Posted by John Fasoldt on 10:15:18 3/30/2013 from 18.104.22.168:
In reply to: Carpenter Ants coming out of skylight posted by Will on 23:48:44 3/28/2013 from 22.214.171.124:
I guess the most important thing to remember here is the moisture problem. Your IP says you’re in Seattle, Home of the Ants! I say that only because I know that the “ant pressure” in our great northwest is much higher than in most other parts of the USA. Carpenter ants, indeed, most ants, thrive in that kind of scenario. They LIKE it!
I suspect your skylight and/or roof might be a good part of your problem. Specifically, because skylights are notorious for not fitting well and leaking. Most of this is because they’re not installed correctly. Sometimes it’s because they’re not installed on the proper type of roof, built with skylights in the spec. The ants that already live outside, can always get inside, and can then go anywhere. And they will search out and find those special little spots where they feel they have the best chance of starting a nest. Often in places that appear to have NO MOISTURE AT ALL.
For this reason, finding and fixing the moisture problem(s) is what you have to do FIRST. Unfortunately, it’s usually the more expensive route to take. Most of the time, a roof like you describe, is built using foamboard insulation panels, the ants just LOVE this stuff. They can tunnel easily into and through it, often raining the tailings from their tunneling project on you and yours. Sometimes you can tell exactly where they are by this effect. This is the “ejecta” - the trash ejected from their galleries.
Good idea on checking the vent, with the shop-vac standing by. Make sure you have a strong light to see as much as you can, DO NOT use anything to “seal up” cracks or crevices you may find or suspect. You WON’T stop the ants, they’ll find another way. What you WILL do, is block any access by you or any tool that you might want to use. And it will only serve to drive the ants further back to where you can’t see or access them. Go slow. Be a detective, but don’t change their environment by inserting noxious materials. Certainly not until you know exactly what’s going on.
Yes, it can be satisfying to see them tumble out of something, trying to escape. But it doesn’t always happen like that, in fact, I see it less than five percent of the time, and I’ve done a it LOT. (I’m OLD.) Those are the easy ones. You, I think, might not have an easy one...
As far as the safety of the insecticides you named, forget about it. You have more toxic things under your sink than I have in my whole truck. Besides, if you can eliminate what ATTRACTED the ants in the first place, you might not even need to use an insecticide at all!
And I’ll tell you right now, even if you had God’s Insecticide, and the means to get it where it needs to go, the ANTS WILL STILL COME BACK! If what attracted them there, is still there, eventually all that insecticide will wear off, and you’ll be back to square one. Sometimes a lot quicker than you might think. Here, when you use insecticides, you’re treating a symptom, not the cause. And the cause is what you have to fix when you’re dealing with ants, in this context.
For this reason, you’ll probably do better with a really good carpenter/builder and (only possibly) an exterminator, but more in an advisory position if anything. There might be several chemical avenues to take, after all areas are secure against further moisture problems. Depending on the problem you solved by “fixing,” it might not even be necessary.
And I am sorry to inform you that you only have the SECOND best mother-in-law. I have the first best....
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