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samalex 11-29-2010 11:52 PM

Fire ants coming into house through pipes in foundation -- need advice
 
Hi Everyone,

I really hope I've come to a good place to get some advice from the pros or those who know more about this than I do. We just moved into our newly built home in April 2010 (8 months ago), and I think we've built on top of a monolithic fire-ant colony.

Long story short about 10 weeks ago our house was literally invaded by fire ants, coming out in every room and even from one of our HVAC vents in the living room ceiling. Our house is on a slab (one story), and after calling a local exterminator who sprayed a few times we found a large stream of fire ants coming up from the sand trap in the master bath. He sprayed Termidor under it, the shower, under the front bathroom tub (through wall), plus inside the wall in our laundry room since they were coming up those pipes as well (note these are on completely opposite sides of the house).

That was 3 weeks ago and last weekend we started seeing more fire ants in the front bathroom. The bug guy game out once more and sprayed termidor inside the wall behind our sink and toilet, and thus far I've not seen any there, but tonight I killed two in the master bathroom. I removed the cover on the tub and didn't see anything there, so I'm guessing they're coming from the sink there as well.

So questions... Should I ask that he use Termidor inside the walls every place where pipes come through the foundation? I did some research and even though Termidor is labeled for outdoor use only I did read a few places where it's used inside the walls like our bug guy is doing, and luckily it seems to be working for the most part.

And with this, since it's not a repellent how long until we see zero ants? I just killed two in our master bath and I've seen a few dead ones, so I know they're still coming indoors. With two toddlers it only takes one ant to get in a diaper or bed to cause major harm. So being ants are under the foundation I'm guessing we have a huge colony under the house, so how's the best way to treat them? I've read that for subterranean termites the solution is often drilling into the foundation and treating that way, but that seems drastic for fire ants.

I'm at my wits end, and I'm meeting with the bug guy again tomorrow to tell him whatever it takes and costs. I just don't know what to expect or request.

Edit: Also I forgot to mention, after the bug guy sprayed and baited the yard and outside of house, we've seen zero ants or bugs of any type really -- other than dead crickets on the front porch. So treating outside isn't really doing much good here... the ants are subterranean and under the foundation.

Thanks for any advice...

Alex

samalex 03-08-2011 10:53 AM

An update on this...

Mid-December our bug guy came in and sprayed inside the wall voids where the plumbing comes in plus heavily baited the yard with a granular bait, and though we saw a few come in the first week of January we've been ant free until this week. Two months was NICE with seeing no critters, but now that it's warming up I noticed a fire ant bed in the back yard yesterday and we've seen three ants in the bath room also in the last two days.

I've called our bug guy who's coming by today to bait the yard again and hopefully the ants we're seeing inside are from the nest outside. Unfortunately they're trickling in (no lines, just sporadic one or two here and there) from around the plumbing in the concrete foundation so it's not an easy task to reach that location.

I've read that fire ants don't hibernate and are always active, and though we've had a few bouts of cold weather we've had a few weeks of warmer weather in the 70's and 80's as well. I really hoped not seeing any for two months was a sign that they were gone, but I guess we'll just have to stay diligent on keeping the yard baited. The bug guy comes by every three months (last time in mid-December) to bait so I might have to do it more often then that.

Any suggestions or thoughts??? I want to do whatever we can to avoid a full on infestation like we had last September which was horrible. I'm also getting some quotes on a Termidor trench around the house, but not sure how much that'd set us back.

Take care --

jankencanada 03-08-2011 11:01 AM

Pro's & Cons
 
Now "Fire-Ants" is somethings I don't have to deal with,( Sounds Horrid)

But I do have to go out & shovel snow from Nov.until March

Good Luck with your Extermination Plans. Ken:huh:

gma2rjc 03-08-2011 11:02 AM

Thanks for the update. I'm glad you're having success with the bug guys help. Good luck in getting rid of them permanently.

waterman1971 03-08-2011 11:08 AM

Best of luck to ya'll. Fire ants bring the suck!

creeper 03-14-2011 01:40 PM

I've never experienced fire ants, just regular ones, but I imagine they exist in the same fashion. In order to be rid of them for good, you need to get the queen of the coloney, or in your case sounds like mulitple colonies. Boric acid, also known as Borax- the twenty mule team- is very effective. Gone for good. It can be found in the laundry section. Mix a scoop with a scoop of white sugar, place in a mound on the floor near where you suspect they are coming in. Soon there will be a steady stream of traffic eating and taking it back to the nest for her highness. Resist the urge to stamp on the ones who are clearly feeding and heading home, because they are taking this delicious but deadly poison home to the demise of themselves. Vacuum up the leftovers. If you continue to see them after a few days, then there is another queen and colony and start the process again. Best of luck to you

concretemasonry 03-14-2011 02:25 PM

Fire ants can be very nasty and difficult.

When I traveled in Southern India, you would never find a cobra in an area with fire ants. The people there would rather have a cobra because there not as many and they can be easier to see.

Dick

Know It ALL 03-15-2011 03:49 AM

We have a few colonies every other year.
Can't help with inside the home. But next time you refill your push mower with gas, place it over the fire ant bed and look away when the tank is nearly full. Only takes a few ounces.

noquacks 03-18-2011 07:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by creeper (Post 609117)
I've never experienced fire ants, just regular ones, but I imagine they exist in the same fashion. In order to be rid of them for good, you need to get the queen of the coloney, or in your case sounds like mulitple colonies. Boric acid, also known as Borax- the twenty mule team- is very effective. Gone for good. It can be found in the laundry section. Mix a scoop with a scoop of white sugar, place in a mound on the floor near where you suspect they are coming in. Soon there will be a steady stream of traffic eating and taking it back to the nest for her highness. Resist the urge to stamp on the ones who are clearly feeding and heading home, because they are taking this delicious but deadly poison home to the demise of themselves. Vacuum up the leftovers. If you continue to see them after a few days, then there is another queen and colony and start the process again. Best of luck to you

This sounds like a good idea.......

creeper 03-18-2011 07:42 PM

Thank-you! I've had excellent past results with the regular ants.

noquacks 03-18-2011 07:50 PM

Right! Boric and sugar...thats whats in a tube at Home Depot- a few oz for $5 or so. And that does not go very far.

creeper 03-18-2011 07:58 PM

Exactly! so for a fraction of the price you get dead ants AND extra clean laundry

Vincer 03-22-2011 01:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by creeper (Post 612187)
Exactly! so for a fraction of the price you get dead ants AND extra clean laundry


Actually Borax is NOT THE SAME as Boric Acid. They make boric acid FROM borax (not Borax the brand name, but the chemical compound). However, that's nit picking.

Buy Boric Acid in the form of products like "Roach Prufe" at the hardware store.

For normal ants, I mix one teaspoon boric acid and one teaspoon of sugar (as bait) and dissolve in a cup of boiling water. I soak a paper towel with it and leave it for the ants to find. It will kill off the colony.

Do fire ants go after sugar?

I currently am having my house treated for TERMITES, using a "green"-ish product called Altriset. It's similar to Termidor. Those would work on fire ants, but some pro has to inject it around the house. It makes a non-repellent barrier that termites/ants crawl through and bring back to the colony. It kills them in a couple of days ... enough time to kill of most or all of the colony.

But try the boric acid first. It's amazing how well it works, and how cheap it is ($8 or so for a pound if not cheaper ... will last you a very long time). $8 vs $1000 for termidor ... no brainer!

Oh yeah, as a powder, you can distribute the powder directly on the ground in problem areas.

PAbugman 03-22-2011 01:27 PM

Vincer: Good explanation on the difference tween Borax and boric acid. I think Borax could actually repel ants away from the bait, therefore not getting to the colony.

Next time you're in your lab (or kitchen) mixing up ant bait, consider mixing boric acid with apple or mint apple jelly. I think thats what our favorite ant gel bait is mixed with. The gel has active ingredient of 6% boric acid.
Also, as you may know but we should advise others of, is to never spray insecticide or even use cleaners near the bait placements as you may repel the ants from the bait and their usual paths. Let them think it is business as usual.

Altriset is a new and very effective and very safe termiticide. Went to a training seminar last Tuesday about it. Termidor works great on ants; altriset will not work on anything but termites for reasons that are hard to understand, but I believe them. Dupont won't even ask for labeling permission for other insects as it is so specific to termites.

pyper 03-22-2011 01:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by creeper (Post 609117)
I've never experienced fire ants, just regular ones, but I imagine they exist in the same fashion. In order to be rid of them for good, you need to get the queen of the coloney, or in your case sounds like mulitple colonies. Boric acid, also known as Borax-

Won't work on fire ants. Neither will pouring gasoline on them. Nor most of anything else you might try. Although if you till them often enough (with a garden tiller) they'll get the idea to move away.

You can read this page for a lot of useful information:

http://ipmworld.umn.edu/chapters/lockley.htm

Basically, slow acting bait is the best control.

They do have an upside: fire ants eat termites.

Anyway, if you just bought the house ask the closing attorney (who you paid to represent you) if you had a pest infestation report, and if it should have covered fire ants, and if you did and if it did, then is there an appropriate remedy.

One more thing that might help you long term: ants need food. Get rid of the food and the ants go away. Also work on sealing whatever openings they're using to get into the house. Put something toxic in the gaps first, and then seal them


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