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Why are ants stealing my insulation?


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Posted by Mike M on 20:19:58 7/14/2011 from 24.11.195.83:

My house was built in the fall of '09. I have a walk out basement and new energy/building codes required the builders to frame, insulate and drywall the exterior walls of the basement. Not a complete finishing - insulation is still exposed at the top and bottom of the dry segments.

In the spring of '10 I started seeing big (1 to 1.5 cm in length) black ants on the first floor. Went down to the basement and along the side of the door wall there were hundreds of these guys. They were grabbing small pieces of the fiberglass insulation from up top, taking it down to the floor, and then going under the drywall. I could actually hear them moving around in the wall a couple feet up. They really made a mess with that fiberglass. Little bits of it spread all over the place in the basement.

Initially panicked and sprayed down everything that moved with one of those indoor/outdoor home defense products. There were still a lot alive, so with a cooler head I put down Amdro bait traps, plus a second type of trap with indoxacarb. Seemed to work. Within a week there was no more rustling in the wall and no more ants walking around. Just dead ones.

However, this spring, in two other corners of the basement, same thing happened with them pulling the insulation down, though this time, I saw very few ants down there by the time I had discovered the damage. Did see a few upstairs, which is what alerted me to the problem. Put down new traps and the activity I was seeing above seemed to subside. Unfortunately, there seems to be a separate colony upstairs on the other side of the house, up inside an interior wall. No visible activity in the attic, but I can hear them in the wall, and I find one or two ants coming from under the door frame into the bathroom every day. Have put down more traps, but these guys don't seem interested at all.

Questions:

-Why are these ants so interested in messing with my fiberglass insulation?

-Should I be worried that these could be carpenter ants and doing damage? Thought they only went after old wood, not brand new stuff.

-Why the lack of results in treating this new colony in the wall? Put down Amdro and indoxacarb three weeks ago and no noticeable results. Even tried to tempt them after a week, by putting a couple drops of lemonade (ant crack) on the traps. I think they took the lemonade and left the poison.

-I live next to the woods, which is no doubt contributing to the problem. Any preemptive advice on stopping them from coming in next spring?



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