Thought I got rid of carpenter ants, now what?

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Old 06-19-09, 04:24 PM
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Thought I got rid of carpenter ants, now what?

Hi,

Last summer we had an ant invasion in our house, we put out ant traps but they didn't do much good. After about a month I decided that maybe these weren't the common ants that I was accustomed to - they were longer, black and I started noticing them going into a door frame that seemed to be slowly eaten away. So I did some web research and discovered I had carpenter ants and so I bought some recommended bait - Maxforce. Right before we went on a 10 day vacation I put it out and when we returned there were no more ants - it worked great!

I had also noticed that the ants had damaged an old deck that I was going to replace this summer so I wasn't too concerned. So today I decided to begin to tear the deck down and I started with the rotted/eaten section. To my surprise the wood was crawling with ants. These are smaller than the carpenter ants - brown with darker ends. We had little red ants in the house but these are different. I'll put out some more Maxforce but I want to make sure I get rid of these things for good (meaning I'll do multiple treatments all throughout the year).

So my question is - could these be a different variety of carpenter ants or do more common ants take up residence where carpenter ants have been? Or do some non-carpenter ant varieties also go after wood? Since I'm putting in a new deck I want to make sure I understand what these guys are.

Thanks!
Bob
 
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Old 06-24-09, 11:17 PM
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Hi Bob,

This site will explain why you are seeing different sizes and colors of carpenter ants and more.
http://entowww.tamu.edu/extension/bulletins/l-1783.html

Good luck with your deck!
Newt
 
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Old 06-25-09, 08:12 AM
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Thanks, Newt, I appreciate it!

When the deck came down I looked carefully for any evidence of termites and mostly saw ants. Actually, the person that put up this deck must have either used old wood for the rims or it wasn't treated because it was all rotted away. While ants carpenter ants may have caused part of the problem, the wood itself was bad - there were replacement joists on the interior that were just fine. It was clear that the rims were older wood, probably from a long ago deck - not the same wood that was used for the joists. So the ants I saw in the rotten wood were (IMO) just living in a nice place for them, they weren't carpenters.

That being said, I did see one critter that had more of a pincher instead of an antenna. In looking at various websites of pictures of ants and termites, I think what I saw was a soldier termite. To be sure I'm going to have a pro inspect the place, can't be too careful with termites.

Bob
 
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Old 06-25-09, 10:20 AM
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Bob, you are very welcome! It sounds like the wood you are describing was not treated. We found that to be the case on our old decks when we started renovations.

I'd love to know what the pro says as to the id of what you are seeing. I suspect if you don't have evidence of their tunnels then it might not be termites.

Newt
 
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