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Jfish 07-13-2007 01:34 PM

Carpenter Ant extermination?
In the past few days I have been finding swarming carpenter ants between my window screen and window just above my kitchen sink. I am talking 100-200 ants on three different occasions. I have lived in this house for 12 years and to my knowledge there has never been a moisture problem of any kind. I have been out at night looking around my house and in my crawl space, but have found no worker ants. I plan to crawl up on my roof this weekend. I showed my termite guy the ants the other day and he called one of his co-workers. The guy said they could come out and spray foam in the voids of my walls. It really seems to me that this company does not know alot about carpenter ants. My questions are: (1) should I consult another company before I let my company spray foam in the walls? Everything I read says, use bait or dust. And (2) is it likely that they are in my wall since I am just seeing them at this one location? Any advice would be appreciated.

boman47k 07-13-2007 08:55 PM

My understanding of carpenter ants is they eat your house too. Why would that company only suggest foam in the walls?? I have seen more of what I think are carpenter ants this year than evr before, but I did have a small stack of deck lumber in my backyard for a while. When I disturbed them like oncovering a board, hundreds, it seemed, would be gone in a few minutes when I returned. They also moved what I assumed to their larvae. Now I need to do some research on these critters. I saw a bunch of them around my deck on the ground near the end of using the lumber.

ocoee 07-15-2007 03:45 PM

Where do you live and what color are the ants?
Not all carpenter ants eat wood?

CAs also do not necessarily need moisture to establish a nest
They are sometimes opportunistic nesters and the only requirement is a hole leading to a void

It is possible that they are traveling unseen in your crawl and traveling up the wall to the widow sill
I have also found many times that there is a small hole underneath an overhanging exterior sill

The ants will travel as far as 100 yards foraging but if there are wings alates appearing daily in the same area that is somewhat protected like between a window pane and scree the probability is that they are in that wall

I think the foam is an unnecessary expense

Get a pyretrin duct, any pyretrin dust, and treat that wall
You can buy a Getz or tech duster for less than $15 that is designed for this
But you can also use a picnic type squeezable ketchup dispenser that will allow you to puff the dust out with a blast of air

First look for that hole out side if there is none and it is not feasible to treat from the crawl,It almost never was with me, make a small hole in the voids under the window if they are in there they will come out. Although sometimes, rarely, it is a delayed reaction.

Baits are not very effective on carpenters because they are poor foragers, that's why they have to travel so far.

You also have to realize that the nest you are seeing now is m0st probably just a satellite nest and there up t about twenty more.

Go out at night, they are most active at midnight, and look for trails.

I usually would go out about sundown and look for clusters coming out for the night. That way I know they will be close to the nest
If that is not successful I go out around midnight
Rainy nights or potentially rainy nights I wouldn't even bother

Jfish 07-16-2007 01:46 AM

Ocoee, I live in Little Rock and the ants are red in color. I have been outside at night looking for the trails, but have not found them yet. I have been looking down low in my crawl space and around the windows and walls. I guess this week I will start looking up higher around my roof line. I do leave my kitchen light on most nights. The exterminator said they might be coming from outside and swarming to the light, but I find it hard to believe that many ants would come to the light and get between the screen and window. Thanks for the advice.

boman47k 07-16-2007 05:42 AM

Nw Alabama here and bigger black ants along with some smaller ones. I think they had a big bed under the wood stack.

ocoee 07-20-2007 10:06 AM

If that light is the only light source or the brightest then yes it is entirely possible that they are swarming to it and can be coming from a fairly long distance
If all you are seeing ever is swarmers that wold almost support that theory

We don't have the black carpenter ants down here, at least I have never seen any
They are generally the destructive ones

The reds are generally the nuisance species that excavate wood, usually that is already rotten, or simply find a nice void to lie in
They will take over old termites galleries and because of that they have gotten the reputation of eating wood and causing damage

Dutch1962 11-13-2007 11:11 PM

Carpenter ants do not eat wood.But the further north you travel they do get more destructive. The problem with them is their trails can be above ground or below. They may be following a pipe or root system and thats wh you don't see them. Make sure you have no tree branches touching the home and trim any heavy bushes back a bit, Swarmmer ants do not fly very well and usually betray the location if you keep finding them in say the same window. Try taking a couple light socket covers off (be careful) see if you see any dead ones.That may help somewhat-also look for any moisture source;ie leaky gutters,roof,etc. I would also check the attic right above the area you see them--look under the insulation if you can get close enough. Chopped up crickets with a spoon full of peanut butter can someties draw them out-then simply follow them back as far as you can to the nnest.Also-maybe you should have another opinion-it could be that it's an entirerely different ant and that's why none of this fits.....They are working on baits,Max Force has one thats 'ok'.but not great.Foam in the walls is all they do in states like Oregon (big buisness) so that's not off the wall for treatment.
for more info.............

Hope it helps

boman47k 11-14-2007 08:22 PM


Carpenter ants do not eat wood.But the further north you travel they do get more destructive.
If they do not eat wood, how are they destructive? If they take over termite sites, will they rid a place of termites? I was under the impression that the ants would eat wood. I can see how the taking over of the termite sites might would give that impression.

Dutch1962 11-22-2007 10:11 PM

No - they simply hew out a nice nest in the wood but do not eat it at all. In fact they are pretty clean little critters and will almost always have a 'window' somewhere in the nest that they can discard the wood 'frass' as well as any other debris. If you find frass (almost as fine as sawdust) you can really begin to narrow down the nest sight. As for taking over for happens but termites are'nt completely defensless so they'll put up a fight . Carpenter ants as well as other ants like to eat termites because they turn the wood they eat into sugar. Quite the treat. If the ants are still a problem you may want to call in a pest pro. Although the damage is'nt as much as termites it's still damage and it's always in places that cost more to fix ..........the little ba^&*!
Good Luck

KevinLorak 12-24-2008 11:58 AM

Termite Extermination
So basically from the standpoint of view there is no huge difference between carpenter ants and termites or dry wood termites. In other words, it's all about damage that they can do to your house if you don't take the right measures at the right time. It's all about knowing how to exterminate termites on your own. That being said, I would like to mention that when I was a little kid I remember how my father's brother almost lost his house when they went with their whole family on vacation and after coming back home in 30 days they found a huge termite colony nesting and breeding iside their house - everywhere. They were absolutely shocked and had to sell the house. Voila..

This might happen too..


ocoee 01-22-2009 09:05 AM

The biggest diffeence between ants and termites is the level of destruction and nesting habits

Carpenter Ant nesting habits make them much much easier to eradicate

Your uncles house had been infested for a long time before they recognized the problem
Termites do not do that much damage in a 30 day period

maryfiel 09-23-2010 02:37 AM

Carpenter ant removal
wow! Carpenter ants are among the largest ants in Minnesota.
carpenter ants differ from termites. Carpenter ants damage wood by excavating and creating galleries and tunnels. These areas are clean, i.e. they do not contain sawdust or other debris, and are smooth, with a well sanded appearance

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