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SpaceCoast 08-13-2013 01:12 PM

I think I have Carpenter Ants
(Florida) There is a piece of rotted Bamboo on the side of the house and it has been turned into saw dust. There are a bunch of larger than normal black ants running around in the crumbled wood/saw dust.

These photos are of one of these ants from the Bamboo

The home is a cinderblock frame, but about ten feet away I noticed some black ants were headed up to a hole in the attic. This is what they looked like. They look different from the ants in the Bamboo but I am wondering if they could also be carpenter ants, perhaps with a different task and appearance.

Here is the Bamboo, you can see some ants in there but not too clearly.

So what is my course of action? Thank You.

nanuk 08-13-2013 07:00 PM

The little one is also a carpenter ant, only stage one (younger).
Get the "liquid ant baits" by Terro, and set a few along their path. Do not disturb them in any way. Replenish with fresh when their feeding slows down. It might take a week or two if it is a primary colony living in the attic (i.e. with a queen), but see below.

If the ants show little interest on the sweet bait (which I doubt), you might want to try a protein-based bait, like Advance 375A. Do not mix the sweet with the protein for "better" results. They will go either for the one or the other based on the life cycle of the colony.

Once you see no more activity, excavate around the bamboo and saturate the damaged wood and the soil with any insecticide. Most likely the primary colony is in the bamboo and the attic contains a satellite colony, but you must go slowly so you can get the attic ants first.

Note that carpenter ants are mostly active during the first hours of the night. If you cannot resist "watching" :) try to use one of those red-light flashlights so you don't scare them away.

Let us know how it worked.

SpaceCoast 08-14-2013 01:40 AM

If the Attic colony is a satellite colony that does not contain a queen, how will setting traps for the ants going into the satellite colony destroy it? I was under the impression to destroy a colony you need to kill the queen but there is no queen in a satellite colony?

nanuk 08-14-2013 06:27 AM

First, you do not know what's in the attic, so treat that as if it were the parent, primary colony.

Second, satellite colonies contain eggs and larvae, and don't necessarily need a queen to thrive. They need the workers though that feed the colony. You can't kill all those workers unless you know where the nest is and have access to that part of the roof.

Your call.

SpaceCoast 08-14-2013 07:51 AM

I see. Thanks, will follow up with results.

SpaceCoast 08-21-2013 01:51 AM

The attic ants have finished off 3 boxes of Terro liquid baits and I just opened the last bait (will get more tomorrow) there are still a lot of them about. I am waiting to kill the Bamboo exterior nest until the attic ants die as advised.

nanuk 08-21-2013 06:34 AM

Give them more than one station at a time so that more ants have access to the bait.

Do you see them fighting for food? If they do, it means that the original colony is weakened to a point that another colony is trying to claim the bait.
Ants of the same colony do not fight.

Be patient and resist attacking with insecticides. Once you spray, the bait tactic is taken away.

SpaceCoast 12-10-2013 10:11 PM

I followed your advice and the ants disappeared. When I dug up that Bamboo there were no ants to be found.

But now I am actually seeing large red carpenter ants inside of my house. Maybe one large ant every four days. I don't know where they are coming from. I try to track them but they don't ever seem to be going back to a nest.

What is my play? I am scared they are in the attic somewhere. Do I call a pest company? I have tons of insulation and not much space up there and wonder if they will find anything?

Startingover 12-11-2013 06:50 AM


I'm not far from you, inland. Be careful. I've gotten some bad bites, pulling weeds, from big ants. I can actually see them throw their head back before they chomp down on my hand. Hurts.

I'll copy and save the info nanuk gave you, in case I need it.

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