Posted by Scott Paulson on 11:28:23 7/15/2008 from 126.96.36.199:
Hi John, so I sound somewhat professional when dealing with an exterminator, I'm trying to determine the best method of discouraging ants from occupying my house without extreme use of insecticides (many kids and pets inside and out). The story all started last fall when I discovered a carpenter ant nest (babies and all) in water damaged wood within a window frame and associated structural wood. Working from the outside, I used the knee-jerk approach of spraying standard ant insecticide on the nest area and then sealing the damage area with new wood, caulking and paint. So, needless to say, the ants have moved this spring and summer into the roof space above these picture windows (ant sawdust in the attic crawl space), and the second story bedroom and bathroom walls (ants using the space behind the baseboard trim as a travel route, continuous crunching sounds in certain wall spots, sawdust accumulation in certain baseboard spots). I've done a minimum of outside cleaning of plant debris and dirt away from the sides of the house (which is brick and stucco sided), but have not eliminated all outdoor access points as there are wall climbing vines, a deck attached to the house, and other access points that would be hard to eliminate. There is also extensive wood decking that is ant inhabitted, and should be replaced soon. However, before disturbing the outside ants, I would like to encourage the inside ants to get out. I would prefer a lower toxicity approach such as boric acid dusting inside wall spaces, but do recognize that spot treatment of Phantom would be benifical. I do not want a total insecticide program to eliminate all ants, and do realize that I need to do some further sealing to stop water intrusion after the ants have been dealt with (i.e., attack the ant problem before disturbing them with construction work on the walls). Can water damaged areas be effectively treated with boric acid dust so that the ants don't return to those locations? (Calgary is exceedingly dry most of the year, so water damage is not a major structural problem here.) I assume that once I disturb those ants outside in the decking, they will prefer to move into the house to join the others (if I don't act quickly enough to remove all ants), so I would like to make the house reasonably unfavorable. Can a single treatment boric acid dust applied properly to the house structure do this relatively effectively? Any suggestions?
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