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queen invasion!

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Posted by Heather on 0:51:33 5/11/2009 from

Hi John,

We've been living in our house for exactly one year. (home has cedar siding, finished cinder block basement, may be built on slab, 1960's modern, flat roof). Last year at this time we had carpenter ants wandering around (no more than five at a time), never anything serious, only on the upper level of the house, they seemed to go outside after looking around. The wood and steel beam balcony on the front of the house had been power washed, caulked, painted (seems to be a site for some nests, never knew about carpenter ants until now).

This year found about 100 ants, one morning, in a line from our honey jar in the pantry to their getaway hole, not visible to us behind the heat register in the kitchen. Saw some scavenging before that in April, but this huge number caused alarm. (Did find a winged ant in March, seemed smaller, male.)

Put out Terro ant bait at that spot in the kitchen where they're coming and going, and several hundred large workers ate half a jar in one day. They then pretty much lost interest in the food (after about gobbling it for almost 24 hours).

Saw some walking around in the house looking sickly. Felt better. Then, I saw more ants scavenging, but no interest in the bait (did put fresh drops out), only a few smaller ants visit the bait periodically. It's still out, nine days later.

Exactly one week after putting Terro out, found a queen with wings walking around very leisurely downstairs and more ants downstairs, previously saw so few down there! Next day found three or so queens, on Saturday, day of full moon (May 9) saw and killed around 10 queens in our house. One had no wings! Over the course of the day, found them in almost every room of the house on basement and main level always alone on the floor (except on in the laundry room or small bathrooms)! On separate occasions, I saw winged queens on our cedar siding trying to get into our house, too, seemed to be looking for entry. Today I killed six queens in the house.

Why so many queens?! The poison, time of year? I think the main colony is living in an electrical pole 40 feet from our house (looks like Swiss cheese from the ground to the top! Ants are walking on electrical line to our home. I was planning on buying granular for the line. Is that a good tactic?

Husband applied Maxforce to possibly active nest site in wooden beam support structure of balcony, and several other possible nest sites around home, trails, holes, etc.

Planning on replacing a few balcony beams in June. Also, will be replacing four windows (at four corners of rectangular house) with suspicious wooden framing in June. We began replacing damp plywood facing and some balcony cedar floorboards last spring. And need to address a roof leak. After that, I'll know if we're making real progress. Did have trees that were hanging over the house trimmed!

So will follow your advice and remove damp wood. But why all the queens? More ants all over, after baiting?

Are we on the right track!? Our neighbors use exterminators who spray. Is that making our problem worse? I was getting hysterical with all the queens, the wingless one really freaked me out. Could we be completely infested, or is it that our problem areas are on each corner and front of home? Makes me feel panicky...but want to give it the old college try. Please help! Why the hell didn't the inspector see all of the obvious signs of carpenter ants?

We are drinking our well water, with no filtration. What about our safety with regard to the spraying of the neighbors?

Also, lots of woodpecker holes on four corners of the house where those suspicious window frames are, were filled in by our painters. Do they provide a clue?

Is this too many questions? I felt it was best to give complete overview of situation.

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