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-   -   carpenter ants... how to find the nest(s)?! (http://www.diychatroom.com/f51/carpenter-ants-how-find-nest-s-69113/)

diy'er on LI 04-15-2010 01:17 PM

carpenter ants... how to find the nest(s)?!
 
hi

so, those little critters officially invaded our home :mad: Please help me figure out where the nest(s) is/are!

Do you know of either DIY'er or professional techniques that could detect the location of colonies in walls?

(should we hire a pro? If so, what should they be able to do? I don't want to spray chems for 20 years, I want to find the spot of moisture, kill the colony, and repair the damage. First I need to find the moisture damage!)

Here's the long winded details of what's going on.......

Upstairs, in the back side of our home, from left to right, we have a master bedroom, a master bath, a main upstairs bath, and on the right side, a bathroom for our accessory apartment. Attached beneath the master and main upstairs bathrooms, there is a 1 story extension (family room with cathedral ceiling containing a few hollow decorative exposed beams). although most windows are new in our home, in this area, they are old, and not in wonderful shape. Similarly, the cedar siding is old, and only periodically maintained. I don't *think* there are any missing shingles, but I could be wrong. I'm also not sure of the state of some of the outdoor wood trim. Inside, we see no overt leaks or water marks on any walls or ceilings.

We saw the first couple ants in the main upstairs bathroom. When we properly sealed the old window (that is right over the family room roof), no more ants appeared. Similar situation with the master bedroom.... no problem as long as the window is closed.

We finally saw ants in the master bath. Our shower, which is against the exterior wall and is also above the family room roof, has a less than optimal tile job. My husband saw an ant crawl from beneath a loose tile (that is on the "dry side" of the shower doors). He popped this tile off, and squirted a pile of combat gel (that supposedly permits the bait to be brought back to the colony).

Since that day, we never saw ants upstairs again.... HOWEVER, we now see many dead ants in our family room. They are in 2 general areas... on the left and right sides of the room, close to where the extension attaches to the main house. This coincides with a decorative ceiling beam that begins above 1 dead ant pile, and leads to the ceiling above the other dead ant pile. My husband found one dead ant hanging from a spiderweb right near the end of that beam.

Where do you think we should check for nests? The wood near the family room gutters look ok, as do the eaves. About 20 years ago, there was a problem with the flashing joining the extension to the wall beneath the bathrooms, but that was fixed long ago.... No problems since. We also had a leak in the master shower drain 20 years ago. Once again, it was fixed long ago, and all damage repaired. We recently had a leak in a room beneath the apartment bathroom that was fixed, but when we repaired it, there was no evidence of bugs.

I REALLY want to avoid demoing shower walls in a desperate attempt to find the nest. I can pop a can light in the first floor, which I know for certain is directly under the master shower, and could do a limited examination of the structure beneath the shower pan, but that's all I can think of.

There must be some more methodical and systematic way to go about finding a nest. We haven't seen any obvious trails beyond the piles of dead ants near the ends of that false (decorative) beam.

thanks for your help!

fabrk8r 04-15-2010 01:29 PM

Good news! You don't need to know where the nest is. The ants know where it is and with the right ant poison they will carry enough back to their nest so all can share.

Just buy some liquid ant poison and follow the instructions.

diy'er on LI 04-15-2010 01:37 PM

But, if the wood is moist becuase the situation isn't fixed, won't new colonies just keep trying to pop-up again?

Also, I'd like to repair any structural damage that may have occurred. My nightmare is ants chomping on a structural beam :eek:

retro 04-15-2010 05:34 PM

carpenter ants are the devil. I lived on the north shore of long island a few years ago, never saw them before I moved into that house. I found them in almost every window frame I had in the house on the first floor. The easiest way I found to look for them is to pull the molding off around the window and just look in between where the window starts and the sheet rock ends. The lower left hand and right hand corners always seemed to be full of em. Good luck. BTW an exterminator will come in and drill holes every 16 inches between studs and spray a powdered ant killer inbetween the studs. Its a fortune, and the guarantee they offer is not very good.

diy'er on LI 04-16-2010 02:35 PM

sigh.....

we are really trying, and having not so much luck. I'm tempted to check the window frames, since these rooms are the few that have the original $#!* windows. I'm hoping I don't see those little monsters everywhere.

I feel like hunting for sattelite nests is some sort of fishing expedition. We did a thorough exam of the building exterior, and saw no obvious red flags

After several days of having the bait, the # of dead ants we see is beginning to decline. I know that doesn't mean the nest is gone, which concerns me all the more....... :(

Scuba_Dave 04-16-2010 03:00 PM

My last house I put out bait traps & sprayed the foundation every 3-4 weeks with ant killer
I had an extermination company spray when I 1st bought the house
I think it was only $700....that was over 10 years ago

This house we see some ants every Spring, spray...kill them
Then they are gone until the next Spring

Snav 04-16-2010 03:48 PM

We had carpenter ants, too - for years we tried every poison and other means to kill them off, but that never worked. . . the colony just grew. It got to a point where we had no idea where their colony might be - they were everywhere.

Well, when we remodeled the livingroom we pulled off the wallboards and took out insulation - and there they were, under the livingroom window behind the insulation.

A murderous mad rampage insued and at the end of the day every sucker was dead, the house littered with their lifeless bodies and offspring will spring no more.

We haven't seen any since.

However - just before their colony was officially discovered It seemed that Amdro (sp) ant bait was working. Just weeks before I had sprinkled the pellets along the floorboards and, I don't know if it was deadly, but they loved to eat it!
(The pellets of this stuff - it might not be this brand I used - but they looked like brown bits of pepper)

Part of the reason why they're hard to kill or locate is because I really think they're smarter than regular, small house ants. The first time I discovered we had them they had found an open can of mandarine orange slices - I tried to smack em all dead - but they ran and hid and watched what I was doing, waiting for me to go away.

bluejeans 04-17-2010 10:20 AM

I had a carpenter ant problem.Maybe i can help.They will make,what looks like a pile of sawdust.They don't eat the wood like termites.They auger out a tunnel and have to put the sawdust somewhere.So i had the house silent and banged on the wall where i thought they were.A macho challenge to those buggers,to come out and fight.LOL. I spun around to see why the newspaper was russling in the wind in the house.No russling of paper or wind in the house?Then i learned that when they feel a threat to the colony,they all flap their wings.It sounds like dry leaves crunching,for 2 seconds.Stalk them in silence with a couple sets of good ears.Give the wall/floor/ceiling a good whack and listen.Then open it up and spray them with pesticide for carp ants.Then survey the damage and be amazed.Spray the perimeter of the house.Carpenter ant colonies start outside in dead wood.(Eliminate and spray there also.)They send out scouts to start satelite colonies, in the springtime.I had a roof failing and the sheathing got wet.They like wet.If you have carpenter ants you probably have some wet rotting framing or sheathing.Take care of both asap.:thumbsup:

racebum 04-22-2010 03:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snav (Post 429569)
We had carpenter ants, too - for years we tried every poison and other means to kill them off, but that never worked. . . the colony just grew. It got to a point where we had no idea where their colony might be - they were everywhere.

Well, when we remodeled the livingroom we pulled off the wallboards and took out insulation - and there they were, under the livingroom window behind the insulation.

A murderous mad rampage insued and at the end of the day every sucker was dead, the house littered with their lifeless bodies and offspring will spring no more.

We haven't seen any since.

However - just before their colony was officially discovered It seemed that Amdro (sp) ant bait was working. Just weeks before I had sprinkled the pellets along the floorboards and, I don't know if it was deadly, but they loved to eat it!
(The pellets of this stuff - it might not be this brand I used - but they looked like brown bits of pepper)

Part of the reason why they're hard to kill or locate is because I really think they're smarter than regular, small house ants. The first time I discovered we had them they had found an open can of mandarine orange slices - I tried to smack em all dead - but they ran and hid and watched what I was doing, waiting for me to go away.

:laughing:

i enjoyed reading this

diy'er on LI 04-26-2010 01:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snav (Post 429569)

Part of the reason why they're hard to kill or locate is because I really think they're smarter than regular, small house ants. The first time I discovered we had them they had found an open can of mandarine orange slices - I tried to smack em all dead - but they ran and hid and watched what I was doing, waiting for me to go away.

I swear, I'm not joking. I've noticed this too. I was trying to squish an ant on my bathroom counter, and I actually saw it looking at me and trying to guess my next move. How can a bug with only a 1/4 million neurons in their brain attempt to antipate a "predator's" movements?! completely bizzare.......

RickyBobby 04-26-2010 02:23 PM

Glad I'm not the only one fighting this battle.

Just had a guy come to the house and spray the outside and do some inside work. All he did was drill 1/8" holes between every stud cavity just above the baseboard and squirt in some ant killer gel.

I went to Lowe's and got basically the same syringe loaded with the stuff and did the rest of the house. Seems to be working since all I see is the occasional straggler that meets the same fate as the others anyway.

I also tore out all of the bushes next to the house. THis, coupled with the cedar shake siding has probably provided a great environment for them.

But the underlying issue, like the others have pointed out is the moisture.
Good luck

ClumsyCarpenter 04-27-2010 11:40 AM

I'm also starting to see these in my master bedroom window frame. I have a dumb question, what kills these things in large quantities? The only reason I knew I had some was because I'm finding huge piles of dead ants...but I haven't sprayed or put down any type of bait at this point.

diy'er on LI 04-27-2010 12:02 PM

maybe a neighbor has an ant problem and aggressively treated their home or yard? Frequently, the "mother ship" nest with the queen is somewhere in the yard, and the ants in the home are merely "satellite nests". There's a lot of traveling between the mother ship and the satellites, so conceivably, satellites could be in both your home and your neighbor's.

lifeisgood30 05-22-2010 04:45 PM

*&%##$@@ ants
 
Check around the outside of the house with a flashlight around 10PM. Many times the ants are coming from outside nests, sometimes the nest is inside and the ants are eating outside. If you see ants in February there is a nest inside the house. Spray with a liquid no odor pesticide from HD or Lowes. The adults that forage for food will be killed first and you will then notice smaller ants wandering around that seem to be lost. These are the babies that were being fed by the adults. Sawdust and dead ants mean a nest is near. If you have little kids ask them where they see the ants go. Tap on the wall if you suspect where the nest is and listen for a rustling sound. Only then does it make sense to drill a hole and inject pesticide. The drilling of many holes and injecting is not an effective treatment. The pesticides that are labeled "termite control" work well for ants. If pre-mixed no problem however follow the mixing instructions exactly for concentrates. Too strong and the insects will detect it and avoid it. Ridding the house of ants may take a month. Do not keep spraying more poison in the same area, let it work. If the label says retreat after 60 days then do that. Patience.

Snav 05-23-2010 10:49 AM

I have actually irradiated a 5-year long ant infestation (albeit, regular ants) with the frequent use of Combat and gel.

For the last 2 weeks since I started applying it into a variety of ant trails in all the rooms I haven't had any ants on the counter in teh kitchen while prepping dinner.

It's like heaven.

Worth a shot!


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