Carpenter Ant Advice Needed

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Carpenter Ant Advice Needed

Postby Lisa P. on Thu Mar 22, 2001 2:41 pm

We recently found out that carpenter ants have been munching away on some big load-bearing beams in our basement. We've called in a few pest control firms to look at the problem, and each one has a different approach to the problem. Some want to treat monthly, others do a one-time treatment that is guaranteed for a certain period of time. Some use a powder, some use a spray or a bait. We are confused about which firm to go with. Does anyone have any experience/advice with this problem? (We live just outside of Philadelphia, if that helps to clarify the type of ants we have) Thanks!

lisa@marketspan.com
Lisa P.
 

Re: Carpenter Ant Advice Needed

Postby Ken Holmes on Thu Mar 22, 2001 6:42 pm

Hi Lisa,

Here's a story about carpenter ants here on Old House Web: http://www.oldhouseweb.net/stories/Detailed/10296.shtml

And at the bottom of this page, I've included a link to a story about carpenter ants, termites and other pests that we published recently on Buildscape, another site I'm associated with.

Personal experience suggests to me that if indeed you're dealing with carpenter ants, you've actually got two problems:

First, carpenter ants usually won't attack dry, solid wood. They tend to make their nests in wood already softened by rot (or, if it isn't really rotten yet, at least wood that is perpetually saturated with water, and has thus begun to go soft.)

So, usually when you've got carpenter ants, there's an underlying water intrusion problem that you need to solve -- not just because the ants will return, but also because there's probably structural weakness already in the wood the ants invade.

I'll defer to someone else on the second issue -- what kind of treatment to use. Again, my own experience is that if you get rid of the underlying moisture problem, and then replace the already-damaged wood where the ants are living, these critters will go elsewhere. They're not terribly ambitious -- and can find an easier place to live.

Hope this helps,

Ken Holmes, Publisher, The Old House Web



Buildscape story about carpenter ants, etc.
kholmes@oldhouseweb.com
Ken Holmes
 

Re: Carpenter Ant Advice Needed

Postby Lisa P. on Thu Mar 22, 2001 11:01 pm

Thanks for the info. Our entire house has water issues -- it used to be a grist mill, with a stream running through the basement. $10,000 worth of waterproofing and 2 dehumidifiers later, we finally have the water issue somewhat under control.

However, the beams that the ants are in run across the basement ceiling in an area that is partially outside -- the wood really isn't damp at all. They aren't infesting the support posts, which do get somewhat damp at the bottom. So oddly, they seem to be in one of the few areas that doesn't have a moisture problem. The beams that are infested are very old -- they are actually almost log-like (they still have their bark attached). They have splits in them (I assume from shrinking/drying from age) and the ants are apparently up in these splits -- you can see the sawdust-stuff coming out of all of the splits. I have never seen an actual ant but the pest control folks tell me that the sawdust particles are a sure sign of infestation.

So anyhow, it doesn't seem like there's a moisture problem to fix here. And unfortunately, these beams are basically resting on top of stone foundation walls and supporting my entire first floor, so I don't think they'll be very easy to rip out and replace. They don't seem to be sagging yet (guess it takes a lot of ant infestation to weaken a 12" log beam!) so I am hoping that just killing the existing ants will fix the problem. (Actually, I'm more than just hoping -- I desperately need it to be so, since I can't afford to spend any more money on this house!!! Besides the waterproofing, we've already shelled out for rewiring, a new roof, exterior painting, and bathroom updates -- I love this house, but it's turning out to be a complete money pit!)

lisa@marketspan.com
Lisa P.
 

Re: Carpenter Ant Advice Needed

Postby sue on Fri Mar 23, 2001 12:34 am

Probably, you need to get a pest co. inspector out to look at your problem. I have seen carpenter ant frass (sp?), the wood particles that the ants push out when they are building their nest in the wood and it isn't a saw dust material at all. It looks kind of like the old rock wool insulation -- little curlicues of wood, not like saw dust. If you are seeing something like sawdust, it might be bores of some kind.

I think they treat carpenter ants with Diazinon. You might want to have the exterminators do it first and get some information on the chemical they use. I know what they use for carpenter ants is cheaper than what they use to treat for termites. Carpenter ants can do a lot more damage faster than termites. And, I just thought of this: usually you do see some carpenter ants walking around and you said you hadn't seen them. They're just the very large black ants like you see on peony bushes.

ssbungalow@aol.com
sue
 

Re: Carpenter Ant Advice Needed

Postby Don M on Fri Mar 23, 2001 11:39 am

Hi Lisa, The information you have been given above is right on in my experience. Based on your description my vote would be either termites or powder post beetles. As Sue and Ken said, carpenter ants are very large black ants that invade very moist wood. I had them under the skirting boards in my house sill. After I removed all the damaged wood, regraded and sloped the soil so water flowed away from the foundation I used an regular ant spray, treated the sill with penta, it dried out and I never had another ant problem. Powder post beetles are tiny and usually all you see is very fine saw dust powder and tiny pin holes in the wood. They are difficult to get rid of but also do much less damage over a prolonged period of time. I had the timbers in our barn treated last year while the floor was out and they were exposed. Terminex told me that really getting at all sides of the beams is best but not to expect that the treatment will get rid of them because they are deep in the wood. I guess I would try to get an entomologist or some one very knowlegable to comme see what you really have. Good Luck, Don

donald_a_mclean@navsup.navy.mil
Don M
 

Re: Carpenter Ant Advice Needed

Postby kazibeth on Wed Apr 04, 2001 6:16 pm

We're in an old house in UK - 450years+ old and have similar lodgers - called woodworm & more dangerously 'death watch beetle' that only invade hard wood.

In UK we usually spray the affected timber with a chemical solution that lasts. As we are doing the place up I sourced some neat chemical to let odwn & spray as I need, which allows you to revisit sites and go at it again until you are sure that the infestation is stopped

The chemical is PERMITHRIN - that is used in the horticultural industry - seesm to kill every bug in & outside the house I've tried it on , including garden ants - we don't have any that carry tool boxes too !

Some recommend that the only real long term cure is to drill beams from above and leave thses largish holes full of a paste that gradually invades the timber making it distasteful to any bug . Spraying is realtively low tech and as long as the person is well covered with proper health & safety gear - masks goggles overalls etc - which is usually cheaper than the contractors time - quite safe <s



kazibeth@ivillage.com
kazibeth
 

Re: Carpenter Ant Advice Needed

Postby keren on Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:51 am

Hii all,
I live in southern California where termites are a big nuisance.

Both neighbors on either side of me say they have to be tented every five years.

Since I'm renovating the house and have replaced 50% of the framing and have most of the interior walls and a third of the exterior walls open, I thought it would be a good time to get some termite protection.

Had a couple of contractors give me quotes. All will only warranty any pesticide application for 12 months. (Using Termidor).

I did some research and found that Boracare claims to offer 12-year protection against all wood boring insects, termites and fungi.
It is supposedly absorbed deep into the wood.

Does anyone have any experience with this product? Does it perform as advertised?

Is application as easy as it seems?
keren
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:43 am

Re: Carpenter Ant Advice Needed

Postby wtson123 on Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:24 am

keren wrote:Hii all,
I live in southern California where termites are a big nuisance.

Both neighbors on either side of me say they have to be tented every five years.

Since I'm renovating the house and have replaced 50% of the framing and have most of the interior walls and a third of the exterior walls open, I thought it would be a good time to get some termite protection.

Had a couple of contractors give me quotes. All will only warranty any pesticide application for 12 months. (Using Termidor).

I did some research and found that Boracare claims to offer 12-year protection against all wood boring insects, termites and fungi.
It is supposedly absorbed deep into the wood.


Does anyone have any experience with this product? Does it perform as advertised?

Is application as easy as it seems?


Hii keren,
I am looking for some ants control products which are not harmful to kids.
So can you please suggest me from where I can buy them??
wtson123
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:19 am


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