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Carpenter ants in the ceiling -- any good resolutions?

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Joined: May 23 2005

We had carpetner ants in our ceiiling last year and (ahd to) sign up for a year long service (spraying the outside every two months). Initially they put pellets/granules in the ceiling (that made sense). That action did appear to solve the problem. But one year later after the bimontlhy spraying we discovered activity in a different part of the house, same side. We also did remove tree limbs from covering the roof.
I have a couple of questions -
Has anyone successfully solved their carpenter any problem and HOW?
I'd aprpeciate feedback on bimonthly spraying as well. It seems useless to me. Is it?

Joined: May 16 2004

Hi Photom,
When we moved into our Eichler home in Sunnyvale last year, we had a lot of carpenter ant activity. Saw-dust looking material falling from the ceiling, ants crawling on the beams and such. We had some baiting done by our gardner at the time (don't know which bait). The activity continued.

We also tried something much more unorthodox...electronic pest control. I am a scientist and was very skeptical....but it worked! see:

It took over a month to see them move out, but we are now carpenter ant free for over a year. I am not exactly sure how it works and don't care, I just appreciate the results.


Travis & Julie
1219 McIntosh Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94087

Joined: Jan 16 2004

We had some Carpenter Ants in our Walnut Creek Eichler and we used Bait and traps which were hung for about 4 months and the ants moved right out.
We also have our house and yard spayed every 2 months to keep roachs and other critters out and that probably helps with the Ants as well. I stopped the spaying for a while last year and the bugs came right back.

Joined: Jan 29 2004

travantes wrote:

We also tried something much more unorthodox...electronic pest control. I am a scientist and was very skeptical....but it worked! see:


OK, I'll bite. Picked one up for $38. It is a little frightening that (according to the web site) they pump this thing on infomercials. But we've had carpenter ants for years. One exterminator told us that unlike termites, carpenter ants eat wood only to find lodging. This has decreased my sense of urgency. We've tried cutting back limbs, spraying around the house (not regularly). Didn't make any difference. So we'll plug this sucker in. We'll see. I'll repost eventually.


Joined: Aug 12 2004

A few years ago the house boat owners were going out of their minds from some weird noise coming from their boat hulls.

Seems the local mud skipper (fish) made a wacky noise during mating season.

Guess this gizzmo makes a noise that has a resonance with wood. Since they "live" in a wood tunnel, amplification and they go bonkers!

Pretty funny and cool if it works and makes sense.

Joined: Mar 25 2005

I stayed in a Bed and Breakfast that used electronic bat deterrents. The bats were flying up and down the bedroom hall at night! If it didn't work on bats, I can't imagine it working on ants. And besides - do ants hear? There is a pest control company ad running right now which says they don't. Maybe that ad is in response to these electronic gadget ads.

We have known that we have carpenter ants for about 2 years now. But
the truth is, we have probably had them for 20 years. One thing I've learned is that they are quite happy living up in the roof rafters and travelling back and forth from outdoors through cracks in the foundation and right up the walls to the roof.

We had some serious rafter damage from roof leaks and ants in combination, but these were replaced this winter. We had also previously
sprayed that area and probably caused the ants to relocate the nest to another area in our home - our living room fireplace area. (the other nest was in our family room fireplace area). We just removed some of the drywall around our livingroom fireplace in the ceiling and the sawdust
activity is frightenning. There is a huge pile of it every day. I hardly see
any ants at all, even with the ceiling drywall removed - so imagine trying to see this activity with the ceiling in place. That sawdust is being discarded through a crack in the plywood roof sheathing near where it meets a beam running around my fireplace. The damage is not visible to
the naked eye from the view that I have - but I know there is damage. I
have the pile of sawdust to prove it!

Our pest people are coming in two days for a major spray. Apparently, the sawdust is a good thing in that it positively identifies the location of the nest and gives one the opportunity to kill the queen, which is apparently the only way to get rid of the colony.

Sorry this is so long. I believe the only way to get rid of the ants is to get rid of the pre-existing conditions in our homes that attract them to begin with. For us, this was probably a roof leak around chimneys, but I'm not
discounting that this may also be a ventilation problem which can create
alot of moisture in these areas as well. We currently have a roofing engineer working on that problem as well as possible roof leaking. Will let
you know if anything comes of that.

Joined: May 16 2004

Hi midcenturymadam,
Bats are not ants.
All insects do respond to vibrations and electrical charges. Bats are more atune to different sonic frequencies. I find it remarkable that you equate these situations. TRUE: it is not well known how this electronic charge unit works...but it seemed to have rid my home of those pesty carpenter ants. RESULT: No more saw dust droppings and ants crawling on the ceiling.
Keep your eyes and mind open to all remedies at all times...or the queen ant may take advantage of your weakness.

Travis & Julie
1219 McIntosh Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94087

Joined: Mar 25 2003

My understanding is that carpenter ants often can have one or several nests outside the house. Therefore, it's important that any treatment try to locate these nests. This involves some detective work as you try to follow some scout ants back from you home to their hiding places. As this can be time consuming and difficult, the backup plan is to get rid of/spray/obstruct the trails that they use to visit your home on their expeditions.

Joined: Mar 25 2005

Travantes: The fact that you do not "see" the ants does not mean that
they are not living in your roof. They discard the sawdust in wall cavities
or anywhere convenient. If you make a crack in the ceiling near where
you had the problem and then you don't see any sawdust, I'd be more

I have a follow up on our ant spraying which may be of interest to those
still looking for info on ant problems. We opened up the ceiling on one
side of our chimney (free standing - open on four sides) and had obvious
ant/sawdust activity there so our pest people sprayed that area and vicinity. We had dead ants for a week, but now we have sawdust activity
on the other side of the chimney only 4 feet away from where we sprayed originally. If we had not ripped our ceiling apart we would never
have known that the ant activity started up again immediately. We would
have assumed (like we did in the past) that all the dead ants indicated that
the spray had worked.

So we will have the pest people out again tomorrow and then have a contractor rip out the rest of the ceiling around the fireplace to check for
rotten beams.

By the way, our moisture problem has turned out to be condensation due
to inadequate venting through the chimney portion of the roof. I'm going
to start a new thread on this problem.

Joined: Mar 20 2003

we had some carpenter ant activity in the master bedroom. Apparently they did enter the house by walking on the phone line (at least that was were the activity was most concentrated). I spray the area now every 2 months myself and that took care of it. I also sprayed the interior of the wall by drilling a small hole and spraying through the hole.

Joined: Mar 25 2005

JNStahl: That's funny you mention the phone line. I've seen this! And this reminds me that if you want to find the ants coming in your house you go out with a flashlight after dark and put a red cloth over it (the ants
don't see red apparently) and check all around your house. When I did this I found them coming in on our cable tv wire in a big long caravan! To
be honest, you don't even need the red cloth, you'll still see them if you have them!

The bug spray people are coming Wed. For some reason the sawdust activity stopped, but I still saw some ants today. I feel like I'm in a Bugs
Bunny cartoon battling these darned ants!

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