Need help with carpenter ants inside home!


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Old 02-20-18, 06:56 AM
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Need help with carpenter ants inside home!

Hi all,

Sorry if this post is a bit too detailed but I have done lots of research and am at a point where I could use some help and thought the more facts the better...

Background:
Starting about 2 months ago I started seeing lots of ants roaming in the kitchen around the sink area and also on the second floor in the bath tub / shower of master bathroom (which is right above the sink area in the kitchen). After doing some research I went with the RAID liquid ant bait placed on pieces of cardboard where ants where showing up. Eventually the ones in the shower worked... For a few days I saw hundreds of ants taking the bait from the shower back to their nest, which I now believe is somewhere in the void area of the ceiling between the kitchen and master bathroom.

Result:
After a few days of ants taking the bait back to their nest, their numbers drastically reduced. Now about two months later what I see is 4 or 5 newly dead ants every day in those areas but there is also about 4 or 5 living ants roaming as well (They look sick... do weird things). The alive ones are no longer taking the bait back to the nest. I have tried RAID, TERRO and even real honey but all they do is just eat the bait for themselves and they don't "call" other ants to take it back to their nests. After eating the bait for some time (minutes/hours) they eventually die outside either in the kitchen or bath tub. In general they don't look too interested in the food, even if it is real sugar. Some of them just walk past by it. If I kill the roaming ones there will be 4 or 5 new roaming ones the next day (in addition to the dead ones).

My theories:
After doing some research and reading lots about ants I have three theories and was wondering what you guys think:

1- The RAID bait has done its job. The queen is dead and all the other ants are sick. They are coming out to find food because they are starving, but since they are sick from RAID and borax they eventually die outside. I'll just have to let it run its course and wait for the whole colony to eventually die out.

2- Same as theory 1 but instead of looking for food they are looking to find another colony to join, but eventually die trying.

3- The dead ants are appearing because other ants in the colony are dumping them outside of their nest. This explains why there are 4 or 5 new dead ants in the bathtub every morning but does not explain why there are a few roaming ones every day as well (unless the roaming ones are too sick to stay in the colony and they are getting dumped as well?)

Thoughts?

Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 02-20-18, 09:11 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

I'm not the pro in this forum just reading thru. I believe carpenter ants like and need water. I also believe you have a water leak there that is keeping them coming back for more.
 
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Old 02-21-18, 03:59 AM
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I also believe you have a water leak there that is keeping them coming back for more.
PJ, that's a good possibility. But from my limited knowledge carpenter ants, once entrenched in a home, are very hard to get rid of. Doesn't necessarily need moist wood. The OP is on the right track and I think it will take time. My in laws with the same symptoms had this problem and it took years before he was totally clear,

Our resident experts my be able to shed more info for you. Bugman??
 
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Old 02-21-18, 07:24 AM
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Baiting for ants sometimes doesnít solve the problem the first time. Itís not unusual to have to re-start a baiting program.

Ant nutritional needs will change periodically depending on whether they want protein or carbohydrates. Liquid ant baits are carb based; maybe try a protein based gel/paste bait. The syringes of ant bait are protein based. Max-Force makes a good carpenter ant bait in a syringe. Might have to go on line for it though.

Yes, live ants will cast out the dead ants. That is one way to help find or get close to the nest. They typically donít carry them far at all, but mostly just dump them out of a crack/crevice.

Killing a queen ant isnít enough as other queens will develop. You need to kill a large cross section of the colony. Most of the ants stay in the nest to tend the queens and larvae, etc. The workers/foragers bring the food back to the nest.

For now at least, keep a fresh supply of liquid and paste bait available. Donít spray anything or use cleaners near the bait as you will be working against your baiting strategy, because of the repellency in the chemicals.

I too suspect a water leak, either present or past. Even if a leak is repaired but if wood got wet enough then mold/fungus will grow there at least to an extent that ants will thrive on it. Could also be an old or present roof leak. Keep us posted.
 
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Old 02-21-18, 09:30 AM
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Thanks all. You are all spot on about the leak. I guess that is one fact I forgot to mention We did notice a leak from somewhere near the bath tub drain (the kitchen/ceiling drywall was damp everytime we used the bath tub). But that was about 6 months ago and we have stopped using the bath tub since.... and won't be using it until we get it repaired (or renovate the bathroom).

I guess the take away here is to just clean up the dead ants and try different types of bait as you suggested and see which one will catch. I'll keep you posted.
 
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Old 02-21-18, 02:35 PM
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If you give up on baits, get back with us. There are residual insecticides that can be used indoors and outdoors that are very effective on ants.

If you repair/renovate the bathroom before the colony is dead, be prepared for them to scatter. If that happens, not the end of the world, but the baits probably wonít work anymore at that point due to the colony upheaval. We can switch to non-repellent insecticides at that time.
 
 

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