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Continued use of Termidor for Controlling Carpenter Ants

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Posted by Kim Storms on 20:13:18 8/18/2014 from

I am hoping you can resolve how to control the carpenter ant issue at our house as my husband and I are at odds for control methods. I apologize in advance for how long this e-mail is but I want to be thorough in explaining the situation.

We live in Seattle, WA. About 1 1/2 years ago my husband noted what looked like small piles of sawdust at the side of our house near the chimney as well as along where wood flower boxes(these never have had any dirt, flowers etc. in them)are located. Our house is wood sitting on concrete so the wood does not have direct contact with dirt. When my husband started to tear up the wood along the side of the house where the piles of sawdust were found, he noted large black ants and tunneling in the wood he had exposed. He zapped them with two cans of Raid, called the exterminator who said we had carpenter ants. We were concerned about the extent of the damage done to the house so we agreed to a perimeter application of Termidor.

My husband repaired the damaged wood and replaced it with pretreated wood. He has made sure all the gutters are cleaned regularly, and inspects around the chimney as around the other areas of the house that had been damaged. There is beauty bark around this area but it is pushed back about a foot from the house. He has also put plastic to cover the top of the window boxes, I guess to keep out any rain(as if that ever happens in Seattle!)

We have not seen any carpenter ants or damage to the house since it has been treated with Termidor and now it will alternate with Premise. We have had about 5 treatments in 1 1/2 years and are due for another one in October. We did see a few carpenter ants this summer in the bathroom but only about a total of 10 in about 3-5 days when it was hot and humid. My husband believes it is the insectides that have rid our carpenter ant problem. I believe it is getting rid of the damaged wood, making sure the wood remains dry and doing preventive measures such as gutter cleaning, no branches touching the house, etc. and continued checking of the house for any tell tale signs of a return of the ants.

Is there anything you can say that will convince my husband that there is no need for continued applications of Termidor and Premise? I am concerned about the about the long-term use insectides around the outside of our house and starting to feel like I am sitting on a toxic dump-site. We also have a senior border collie and I am concerned for his health as it is almost impossible not to keep him from walking where the Termidor has been applied around the front and back doors.

I truly understand how hard my husband worked to fix the damage to our house and he does not want another carpenter ant situation. He may be willing to discontinue using insecticides if he hears from you if you think there would be a problem in the future. Is there anything else we should do for prevention? We have several flower beds that are mulched but these are at least 20 feet away from the structure. Is the beauty bark a problem?--we do have some also around the other side of the house that comes up to the structure of the house. Should the plastic stay on the wood flower boxes which remain empty or should it be removed? If need be, I am more than willing to work with an exterminator with an IPM approach as well as have them do a yearly inspection for any feedback they may have on how things are looking. From my reading, I am getting the impression for the amount of damage done to the house, it probably took the ants many months or even 1-2 years to have done what they did to the house. My husband does not want any more damage done to the house and neither do I but I don't think we need to keep applying Termidor/Premise 3 times a year to keep the ants from damaging our house again.

Any feedback you can provide that may assist with the dilemma we are facing would be so appreciated! Thanks greatly, John!

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