Carpenter ants in bathroom


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Old 03-07-05, 04:45 AM
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Carpenter ants in bathroom

I am having a problem with carpenter ants in my 2nd story master bathroom. In the fall I found about 6 ants. I have seen none this winter until about a week ago. I found 2 or 3 a day, and about 8 yesterday. I am positive they are coming from underneath the toilet. This is the only room in the house I have seen them.

My question is what is the best way to get rid of them. Should I go through a multiple step treatment program with an exterminator? I'm sure it will be costly but I want to eliminate them. Would a bunch of bait traps work or just ant spray? Any idea how many could be in the floorboards?? Any advice is appreciated.
 
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Old 03-07-05, 01:44 PM
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Hammylinky,

I find washrooms to be the secondmost common spot for carpenter ant colonies, next to kitchens. This is usually because water is involved in both of these rooms and water leaks may occur from time to time. Carpenter ants need softened or rotting wood to make thier nests in.

I find, like termites, carpenter ant treatments are usually best left to the experts. It usually involves a lot of drilling and dusting in order to do the job properly. I find baits don't work effectively due to the fact that carpenter ants have such an abundance of food sources.

If you choose to use a professional company, I would get 2-3 companies come over for estimates, so you get a comparison of each. Make sure you ask them about a guarantee. And by the way, where I am, carpenter ant jobs could run anywhere from a couple hundred bucks to say five hundred bucks. Depending on the home and the extent of the problem.

Good luck,

Jay
 
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Old 03-07-05, 07:52 PM
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Hammylinky,
Where are you located? Eastern species tend to be associated with moisture more frequently than western species. The house-invading western species can be found in bone-dry wood and rigid insulation. You probably have a nest in the exterior wall of the bathroom. However, it is possible that this number of ants came in from outside (especially if you are in a part of the country that has had a warm winter). If you have a wall nest that is coming out of winter dormancy you'll need to get the house treated (use a drinking glass to listen inside the wall for scratching sounds). You might want to wait until April to allow the nest to become fully active. No need to sign up for periodic maintenance treatments - a single treatment will do. The standard treatment is to drill the exterior wall voids and place a toxic barrier inside the walls that foraging ants must cross to get outdoors. Remove all vegetation that contacts the house. The least-toxic material for the wall void treatment is sodium borate (TimBor). Good luck.
 
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Old 03-08-05, 04:54 AM
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I'm located in Connecticut and we have had a pretty cold winter. I called a national company and they wanted $350 for a single treatment and six $90 treatments over the next year. I thought that was pretty excessive. I called a local company who said they will do one treatment for $300. If I have anymore problems throughout the spring and summer they will come out for free. I liked that deal much better. He said he will spot treat the source (under the toilet) and treat the perimiter of the house. He didn't mention anything about drilling in wall voids. He said he may need to come out in another couple weeks and do one more treatment. Does this sound like it will be an effective treatment?

My lot is pretty woodsy, especially where the nest is located. I think the access point may be underneath my deck. It runs about 25 feet along the house and does not get much sun. Seems like a great place for ants to hang out.
 
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Old 03-08-05, 07:57 AM
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Don't loose sight of the possibilty that these ants are being drawn to wet or rotted wood under your toilet.This could suggest that the wax seal on that toilet is leaking.There may already be some floor damage and if left unaddressed this situation could reach the point of having to cut out and replace the flooring around the toilet.I would suggest that during the process of addressing the ants you also take a good look at the condition of the flooring around the toilet and the toilet's wax seal.
 
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Old 03-08-05, 08:17 AM
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Sounds like a nest in the wall that's coming out of winter dormancy. You might want to take a few ants to your local county extension office (usually where the county courthouse is) or the agricultural university (Amherst) and have someone id them to be certain they are carpenter ants. If they are moisture ants (comon in bathrooms) then you may have a whole different problem. The perimeter treatment should include drilling and treating wall voids. If it does not, $300 is too high. If they just spray the foundation wall you'll probably not eliminate the nest.
 
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Old 03-08-05, 08:19 AM
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Oops, Amherst is in Mass. I'm not sure where your agricultural university is. Check the phone book under county government for Extension. Good luck.
 
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Old 03-08-05, 09:15 AM
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Yeah, I am going to pull up the toilet. The bathroom was renovated within the past few years by the prior owners. Maybe the seal was not put on properly and there is a bigger problem. The floor is tiled so hopefully I'll be able to see evidence of any leaks by viewing just the flange area.

Do moisture ants look any different from carpenter ones? I am pretty sure the ones I am seeing are carpenter ants.
 
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Old 03-08-05, 09:57 AM
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Since Termidor has been labeled for ant treatments I no longer drill for carpenter ants. Also with baits such as Advance Carpenter Ant Bait, I haven't done a drill out in several years, I have not had the need to and I have had great success gaining control using these products. What I do for Carpenter Ants is I use Phantom on the inside it is a spray, and then I use Termidor on the outside. I do a onetime service and have not had any re-occurences of Carpenter Ants. It works well and you dont have to de-face your property to do it. The ants will come out at night foraging and will get into these products and will carry them back into the colonies and it will eliminate the colony, it is really as simple as that.

Don't overpay for a drill out when it is not really needed. There are way better and much easier ways to get rid of these ants. For more information about it you can read about it on Termidor's website.
 
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Old 03-08-05, 10:06 AM
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Bugman Tim - are the ants forgaging outside in my area yet? Right now it is snowing like crazy and we have a good 8 inches of snow on the ground. I'm having the guy come out Thursday to spray. Even though I've seen activity should I wait until the weather gets warmer or will it get even worse? I want to eliminate the nest in one shot.
 
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Old 03-08-05, 01:38 PM
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Hammylinky,


The perimeter treatment should include drilling and treating wall voids. If it does not, $300 is too high. If they just spray the foundation wall you'll probably not eliminate the nest.

Ditto that.

I'm still a big fan of the drilling and dusting method. I realize that there may be other methods out there - I haven't tried them myself, however I like the feeling of tracking down the ants to a particular area of the home and dusting the wall voids. This ensures that you get chemical right to the approximate nesting area, thereby eliminating the colony. Sometimes by removing electrical plates, etc, to get access to the wall voids, no drilling is needed. If drilling is still needed, we're talking about 1/4" holes that can be easily patched and painted, like they were never there.

As far as ants foraging for food this early outside with snow on the ground, I doubt it very much.

If you want to eliminate the nest in one shot, I would have to agree with JD Bugs when he says its best to wait a while until the nest gets more active. That is if you can stand to see the odd one here and there until then.

Just my two cents. Good luck.

Jay
 
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Old 03-08-05, 05:12 PM
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If there's any doubt about which ant you have I'd strongly suggest getting an id before proceeding with treatment because the approach will be different for different ants. That said, if you opt for a carpenter ant treatment (whichever way you go) wait until at least mid-April, even mid-May might not hurt (as long as the snow has stopped!). Moisture ants can be dealt with by simply repairing the leak and eliminating the moisture problem - no need to apply pesticides indoors. Good luck.
 
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Old 03-17-05, 07:07 PM
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Yes wait until the ants are more active, it is useless to do much of anything with snow on the ground. Many of the ants are dormant and not moving much, the ones you are seeing represent a very small portion of the colony. I would wait until the weather gets warm and stays warm consistently.

For those of you that have not tried the newer methods on the market today you need to, yes you WILL eliminate the entire colony with a perimeter spray using Termidor, how do you think it is so effective on Termites and will not do the same thing on ants? It is as effective on ants as it is on termites. Drilling is a method to use only when you cannot apply Phantom and Termidor and about the only time I could think of that being the case would be if you lived in New York where Termidor is not available.
 
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Old 03-18-05, 02:36 PM
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I don't see anywhere on Termidor's site that says that either it or Phantom is available in Canada. I guess I'll stick to my Ficam D. I've got great success with it anyhow. Hey, different strokes for different folks.

Good luck to you Hammylinky in ridding your house of these ants.

Jay
 
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Old 03-22-05, 09:07 AM
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Well, I have an update on the problem. The guy I hired came out and sprayed about a week and a half ago. Since he will come out for free again I figured it could not hurt having him come out early. It's warmed up into the mid 50's and most of the snow is gone. The first few days after he sprayed I found a few dead ants in the bathroom, maybe 10 in total. I have not seen any in the past 4 days or so. Hopefully they won't re-emerge anytime soon and the nest is gone.

Oh, and the source in the shower was not the drain (thankfully). The corner shower comes in multiple pieces. Toward the bottom there is a seam. They appear to be coming in from that tiny seam. I plan to caulk it up over the weekend to keep any remaining ants out of the shower. My wife doesn't want to share showers with any critters.
 
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Old 03-22-05, 01:33 PM
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Hammylinky,

Did you ever get to positively identify these ants. I'm assuming you did if you had a pest control guy come over.

That crease in the shower wall sounds suspicious. I wonder if there could be water damage back there that maybe carpenter ants would be attracted to. If I were you, I would keep my eye on that area.

Good luck, hope it works out for you.

Jay
 
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Old 03-23-05, 09:28 AM
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No, I did not get a positive ID. My wife was home when the guy showed up and I forgot to tell her to ask him. If he has to come back out I will ask him.

The crease is about 6 inches above the shower floor and runs the length of the shower. I guess some water could splash up in there. I am going to keep an eye on that area and the ceilings on the 1st floor. I don't think there is a leak. Well, at least I really hope not.
 
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Old 07-13-08, 02:45 PM
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Exclamation Indoor Carpenter Ants

I think I'm a little late to this party since i noticed this thread was posted in 2005. But I have a few questions.

A few years ago I identified I had carpenter ants flying around my house. I didn't take much notice. I killed a few crawling ones too. Every year since I think 2005, they would come out but there wasn’t too many. I say under fifty in all for the season.

This year, actually on 7/11/2008, I woke up and notice about 50 crawling all at once all over the kitchen floor. I sprayed with an indoor kitchen brand botanical can and the little things rolled up into a ball and died. I vacuumed them up and thought that was it.

On 7/13/2008, I woke up at 7:30am and found the entire kitchen floor crawling with hundreds. Yes, hundreds. I was in shock. I took the spray out again, and after about an hour, vacuumed everything up again.

Five minutes later I noticed larvae in on corner of the kitchen. They seem to appear from nowhere. For a while I thought I was going mad. It would seem that if I blinked, more would just appear. Really!!!. I thought they were using some kind of transporter technology.

I would vacuum them up and minutes later more would appear. Then big black worker ants seem to carry more to that same spot. I figured out that the larvae were being dropped out of a small crevice, that's why there were appearing out of nowhere.

Well at this point i had it. I pulled out the dishwasher expecting to find a nest or something but I didn't. Everything was dry. I sprayed the crevice, broke through the wall (1/2") and sprayed more in there just in case. I took everything out from under the sink (which seemed dormant, nothing moving in there) drilled through the cabinet flooring under the sink, sprayed some more in there for good measure.

Now can someone explain to me what is really going on here? and how I can eliminate this infestation?

PS: They don’t seem active at night. I only see them after 7am in the morning. At 5am, everything is quiet. Is this normal behavior for a Carpenter ant?
 

Last edited by osiris12; 07-13-08 at 03:10 PM. Reason: HELP!
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Old 07-15-08, 06:01 AM
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Osiris,
Bad news. Judging by the presence of the larva, it would seem that you have a colony in the wall. When disturbed the carpenter ants begin to relocate the colony. They can move the entire thing in about five minutes. They probably won't go far though; and they will be back unless you correct the conditions that attracted them in the first place. If you have them it's most likly an indicator that you have or have had water intrusion inside the wall. Find and fix the leak. Then replace any water damaged wood. Before you reclose the wall have the void treated for ants, then close it up. Lots of work now, but it will save you lots of money and health issues (Black Mold ect.) in the future.
 
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Old 07-17-08, 01:00 PM
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Unhappy

Originally Posted by genshin View Post
Osiris,
Bad news. Judging by the presence of the larva, it would seem that you have a colony in the wall. When disturbed the carpenter ants begin to relocate the colony. They can move the entire thing in about five minutes. They probably won't go far though; and they will be back unless you correct the conditions that attracted them in the first place. If you have them it's most likly an indicator that you have or have had water intrusion inside the wall. Find and fix the leak. Then replace any water damaged wood. Before you reclose the wall have the void treated for ants, then close it up. Lots of work now, but it will save you lots of money and health issues (Black Mold ect.) in the future.
Thanks for the reply.

That's sobering news. The little opening i saw was underneath the kitchen sink, between the cabinet flooring and the kitchen floor. I drilled holes into the cabinet flooring and sprayed.

But I didn't see any water damage under their. But I'm pretty sure they are or were living between that small kick plate. I'm going to pull up the cabinet flooring and see what is really under there.

When I woke up that morning, I may have caught their entire clan trying to relocate. I swear I killed hundreds maybe a thousand.

How big can a group get? Are we talking hundreds of thousands? Also, why do they seem to come up in early morning around sunrise and not at night. Somewhere I heard they were nocturnal? but I don't see any evidance to that.

So far it's been about 6 days and I have yet to see more ants.
 
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Old 07-17-08, 01:50 PM
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I've seen carpenter ants active during the day.

Newt
 
 

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