Carpenter Ants in cold dry house (60 degrees)


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Old 02-01-16, 06:39 PM
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Carpenter Ants in cold dry house (60 degrees)

Hello Everyone,

I am doing small amount of work in a house, owner wants some small repairs done. House in southern Minnesota.

House info: early 70's ranch style, basement ceiling paneled, house presently empty since late summer, heat is set at 60 degrees, humidity is at 27%, no humidifier going. Occasional water usage- bathroom time, and drinking small amount of water from kitchen sink.

About 2 weeks ago, I saw some carpenter ants. I find some live and dead in 2 rooms, thats all. I did find small amount of frass at bottom of closet door today, and still finding live ants in 2 rooms only. Found between 15-20 ants since I first noticed 2 weeks ago. The 2 rooms are back to back bedroom-bathroom and lite, mounted above sink, is on in bathroom all the time. Room locations are - bedroom is on a corner outside wall - bedroom - closet - bathroom...... and lite is on the back side of closet wall, would ants be behind lite in bathroom?

Would they need a warm place to stay in this house? There is a flourescent lite on at all times.

If I turned heat way down, what would happen to ants?

I've been trying to find any nests, etc, but not yet
 

Last edited by troubles again; 02-01-16 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 02-01-16, 06:54 PM
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Can't answer about their temperature tolerance, but they have been known to nest in doors. Since you saw frass at bottom of door, they may be in there. If you press a glass to the door and your ear you may hear them...or examine the bottom of the door with a mirror.
 
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Old 02-01-16, 07:39 PM
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One of their needs is moisture. Either they find a source inside, like a roof, flashing, or plumbing leak or they will have access to the soil. A sump pit or perimeter drain can have water year round. Although the ground may be frozen, the soil next to the foundation usually remains above freezing. Given the outside temps, I would start by looking for sources inside.

As for cooling the house to get rid of them, they live in the woods often inside frozen trees. They just thaw out and start over in the spring.

There are ant baits like Terro where the ants take it back and feed it to the rest of the colony. Now, maybe I'm sadistic, but when I start seeing them in or around my house in the spring, I catch then and apply a touch of Terro directly to them and then release them and hope they make it home. No definite way to know for sure, but my efforts usually result in zero ants within a week or so.

I also discovered a path inside one of my walls when remodeling. I placed several drops of the Terro on a piece of plastic next to where I saw them. Later that day I got a picture of 4 or 5 of them lined up like pigs at a trough. That was the last I saw of any in that location.

So, ant baits and you probably have a leak somewhere.

Bud
 
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Old 02-03-16, 07:27 PM
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Carpenter ants do not need moisture, they will infest sound wood also as they simply use wood for there home and dont consume it like moister ants or termites.

You should inspect the exterior of the house and see if you can find them trailing outside. Most exterminators also will come inspect and give bids free. If you find them trailing or active outside i would simply ask for a exterior termidor spray and give it two months. Another termidor application could be required.
 
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Old 02-04-16, 04:06 PM
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Carpenter ants arenít very active when it gets cool/cold. They hibernate quite well if outdoors. Indoors they will live normally year round if the temp is higher than 60 degrees. At this temp they will be a bit dormant which makes treating them difficult with the traditional liquids and baits.

You wonít get the house interior temp cold enough to do anything other than damage the house. They live/hibernate inside tree trunks quite well. They live in voids, inside wood, etc. They may or may not chew wood. They do like to eat fungus from moist wood, even if it was wet but now dry.

As they are at least partially dormant they will be hard to track down. The best bet is where their frass is found you should inspect upwards of that for where it is coming from. That will be close to the nest. Aerosols or drilling into voids, studs, etc could work even though dormant. Iíve found them living in the ceiling above the insulation quite nicely.

I very much agree that a treatment using fipronil as the active ingredient should be done on exterior. It may be too cold now but it wouldnít be wrong to do it. Certainly do it again in the spring.
 
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Old 02-05-16, 06:55 AM
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Carpenter ants are more active after dark so there may be more activity than realized. I like using non-repellent insecticides for ants. Fipronil (Termidor, Taurus, etc) on exterior as it is not labeled for interior used. Phantom for interior. How long will the house be empty? Much easier to treat an empty house than occupied.
 
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Old 02-22-16, 08:01 PM
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Sorry about slow replys......

I should mention, before I started putting ANY kind of bait down, I was mostly finding dead ants, this was before I put bait down. I would see an ant or two moving, but after about ten minutes, they stopped moving, I'd come back hours later and dead. Again this was before any bait was used. Why??? no idea...

As of today, I've still only seen ants in the same two rooms, I even went from about 10pm to 3am a few times.

Frass pile, which is less than a teaspoon, hasnt grown over the past 2 weeks.

Frass pile is under a sliding closet door, (closet is 3 doors wide, seems the only frass is under middle door) and of course the hardest to remove, (figures ants would use that one) LOL, which I'm hoping to remove door(s) sometime this week, and take outside. Floors in house are carpeted and owners dont want any ruined carpet.

House will be empty for at least 2 more months.

Thanks everryone for the advice!!!

Later
 
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Old 02-22-16, 08:05 PM
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Oh, I have found dead ants in the frass pile. Do I remove them?
 
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Old 02-23-16, 06:26 AM
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The colony is most likely above the frass/ant pile. No point removing it until you deal with the colony. Carpenter ants are known to nest in hollow core doors. Could that be the case with the closet doors?

Ants have a natural mortality just like anything else. When they die the remaining ants simply throw their bodies out with the frass. The pile with the ant bodies is very close to the colony.
 
 

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