Severe Ant Problem

kyocius(7a)April 24, 2007

Hi. This is one of my first posts because I am new to the GW. I basically need some opinions here (sorry but this is a bit long). My DH and I bought our first house last summer. Everything was fine until we received a HUGE rain storm that lasted days. Ants started coming into our house and I even had a mound of them in the mailbox (I'm talking 4 inch diameter by 4 inch high mound). Okay... they would swarm and look for anything (they are pavement ants). I got Terminix. Now, almost a year later, they do not swarm like they used to in the house, BUT they are still around. Terminix treats the outside of the house, baits the outside of the house, and we have 5 baits inside the house. They empty out the inside poison baits in about 3 weeks (there is a continuous feed all day and all night on them). The baits keep them from finding and swarming a crum here or there in the house, BUT I still find these things wandering everywhere. Across the living room floor you'll see 10-20 just traveling. In the bedroom now too (there is absolutely NOTHING in the bedroom for them to find... no food EVER in there). There are constantly ants crawling somewhere in the kitchen just looking (I have to keep everything spotless at all times and let me tell you what a PITA that is). They wander in the basement AND in the bathroom (all winter as well). The bathroom gets me almost worse than the kitchen. The pest guy tells me they are looking for water... well, there is plenty of water outside now for them to access and they are still here. On the walls, in the shower, on the toilet, on the sink. Not hundreds, but you can probably see 20 or so scattered just in the bathroom at one time (and 10-20 in each room). The nest is apparently under our central air slab thats next to the house. He said we had ants in the winter because some got trapped inside after everything froze. If thats the case, now we have a nest somewhere in the house, correct? And if so, shouldn't these things be dying if they are going through all this ant bait poison? Am I being ridiculous about the ants in the house? Is this a small amount of ants? We have a brickface stucco home, and sealing up every crack would be impossible. We have a dog (chocolate lab) so we need animal friendly stuff I guess... is it less effective? He tells me they are wandering because they are dying from the poison. It seems like they are giving an excuse for everything instead of trying harder to control the problem. Do I try another pest company? Is it a do it yourself to get it done right situation (I really don't have the time). Any opinions would be great and sorry for such a long post. Thanks.

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davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

ants in the walls are hard to get rid of. we have them as well, and it is a constant battle to keep them killed off. sorry for your experience!

you may wish to try another exterminator, just for peace of mind.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 11:15AM
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The ants problem will go away; you seem to have a good program in place and it is only a matter of time. But it does require persistence and attention to detail. Ask the pest control company to explain their program in some detail. They are probably applying a band of insecticide all around the house. It is important that this band be continous all around the structure and retreatment must be done before the product breaks down. Make it easy for them by removing obstacles. Trim away any plant material that is touching any part of the house; especially the roof. The weak areas of the perimeter treatment are the entrances. Let them tell you what YOU can treat the garage and other doorways with until they come back. Inside the house you have got to have 'faith' that the bait (it's the only way to go) is being taken back to the nest and that it is killing them softly without song. (I have a warped sense of humor). Ensure that the bait is right and that it is replaced in time. Do not disrupt the creatures' foraging sorties. Take advantage of it by placing the bait stations for their convenience (within limits,of course). Other sources of advice are your County Extension Service and Lesco (There's one near you). No, I do not own shares but I worked in a service center. The guys there are knowledgeable and helpful (if they are anything like I was). I am genuinely sorry to hear that it is impossible to seal all the cracks etc. It may not be easy but it will be effective. A basic tool of pest control is exclusion - never totally achieved but always worth striving for.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 6:10PM
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Ants outside, contrary to popular opinion, are part of a healthy ecosytem. But ants in the house are a problem. The only reason ants are in the house is because they found a food and/or moisture source. Start moving them back outside by doing a good cleaning using real lemon juice or peppermint oil and watch where they come in and once they have been moved back outside seal those entry points and put a barrier of lemon juice or peppermint oil around those areas. Work at sealing any entry point as possible. You can also put bait stations outside, a bit of good quality molasses will work.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 10:51AM
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Thank you for your responses. I really wouldn't mind if these things stayed outside, but they are just relentless little buggers (and they LOVE pork/animal grease/cheese by the way, much more than sugar). I went outside yesterday to have a look around the house. The ants are coming in droves at almost every basement window and two of the regular windows. Looks like I am going to have to take stock out in masonry sealant and caulk. I have placed the bait at "convenient" locations so I don't have to see the trail of ants. I have cut everything away from the house including branches that were touching the roof. The last time the exterminator came he sprayed on a rainy day, so I'm thinking it didn't stick around as long as it usually does. I honestly thought that after almost a year I would see some improvement in the number of ants after they have been taking the poison back to the nests all year long (like I said, all winter they fed on these things as well). As long as I keep the baits filled the ants really don't go looking for other food sources except for the daily wanderers. I am going to have a few other people come out to look and I'm sure I'll get varying responses that will confuse me even more, but worth a little piece of mind maybe. Thanks again for your thoughts.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 6:35AM
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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

I had ants. I dusted every crevice (and my home has more than yours- believe me- it's a log home) and under appliances with diatomaceous earth. I put homemade baits in some areas of concern with a 50/50 mix of borax and confectioner's sugar in a bottlecap.

It worked for me at least.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 9:53AM
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IÂm writing from a TV production company called Darlow Smithson Productions, based in London, UK. IÂm the producer on a new series for Animal Planet about infestations.

This series examines both the 'natural history' of various types of pests and how they behave, in addition to the stories of homeowners who find them a nuisance.

I've been looking through various forums for stories about ant infestations and came across your post about the problems youÂve faced in your home.

I would like to find out more about this, in particular if the situation improved and how youÂve dealt with the problem. If you can spare the time, perhaps we can have a quick chat? Please email me your contact details so I can call you. My details follow...

If any other readers of this post have a comparable problem, please feel free to get in touch.

Many thanks,
Rebecca North

Extreme Infestation for Animal Planet
Darlow Smithson Productions
+44 (0)207 482 7027

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 12:21PM
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