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Old 06-12-2011, 10:49 PM   #31
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Carpenter ant advice


Thanks. Yeah, I'm working on the source too. So far, over the years, I've seen ants to my house in only 4-5 different locations; but that's not to say there are other spots. And I could maybe only seeing ants that are going into siding voids and the ones I see inside are from something else. One of my fears is that I have rotting wood somewhere under my siding that I'll never be able to inspect, so I see the advantage to chemicals. But I'm not thinking of spraying willy nilly, but doing the research. (Man, I remember what my father did when I was a kid--from that "man conquers nature" school of thought from the 50's!)

Since the only interior space I've seen ants in any organized regularity is that spot under the attic window, I'll start with that window for inspection, but will wait until after I treat it so I don't disperse a possible nest. I know the most recent owner did a complete tear down roof, and re-insulated about 2/3 of the attic back in 2005, so I have to think that if there is any carpenter ant nest in the attic, it is no more than 6 years old, whatever that's worth!

I know I need to caulk and catch up on regular maintenance, which certainly contributes, but don't want to make things worse.


Dante

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Old 06-17-2011, 08:21 PM   #32
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How did it work out Dante?
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:37 PM   #33
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Well, I'd love to have something to report, but if anyone reading this lives in NE Ohio, you know what the weather has been like! Unfortunately, I have not had any windows of rain-free forecasts since I got the Termidor! (Actually, I did have one window, but found out my pump spray was broken!) So I"m still waiting to do the treatment--probably next weekend by the looks of the forecast.

As for my issue with plants, I called the tech support at Termidor/BASF and understandably they can't recommend anything that goes against the label. In some areas, I could only treat the foundation, thus gaining one foot of the dripline zone, but that will, of course, provide less protection. But he seemed to think my strategy was sound--Since the places where my raspberries grow along the house are not places I've seen established trails, it is probably not too bad a risk to just not treat those areas. After this year's harvest, I'll pull out the ones nearest the house and treat the foundation only. Being a non-repellent, the ants won't be looking for a "gap" in the Termidor, but I"m still vulnerable to the random wanderings of ants. If over time this turns out to be an Achilles heel, I'll pull all the plants out and go 100%.

Interesting side note. I found old pdfs on the EPA webpage of memos to BASF. It seems from the original language on the label that the edible plant issue was only for termite treatment, not ant/perimeter spraying. EPA had them change it to the blanket warning. And just "treating around"; the one-foot dripline zone came later. Basically from what I've gleaned, it hasn't been tested specifically as a systemic in plants, so no one can say it is indeed safe, nor indeed harmful. Lack of evidence means nothing if you haven't designed a test to look for that something! I guess it is easier (and cheaper!) for BASF to just tell people to keep it one foot from the dripline than to do whatever needs to be done to be cleared for edible plants, since that is far from Termidor's main purpose.

As for Phantom, I did start spot treating inside. I sprayed all along the bottom corner where wall meets floor under that attic window and along a few places where I saw some ants. And in the voids under the insulation and some floorboards. And yes, I couldn't resist hitting some ants point blank! That was maybe a week ago, and there seems to be dead ants showing up that appear to have not been squished by my family. I just was upstairs and saw 2 or 3 walking around, so they could be from a non-Phantom area, or just walked across it. Jury is out on everything until I can get that Termidor down.

I just hope that if they did establish a satellite colony in the attic, they haven't figured out how to get to water and food w/o leaving the house. My wife has many art supplies and different media, I suppose the ants could find a way to get what they need from some of that. They are crafty.

To be continued....
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:53 AM   #34
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For what it's worth, and knock on wood... I'm an additional 10-12 days out from my last post and we have seen ZERO ants indoors since then (and even then I think I had said I was a week out w/o an ant), and I have seen no activity around the foundation where there previously I had seen then walking up/down the foundation constantly.

Could not be happier w/ the results so far!
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:09 AM   #35
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Oh, I have no doubt this stuff will do the trick. Just being patient (as thunder rolls overhead at this moment!) The good thing is that I think my wife is on board, as no exterminator appointments have been made! And if she does call someone who would treat in this weather, I'd ask for my money back!

Dante
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:33 AM   #36
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dcent: You've learned a lot and your strategy will work. When opportunity permits and you get to the hands-on part, your learning will go to the next level. Gauging results as you go will teach as well.

Don't stress out too much about the rain. Once it dries, it stays put. Also, spray up under soffits, roof lines, etc. The rain doesn't hit that usually. The perimeter of the house is protected to an extent by rain gutters and soffits, especially where house is one story.

It was interesting to read of your research as to termite (subterranean and large volume) versus surface application regarding edible plants. What I do in those areas is to skip the soil treatment but spray of the foundation, siding a foot or so. When it dries, it stays put.

AS a sidenote, I advise customers to not plant anything in perimeter of house that needs to be watered. If you think about it, we pay thousands of dollars for rain gutters, spouting, sloped landscaping and then we short circuit that systems by watering the perimeter.
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:53 AM   #37
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Thanks for the tip about spraying under the soffit and roofline. I thought I could only do the 1-foot zone up the foundation and out in the soil. but come to think of it, the tech guy at BASF did say I should also spray around where wires come to the house (both the attachement point and wherever they enter the wall)

Not stressing over rain; just haven't had too many 24 hour dry spells. But looking very favorable for the weekend!

Also, my family found a tree in a nearby park that they said looked to have a carpenter ant nest--maybe 200 feet from our house. Possible source? I just may go out there anyway and spray the tree with Termidor, (under cover of darkness....)

Thanks,

Dante
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:34 AM   #38
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Also, my family found a tree in a nearby park that they said looked to have a carpenter ant nest--maybe 200 feet from our house. Possible source? I just may go out there anyway and spray the tree with Termidor, (under cover of darkness....)
I would be tempted to do the same but would remind myself that what I sprayed on my own property is different than on somebody else's and especially that owned by the public and without an applicator's license or even verbal permission.

All it would take is for one little kid or pet to get sick and you blamed because of the illegal chemical application. Your life could turn nightmarish whether your actions led to the problem or not. I would resist the temptation and not treat the tree in the park.

That said, the park and forestry departments for this region are diligent about trying to keep pests that threaten trees under control and would want to know about an infestation like you spotted. If they have the budget, your park arborist division will come out and deal with the tree your family noticed.
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:41 AM   #39
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Oh, good point! Thanks for the advice!

I suppose non-chemical mechanical means are safe, so pouring liquid nitrogen on them might be OK!
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:47 AM   #40
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so pouring liquid nitrogen on them might be OK!
Not sure but you will cure them of warts!
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Old 06-24-2011, 08:07 AM   #41
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Question about treatment. I'm reading the label, and it says to apply the perimeter spray at the rate of 2 quarts per 160 linear feet. I totally understand that mathematically, but in practice, what is the "feel" for that rate? I can measure my house's perimeter and soffits and figure out, for example, that I should be 1/2 through my gallon sprayer by the time I get to the garage. But from people's experience is this more like a natural pace or to achieve this do you feel like you need to go slow or fast. (Kind of like fertilizing a lawn!) And I also understand this has its limits to precision and that rate is a guideline!

Also, I noticed the the Phantom label says it can be used for exterior spot treatment, but no mention of precaution around plants. Would it be advisable for me to use Phantom on the foundation near my raspberries?

thanks
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Old 06-25-2011, 08:25 PM   #42
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dcentori

I have watched a few pros (so called) spraying, there wasn't a lot of science or consistantcy when they sprayed.

I just it wet and close to but not a point of run off. Seems to work for me when spraying.

Make sure it is dry before your kids and pets go near it and all should be well. I send mine to the inlaws for the day, gives me a chance to catchup on other things as well..

PLAZ
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Old 06-27-2011, 08:18 AM   #43
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Phase I complete!

I finally had the break in weather, and Saturday morning I did the whole perimeter (minus raspberry zone), soffites, roofline, places where siding meets masonry, and around all windows and garage door. And the one tree on my property. (I did not go into the park!) Biggest job was the deck, since I wanted to be as thorough as possible. I ended up removing every third plank and that was enough to reach from where I left off underneath, so I got complete coverage. Also did the deck supports too while I had that exposed so I could cover another ant path. Kept the kids inside while I sprayed and afterwards if they went out, told them to stay away from the house, to give plenty of margin for drying time. So now we're OK. And everyone is under orders to resist the temptation to squish ants, so they can bring that fipronil back to their nest!

I'm glad I pulled up those deck planks because I found other possible ways into the house--crawlspace vent, electrical conduit and remains of the original masonry steps off the back door. They were soaked good!

Phase Ia will be treating the interior door frames with Phantom as soon as I get a chance and Phase II will be to complete the exterior Termidor treatment when the raspberries are done later in the summer.

Label says treat twice a year. Did I do this too late to do a second treatment, or can I do this in late December? Also, due to the involvement, do you think I can get by with just one treatment under the deck per year? Does not look like much water makes its way down there (as evidenced by what appears to be a few years old raccoon poop)

Thanks to everyone's help and I will keep my fingers crossed that ant activity will cease!

Dante
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Old 06-27-2011, 05:48 PM   #44
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Nice job! You were so thorough that it borders on obsessiveness, and I mean that as a compliment. No one I know, including me, ever removes deckboards. Not wrong, but you don't have to do that again. Spray in from the sides, then through the gaps in deck boards. REmember, Termidor is non-repellent. They will walk thru the chemical eventually because of that. That is the advantage of non-repellents.

When Termidor/Phantom treatments were proposed, I resisted as it seemed way to easy. I was using sprays, dusts, drills and a $1000+ micro-injector and still getting call-backs. Now it is easier and safer, chemically and physically.

Two times a year does not mean every 6 months. The timing is the operators choice.

Uncross your fingers, it will work. Sit back and relax.
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Old 06-27-2011, 10:32 PM   #45
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That's good to hear I don't need to do that deck work again! But I had to do it that thorough the first time to leave no doubt as to where ants may be sneaking in if they don't go away. (one potential Achilles heel would be enough!)

I'll wait a few weeks before I caulk in the areas I treated; then start looking for water damage to repair.

Thanks for all the help!

Dante

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