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Re: Carpenter ants

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Posted by John Fasoldt on 10:54:31 6/27/2017 from

In reply to: Carpenter ants posted by Sarah on 6:55:45 6/27/2017 from

Sarah, my attitude has always been, "wait and watch." And despite what you might think, this isn't any kind of emergency... Matter of fact, I can think of precious little that I would call an emergency in this industry. In our lives, the worst thing you should be afraid of, is panic. So gulp down any panic you might have, certainly the insect kind, and THINK for a minute. End of lecture lol.

I don't have all the details an exterminator probably wants, but right off, I think you should give it a few days, a few weeks, or whatever time it takes you to figure out what is going on. Await some more results from what you've done already. Weather has A LOT to do with it! What's ant weather? Above 65 degrees, the hotter the better, and lots of everything else: rain, sunshine, whatever comes in summer! There's not much anyone can do about the "weather surges" you might see in the summer and especially in the spring, and even into the fall.

I'm not sure if you can physically do this, but checking the areaway (inside and outside) where you saw the ants might be a good place to start. Use a STRONG light, forget the insecticides, this is an investigation only. Any actions you take will be on another mission, using the proper procedure. Anything you do "in the moment" might not be what you SHOULD do. Whatever you eventually decide on, you will be able to do it just as effectively at that time. Remember: no emergencies...

Over the years, ever since modern ant baits were developed, exterminators have had to use experience, multiples of baits, and more often than not, luck. Some ants have different "likes," at different times, and I just HATE to be wrong on something. Actually, all exterminators hate to be wrong, but we're always dealing with Mother Nature here, and she's not always kind to us.

The most reliable ant baits (and usually the most economical) are the ones that contain Fipronil - I'm not sure of what's currently available OTC, but get the ones with the highest percentage of Fipronil. It DOES take awhile to work. This is one they take back to the nest, and by infecting the whole colony, the theory is that eliminates the colony. Don't overdose and I usually don't use them on the outside. It works well, certainly when the ants follow all the directions...

So I'd say let's see if it goes away (or is manageable) or if you continue to have a problem ongoing. In which case, since you seem to be DIYs, you could consider doing a Termidor treatment yourself. To get an exterminator to do it might cost you around $200-$250 - or so. Most of ours were $200 - or so. For you to do it isn't difficult, no ladders or anything. You'll need a 1 gallon sprayer, plastic is fine, but don't use it for anything else.

The chemical cost for Termidor SC is around $80 or so, for about a pint that'll probably do your entire neighborhood. Store it a cool dark place, it'll be good for a few years. Don't "save" the diluent you don't use, mix only what you're going to use. Anything extra USE IT THEN. Rinse out the sprayer, on your driveway, in the sun, the sun's UV rays will take care what little you rinse with.

For somebody who has never done this, I tell them to do it first with water in the tank. Gives you a feel of how the sprayer works, how long it takes to empty the tank, what you want to concentrate on, and gives you a chance to make a mistake without it meaning anything. And if you are considering doing this yourself, get back with any questions.

You can go through the posts from Karen R, just a few posts down... I haven't heard back from her, but she described her problem and she is going to the DIY route. As she was an actual customer of mine, I know her house and her problem. I'm sure she can do it herself!


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