A Brief Overview
An ant not to ignore is the carpenter ant. It’s job in nature is to help break down cellulose (wood) and return nutrients to the soil. They do this by using wood to tunnel through as safe highways and/or hollow it out for nesting areas. They do not eat the wood. They chew through it and spit it out, hence the sawdust you may find in their wake. Out in the forest this activity is of no particular consequence to humans, but bring it close to or into our home and it can cause expense and danger to us.
Chemical applications: What chemicals are used and how they are applied is determined by the technician while at the house. Each house is different, we may start off with the same basic treatment, then based on the response, re-apply or vary the approach. Always we attempt control using the least amount of chemical, strategically placed, along with non-chemical interventions.
Cost: The office can give a price range over the phone, but the exact fee is determined by the technician upon completion of the job.
Warranty: The standard Bug Runner warranty for an ant treatment is 60 days. (extended warranties are available for an additional fee)
After the initial service we ask the customer to allow ten days for the chemicals to work, during that time it is not unusual to see an increase in activity or to find ants in new areas. This is a common reaction to the treatment. If after the ten day period LIVE ants are found, the customer should call The Bug Runner and set an appointment for a “re-treat”. We will re-treat as many times as needed during the warranty, some homes need only one treatment, others may need several treatments, it varies with each job.
C-Ants in your Landscape
Many trees that fall during storms have been weakened by carpenter ant activity. Some trees can harbor several nests compromising more than one branch and/or the main trunk. Regularly checking the health (insect pests and disease) of trees on your property is a worthwhile investment. Clean-up costs for fallen trees and replacement of what they may have fallen on, generally is more than the cost of an annual inspection/ trimming or spraying. A healthy landscape increases your property’s value, and reduces danger to your family and home.
Railroad tie retaining walls are another potential nesting area for carpenter ants and they can be difficult, often impossible to get rid of once there. This can be annoying and/or dangerous depending what the RR ties are holding back, or up.
C-Ants in your House
As mentioned earlier C-ants, or carpenter ants, are by far the most frequent ant pest we are asked to address. They can be a tricky little invader to track down and eliminate. The first checklist we go through:
Have you seen ants with wings? This would be the swarmer or reproductive stage
Have you found sawdust that you could not explain in some other way? C-Ants will push sawdust and other debris out of their tunnels through cracks or holes as part of their regular “clean-up”
Have you had any water damage or leaks in the house? Leaky pipes? leaky window? Leaky roof? Dishwasher that likes to overflow? Carpenter ants need moisture for their main nest. They also prefer wood that has been wet because the texture is changed from the swelling and softening that occurs
Have you seen live ants inside during cold weather? Carpenter ants do not forage when the weather is cool outside so any you see active indoors during the winter are probably from a colony located inside the house.
Unfortunately answering “no” to these questions doesn’t mean you don’t have a problem or even a nest in your house. Satellite nests don’t have to be wet and these nests have been found in odd places, hollow core doors, in curtain rods even a child’s plastic toy. Also, C-Ants can forage for food and water 3-4 hundred feet from their nest. That constant stream of ants you’ve seen can be coming from a nest out in the woods or even next door. Conversely, activity can be hidden inside walls, so that the occasional single ant you see can be from a nest in your widow sill or eave.
What your “yes” answers do tell us is where to start looking and help narrow the initial hunt. Swarmers coming out of a crack or crevice inside the house, or sawdust found without another explanation, indicate a nest in the vicinity. Water damage or active leaks make those areas prime choices for nesting sites.