Carpenter ants - Attack them or run away? - Posted by jerry-IL

Posted by Chuck on November 26, 2002 at 18:44:45:

As a former Pest control Tech. I agree with mike. But, here in Iowa, you can find them anywhere in a house. The biggest way they get in is when someone cuts up an old tree when it’s cold out for firewood. Brings that wood in for the wood burning stove and lays it in the house for future use and it warms up and it has a Queen Ant in it. Where ever that queen lands, and she can fly, is where the nest will begin.

You will always find sawdust around a nest. That’s how you locate there presents. No amount of pest control measures will get ride of the nest, unless you kill the queen. There are new baits out, that some pest control companies are using. They seem to be effective. They carry the bait back to the nest and if your lucky, they feed it to the queen. I have also seen results where you had a major reduction in evidence of ants and shortly after the bait was removed, their presents was known again. Meaning the queen escaped the bait.

One of the most effective methods we used, was to try and locate the nest, and sometimes that was hard. then we drilled small holes in the wall, between the studs and pumped a dryon dust in at high pressure. Some times not finding the nest meant doing this to each and every wall. It always seem to work for us.

My 2 cents

Carpenter ants - Attack them or run away? - Posted by jerry-IL

Posted by jerry-IL on November 26, 2002 at 17:45:47:

I spent three hours with a pre-foreclosure. I have an authorization, a contract and a CYA. He will happily execute other necessary documents as soon as the short-sale package I ordered arrives. The problem: He says that he paid Orkin to remove carpenter ants. No problem. BUT…the living room ceiling is sagging and the bedroom floor above it is sagging. I must assume that this is related to the carpenter ants, no? If the critters ate away a supporting floor joist, I have enough money in the deal to rip the drywall off the living room ceiling and the flooring off the bedroom floor to expose the structural members and sister them or replace them or whatever remedy is appropriate.

Now my questions: 1. How do I quantify the problem with certainty? (How do I determine before buying, short of tearing off every piece of drywall and flooring, how extensive the problem is?) 2. What kind of professional do I engage so I can be totally confident - a structural architect? engineer? exterminator? home inspector? entomologist? 3. Do, in fact, carpenter ants eat wood like termites do or just live in it? 4. If the problem is unrelated to the ants, great, but how can I find out before it’s too late?

  1. Does homeowners’ insurance cover this? Does the seller have to make the claim? 6. Are there do’s and don’ts I should know about before telling the seller to make a claim?

I allowed myself about $30k to cover the worst, but I have no clue as to whether it might not be enough. Thanks for your help.

Re: Carpenter ants - Attack them or run away? - Posted by Bill

Posted by Bill on November 26, 2002 at 20:24:42:

to answer your questions,
1.You will need to make several inspection hooles to assess the situation. A few square inches each and a flashlight should tell you much more.
2.Some home inspectors or preferable a good general contractor type shouldbe able to give you asome options. If the house is “older” like pre 1960, you might find that the floor joists are undersized. This is especially true in the small lake houses in the midwest. I have personally seen 22 foot spans with 2x4’s with entire second stories later built on top of them. If this is the case, you will need to rip out the ceiling and put larger floor joists in there (messy, but not really too hard).
3. See the other answers.
4.See answer in number 1. Also, check to see if there was ever a waterbed up there. The weight will sometimes cause the sagging you are talking about.
5. Probably not, but never hurts to ask. Insurance is for sudden and unexpected occurrences.To repeat, never hurts to ask, though.
6. I’ll deferr this to someone more versed in insurance.
Sounds to me like this is a fixable problem, but make sure you’ve got some decent equity.
Good luck.

Re: Carpenter ants - Attack them or run away? - Posted by Mike

Posted by Mike on November 26, 2002 at 17:52:33:

Jerry, as a resident of the state of Florida, I feel somewhat knowledgeable on the subject of carpenter ants, and insects in general.
Carpenter ants do NOT eat wood to the extent that termites do. They will simply burrow out a nest and leave it at that.
I dare say that the sagging floor/ceiling is unrelated to any ant activity. They almost always nest in exterior walls.