do my carpenter ants have alzheimers?

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Old 03-05-07, 04:20 PM
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do my carpenter ants have alzheimers?

I've recently noticed carpenter ants in my house and I've placed baits/food in front of the ants to then follow them back to their colony. However, after feeding on the bait, they simply wander around rather aimlessly for literally hours. It's like they've lost the directions. I've yet to find out where they are coming from. They also can be seen lying on their back just twitching their legs all day, then in the evening they apparently have a miraculous recovery and are gone. Any suggestions?

Also, they don't seem to like ANY of the baits that I've placed. I've used Gourmet Liquid Ant Bait (label says it is supposed to satisfy both the sugar and protein requirements), MaxForce gel and granular baits (again, for the sugar and protein), and Terro liquid baits (even though this seems like the least effective treatment due to its availability at the local hardware store, I've at least gotten one ant to eat from it). Are my ants just being snooty or should I be doing something else?

Thirdly, I plan on drilling and puffing insecticide dust in places I've seen frass, however I live in a chalet style house with solid wood walls and ceiling--basically I don't have voids like a typical home does. Does this mean that I have to find the exact location of the colony instead of being able to drill and dust in several points around the visible frass if I had wall voids? Anyone else had carpenter ants in a log cabin type house?

I've had the leaky roof replaced so this should address the initial problem of moisture.
 
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Old 03-20-07, 08:07 PM
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Frass is an indication of a nest. If you treat and eliminate the nest, that's a sure way of eliminating the carpenter ants. If you knock on wood and listen and hear the sound of crinkling cellophane, you have discovered a nest. The problem is that there's usually a main colony and several satellite colonies. The main colony could be outdoors in your yard, so you need to inspect tree stumps, wood piles, and other locations that may contain a nest. Use a screw driver to tap on wood to discover hollow areas and to penetrate suspect areas.

Nests in wall voids can be treated by puffing in insecticide dust. There are also aerosols with crack/crevice tip. Do not use liquid insecticides. Carpenter ants don't get too excited about baits, but the Dept. of Agriculture recommends Whitmire Granular Carpenter Ant Bait, Maxforce Carpenter Ant Gel, and Maxforce Outdoor Ant Killer Granules placed along outdoor foraging trails. You can locate outdoor trails at night with flashlight. They can be seen travelling along fences, tree branches, wires, pipes, driveways, sidewalks, edging materials, etc. If using baits indoors, do not used insecticides or pesticides, as these tend to repel ants. The idea of using baits is to get the ants to carry them back to the colony where they are shared with other ants. Insecticides kill only those ants that come in contact with them and have no effect on those in the colony. Alternate your baits, as ants sometimes prefer sweets and sometimes protein. Some put out both sweet bait and protein bait.

Check in area where you had moisture issues for nests, as ants prefer a location where there is a source of moisture. Check around doors and windows, bathroom walls, laundry room walls, and where there are interior sources of moisture including attic and basement. Inspect under plastic vapor retarders in crawl space. If plastic is used in beds in landscape, check under them. Inspect and seal openings where pipes and wires enter the structure. Check outdoor plants for aphids and treat, as they like to snack on aphids. Eliminate overhanging tree branches and overgrown shrubs. Tree branches should be cut back 8-10 feet from structure.

You can follow ants to nests. Place some food in their path and follow them home. Remember, night is the best time to play detective. Temperature should be above 55 degrees, as they prefer to stay home when its too cool.

Treating perimeter of structure with residual insecticide like Suspend, a liquid, or Demon WP and Cyper WP, wettable powders, will keep ants and other insect pests at bay. Spray foundation and side of structure up 2-3 feet from soil level and spray surrounding soil, around doors, windows, inside/outside garage, basement, and other potential ant territories. This can be done on a quarterly basis.

Remember not to use insecticides in areas where baits are being used. Remove any other food sources like crumbs on the floor or pet food dishes. Other sources of food will distract ants from the baits. Also remember that carpenter ants are most active at night and you will have to be nocturnal too to locate their nests. These can be several located 100 feet or more from the main colony.
 
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