can see if they are bringing insects (food) to their nest or if they are empty handed. Then you can follow them home. If it is yours, it is unlikely that a spray will stop them. But their trail is the right place to put the bait.

Good luck.
Gary

Last edited by gobug; 06-01-2013 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 06-02-2013, 06:33 AM   #9
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Ants in my wall pushing out insulation?


Quote:
Originally Posted by gobug View Post
The damage is different. Both termites and carpenter ants can cause structural damage.

The termite colony can be a ~100 yds from the house, but it is not usually where they get their dinner. That means they do damage over a longer time, and it can be sill plates, 2x4's etc.

If the carpenter ants are starting to build a nest, they like something with a larger volume so they have room for the whole nest. That can be important structural junctions in the structure. So ant damage can occur a lot more quickly.

There are good baits for carpenter ants, unfortunately big box hardware don't carry much in that category. You might find Maxforce granular ant bait. You might find a local pest control company willing to sell you good carpenter ant bait.

Carpenter ant diets alter often during the year. A bait that isn't taken by the ant today could be tomorrow. Sometimes, adding a little powdered sugar changes the ants' minds.

If you can find the ant trails, you can see if they are bringing insects (food) to their nest or if they are empty handed. Then you can follow them home. If it is yours, it is unlikely that a spray will stop them. But their trail is the right place to put the bait.

Good luck.
Gary
I don't use the big box stores for this sort of thing. Everything they carry is so diluted that it rarely works.

I've been using this site, and they do carry the Maxforce products.
http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com/
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:02 AM   #10
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Ants in my wall pushing out insulation?


Thanks for posting that link. I only looked at their ant baits. It is a good link. The first thing that caught my eye was the BoraCare, then I saw the Maxforce granular. I also saw 2 other baits I carried in my service truck for ants, Advance, and Ascend. Although the BoraCare is not a bait, I would use it prior to construction on all the structural wood. It would protect the wood for decades from any thing.

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