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Carpenter Ants


Carpenter Ants

We recently had a leaky roof and some carpenter ants in the house.  We had the roof and all the moldy wood removed and repaired (even the front entrance). The workers found a small group of ants 50-100 or so and sprayed everything new and old with pyrethrin.  About two weeks later I found on or two ants in different rooms.  Do you think they are "leftover" or is there something bigger we are missing?

Answer: Carpenter Ants

Hello Amanda--

Thank you for your inquiry.  On face value, you did everything right.  Looking further, your thought that you may have "hit the tip of the iceberg" is likely.

Carpenter ants satellite: that is, they send out larger workers, pupae, and virgin queens and male ants, when their colony matures.  This species takes six to seven years to mature to a population of six thousand members or so.  At that time they extend their numbers by sending outward those groupings that we term satellite colonies.  They remain in contact with the mother colony, passing to and from and keeping their territory protected from foreign carpenter ant invaders.

It is possible that you killed a small satellite, or you might have killed some of the primary and not the total colony.  It is possible, too, that by spraying, ants fled and reorganized at a new location.
Not knowing if you are in winter cold or a warmer climate, I'll make general references to all weather conditions.  These creatures are late risers, and are seen more actively from midday to the wee hours of the morning.  They will become torpid in colder climates during winter cold, but could remain active when their colony resides within the warmer house temperature.  Even then, their numbers are much reduced since the queen will slow down on her egg laying when the days grow shorter.  As days lengthen so does her egg production increase.

When in an outdoor colony, say within a tree,  should you locate the ants, they will be immobile.  Should you squeeze one, the distinct smell of ethylene glycol can be detected during this torpid state.  Since you are seeing ants now, whatever the exterior temperature, I recommend that you place bait out for them.  You can inquire at a pest control supply house as to what bait would be appropriate for this time of year.  As a colony is building size, it prefers protein baits.  Later in the year preference will eventually shift to carbohydrates. Let me know if I've been of help.

American Pest Solutions
Pest Control Chicago


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