Ant infestation inside walls


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Old 01-03-08, 09:21 AM
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Ant infestation inside walls

We have a house that is part of a development built in the early 90s. Each block consists of a row of 4 attached townhouses, and all are finished with cedar siding.

Since moving in several years ago I have noticed a huge ant problem. They are the very small black ones (about 1/8 inch long). They are rarely inside the house, but at any time you can see continuos heavily populated lines of ants outside travelling into and out of the walls of the house. I've tried different insecticides and perimeter sprays, and it is easy to stop the line of ants, but by the next day they have just moved their "highway" to a different spot and are entering the walls in a different place. Once I even discovered that they were going up a tree next to the house and accessing the house by a branch that was touching the roof.

Because the houses are all connected, it isn't possible to isolate our walls and get a really good treatment. I've talked to neighbors and learned that this problem has existed for years. They agree that our walls are probably filled with millions of ants, but because they mostly stay out of the living spaces, nobody has ever done anything about it.

Is this something will cause major problems in the future, or is it harmless to have ants in the walls (assuming they only live there, not eat the wood, etc.)? When we bought the place we had a good inspection and nothing about this problem was found. I want to go to the next association meeting and bring up this issue, but I also want to have some facts and recommendations related to ant infestations to present to the board.

Thanks for any help that can be offered.
 
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Old 01-05-08, 04:42 PM
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Insecticides kill only the ants who happen to make contact. Ant baits are more effective for ant control because they get carried back to the ant colonies where it is shared and can kill the colony. Once colonies are killed, then you can maintain the perimeter of the structure with a monthly residual insecticide spray, spraying foundation and soil along perimeter. For additional info from the Cooperative Ext. Agent: http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/resour...ntrol003.shtml
 
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Old 01-08-08, 07:51 AM
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I have tried an ant bait that did not work at all. The container listed about 20 types of ants on it, but these ants showed no interest in it. The actual bait granules were larger than the ants, so I don't know if that had anything to do with it.

I am pretty sure that these ants are beyond my ability to eradicate them. What I want to figure out is if they pose any kind of long term structural danger or similar threat to our houses so that I can go to the next homeowners assocaition meeting and bring up this issue.
 
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Old 01-08-08, 09:59 AM
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Identification of the type of ant you have should be made. There are many different types of ants and with different food preferences. Terro is a liquid ant bait that is a mixture of boric acid and sugar. This bait is excellent for ants that have a sweet tooth. Argentine and house ants prefer oil based baits. If you live in the south, it is possible that you have Argentine ants. House ants are everywhere. Put some ants in a zip lock sandwich bag or other container and freeze them or place in a bottle of rubbing alcohol and take to your local Cooperative Extension Agent for identification. The Agent should be able to provide you with info on ants specific to your area and make recommendations for effective baits.

Ants are usually attracted to structures that have moisture issues. Make sure gutters are clear and downspouts carry water away from structure. Soil should slope away from foundation and carry water away from foundation. There should be no water pooling around foundation when it rains. The only way to know how the structure and landscape handles runoff is to grab the umbrella and go outdoors and inspect during a heavy rain. Inspect plumbing for leaks to assure there are no internal sources of moisture in the structure.

Seal all cracks, crevices, and holes in the structure to eliminate entry into the structure. Spray exterior of structure along foundation and the soil on a monthly basis with residual insecticide. Keep shrubs and foundation plantings pruned back from structure. Pull mulch back several inches away from foundation. Prune tree branches back at least 10 feet from roof to prevent access by insects and animals.

If you have located the entry, seal it to prevent further entry of ants. You can place bait on index cards in the area of entry so that ants will take bait and carry back to the colony where it is fed to others and will kill the colony. If using a granular bait, water the granules to release the insecticide.

If neighbors are also dealing with the ant infestation and have reportedly been doing so for years, it is likely time to call a professional exterminator. Exterminators have access to tools and chemicals that are not available to homeowners. They also have the expertise to deal with insect problems. A contract with an exterminator, who will treat the structure for infestation and make monthly followup preventive treatments along the foundation, would be worth the cost to the home owner association.

http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2064.html
 
 

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