A carpenter ant nest and signs of an infestation can be quite obvious if you know what you’re looking for. However, what if you don’t know what you’re looking for, but think you may have a problem? Below are three scenarios that actually happened in 2018 at homes we visited.
Carpenter ants in winter
Back in March of 2018 when there was still snow on the ground in Ct we received a call from a homeowner in Southbury, Ct. The issue at hand was that the family had been seeing carpenter ants all winter. The homeowner knew there was likely a carpenter ant nest and signs of an infestation inside were obvious as carpenter ants are not active outside in March.
The first thing we did was provide a free inspection. At the inspection we asked the homeowner about where she’d been seeing ants and for how long. It appears the problem had been long standing and the ants were mainly in an upstairs bedroom. At the time of inspection there were no visible signs of live ants. We did however find dead ants near a closet door that abutted a bathroom. This is where we started.
We began treatment by applying a flushing agent around the tub, toilet bowl and the bathroom window. This yielded no results. We then went to the bedroom and did the same thing around window frames as well as under a baseboard. Again no ants were flushed out. As we went about providing a general treatment we found a small hole in a sliding closet door. On a hunch we injected a flushing agent into the hole and carpenter ants came pouring out. This is a sure sign of a carpenter ant colony.
In order to treat the door but not destroy it, we drilled small holes in the frame and injected material into it, all the ants were eradicated as we could hear the crackling noise made when a nest is found. It’s not typical to find ants in an odd area like this, but in the winter ants, especially carpenter ants, are most commonly found in areas that are warm and away from cold exterior walls.
A carpenter ant nest and signs of an infestation can be subtle, but persistence in finding them is key.
Carpenter ants in a new home
In May of 2018 we received a disturbing call from a new homeowner from Middlebury, Ct. The home, according to the homeowner, was infested with carpenter ants. We asked all the usual questions over the phone about the size of the home as well as the location of the foraging ants. Typically, we can give an accurate price over the phone and send a service person in 24-48 hours, but this home was about 7,000 square feet so we decided to do a free inspection.
During the inspection we found that there were in fact a few ants in almost every room on the first floor. The homeowner was convinced that not only was the builder to blame, but that the home was going to fall down. As an exterminator with 27 years of field experience I assured her that not only was the builder not to blame, the house definitely wasn’t going to fall down.
Our service team started their inspection in the basement, which was unfinished. We were looking for a carpenter ant nest and signs of an infestation. In new homes it’s actually very common to have a carpenter ant nest move in during construction so we’d seen this scenario before. As I suspected we were correct, one of our service people found a large amount of dead ants in the left rear corner of the basement. We asked the homeowner if it was okay to remove the foil over the fiberglass insulation and look underneath. Luckily for us we found about 1000 ants under the insulation. This turned out to be the perfect example of what’s called a satellite colony.
The remainder of the treatment was simple as all we needed to do was treat the area with a product that produces a contact kill and then vacuum up the dead ants. The customer signed up for our preventative quarterly service and has a been a customer ever since.
Carpenter ants in the kitchen and dishwasher
This scenario is by far the most common complaint we get from homeowners. We get these calls every year and more often than not there’s a good reason why there are ants in the kitchen and dishwasher. There was one particular call that came in on June 16, 2018. The homeowner was frantic as she had seen hundreds of ants in her kitchen and dishwasher over a three day period.
Our company happened to have a service person close by so we were able to send someone that day. I also was close by and wanted to do a little field training with this particular serviceman as he was new. When we arrived there were actually about 50 ants running around the kitchen. We asked the typical questions and then began our inspection of the home starting on the outside and working our way indoors.
On the outside we noticed that the window above the kitchen sink had a bit of water damage. Since carpenter ants tend to gravitate to areas with water and water damage, we decided to go in the kitchen and take a closer look. The homeowner noticed our curiosity and told us that the window had an active leak that was due to be repaired in the coming months. We decided to get a flushing material and see if we could get ants to come out of that area. However, we never actually needed to do this. At just about the time that we were preparing to start flushing the area we happened to notice a carpenter ant walk out from behind the window trim. A carpenter ant nest and signs of an infestation showed up right when we needed it.
In order to eradicate the nest we drilled a series of small holes in the window frame and injected an insecticidal dust. The ants were killed on contact and the homeowner was thrilled at the prospect of no longer having carpenter ants.
If you have carpenter ants and live in Ct Envirocare Pest Control may be able to help. We can be reached at 1-888-879-6481 Monday-Friday 8-5 Saturday 7-12.