Ants, termites or other insect???

Old 10-14-04, 05:21 PM
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Question Ants, termites or other insect???

I recently acquired a condo (building structure is concrete) on the ground floor in a vacation area of Mexico. There were ants (we always called them piss ants back home) in the kichen cabinet when I first visited. I cleaned the cabinets, took away the food source left behind by the previous owner and left for two months. I just went back and saw something that concerned me. There was a line (or trail) leading from the kitchen cabinet down the wall to the kitchen countertop (specifically the backsplash). The 'line' was approximately the thickness of a computer mouse cord and was similarly raised. It seemed to be mudlike and curved down (e.g. it was not a straight line therefore definetly made by a bug). Do you have any insight as to what this may be? Was it the ants leaving the cabinet due to lack of food? Do termites leave such a mudlike trail? The building management sprayed with insecticides (including spraying into where the line was). Would this kill whatever it is?
Thanks for your response!
Old 10-15-04, 05:14 PM
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The mud tunnels of termites is a signal of termite infestation. Call a professional exterminator to have the property inspected and professionally treated with termiticide. Maintain exterminator contract and annual inspections to protect the investment in your property.

Folks tend to get confused about whether they have ants or termites when they see a swarm because both have wings. Piss ants don't make mud tunnels. The best control for ants is ant bait like Terro that gets carried back to the nest. Spraying by exterminator will kill only the live ants and not the ones back home in the ant colony.

Termites are another story. They forage in the soil for cellulose and will enter your structure through mud tunnels until they find some cellulose (like wall studs) on which to munch. They may tunnel 50-60 feet until they find nourishment. Take note that termite inspectors look for visible signs. They do not have x-ray vision and cannot see inside walls or inside floor joists. Mud tunnels are definitely a red flag. Call an exterminator immediately.

If you purchased the property, the usual scenario is that the lending institution requires a wood boring insect inspection. Again, inspectors do not have x-ray vision if you had one. If you are renting the condo, then the responsibility is the property owner in order to protect his investment in the property. Property manager spraying one time is not effective for ant problem or for termites. You can control ants yourself with ant bait. Termites require professional termiticide application.
Old 10-18-04, 05:19 PM
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If you're in Mexico, chances are your structure is masonry/concrete rather than wood frame as in the U.S. However, termites are still quite common there, and build their mud tunnels to infest floors (if wood), roof structures, door frames and cabinets, and even furniture. Since your building is not a wood structure, the condo management may have their spot treatment sufficient. However, I would call a local exterminator to make sure.

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