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Alternative to extermination?

 
Savannah Thomerson
Posts: 78
Location: zone 6
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Greetings all ~

We've been told recently that we have carpenter ants in our (log) home and the beginnings of a termite colony near the base of the home ( it is stilted ).

The exterminator has given us all of the treatment and future prevention package details but before going through with that, I want to check here to see if anyone knows of any effective alternatives to extermination.

A good friend of mine had a reaction to the pesticides used when a termite treatment was applied to her home and ended up moving out of it because she stayed sick. I'm sensitive to chemicals in this way, too, and am researching BEFORE committing to an extermination. I feel there's got to be other ways, any offered knowledge, experience, tips, or advice is appreciated

Cheers!
 
Tyler Ludens
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If you know where the termite colony is you can destroy it by digging it out and smushing the inhabitants.  Same with carpenter ants.  This might mean having to open up some walls or drill into some logs.  Generally carpenter ants like to live in cracks between two surfaces.

Aggressive foraging birds like chickens and guinea fowl can help prevent termite and ant problems if you let them forage under the house.

 
Savannah Thomerson
Posts: 78
Location: zone 6
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Several months ago I discovered some carpenter ants in the house and, by listening - was certain I knew where their colony was. From there, I put a bit of dust through a crack in the logs and many ants (still) can be found dead around the corners.
However, since then - we have found two locations in the walls with those holes that look similar to this:
___________    ____      _____________        __
(___________)  (____)    (_____________)      (__)

which makes me wonder if they are not dying out, but perpetuating even?

We've introduced five guinea to the yard, they're still young, but hopefully it will help for the future.

I'm going to spend some time searching for the colonies .  . . and, go from there I believe.

Thanks muchly!
 
Tyler Ludens
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This is just me, but I would personally choose to live with the ants if I couldn't get rid of them all, rather than have my house doused with poison.  But again, that's just me.  I have extreme prejudice against poison! 

We actually have a colony of carpenter ants in some metal trim outside a window onto a porch, which we've been too lazy to attack.  I know some people would say we're doomed to have our house eaten!  But I think they're just removing some kind of foam stuff inside the trim and not actually bothering the wood of the house at all...

I just went out to look at them and it looks like they've removed all the foam and are just living in the cavity inside the metal trim.  My husband has found carpenter ant colonies between pieces of metal in a car he was restoring, with no wood in sight. 
 
Savannah Thomerson
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Location: zone 6
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I'm not too keen on having the house doused with poison, either, H. Ludi - it contradicts our way of living entirely. So here I am - seeking out alternatives.

Living in a house made entirely of wood can certainly cause one to raise an eyebrow when they're told termites have been spotted and carpenter ants caused those holes in the wall.

Surely there's a nice balance somewhere. Would love to hear as many opinions as possible!

 
Burra Maluca
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I have a rather vague and sketchy memory of a (Discovery Channel?) TV programme I watched fairly recently about some tribe somewhere who had an ant problem in their food stores.  They solved it by sending out the kids with a lidded pot and instructions on how to capture a nest of a much nastier but less invasive species of ant, who they brought back and set to work destroying the ants in their stores.

I really can't remember any other details but does anyone remember seeing this programme? 
 
Tyler Ludens
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Apparently the breeding nest of carpenter ants needs moisture for the eggs, but they create satellite nests which do not require moisture.  So to locate the queen may require finding where there is moisture or rotten wood.

More details:    http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/housingandclothing/DK1015.html
 
Savannah Thomerson
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Location: zone 6
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Apparently the breeding nest of carpenter ants needs moisture for the eggs, but they create satellite nests which do not require moisture.  So to locate the queen may require finding where there is moisture or rotten wood.

More details:    http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/housingandclothing/DK1015.html


Hmmm. . . I've noticed some flashing missing from up on the roof.
We have to get out there soon to clean the chimney, will give everything a real good inspection while up there then!
 
George Lee
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Hire an anteater. They're sensational at what they do.

 
Savannah Thomerson
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Location: zone 6
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....WOW 
 
Tyler Ludens
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And they're absolutely gorgeous!   

We have little "anteaters" called armadillos, but they only eat the ants they want to eat and generally find them by digging up my vegetable garden.   

In my yard, looking for ants in a stump, maybe:




 
Denise Lehtinen
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Location: Tampa, Florida zone 9A
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I have heard of the possibility of injecting borax into the wood...makes it unpalatible to the buggies and way less toxic than the stuff they use in tenting.

Unfortunately, I don't know the details because I have never done it.
 
                                                              
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Location: Waltham, Massachusetts
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LivingWind wrote:
Hire an anteater. They're sensational at what they do.




Haha that's classic!  Made me laugh out loud, greatly appreciated.  I think you may be on to something here... Ant eater rental service.  Talk about cheap labor.
 
George Lee
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I read a story in which a family in South America frequently leashed an anteater and rid their living area of forest ants (near the rainforest). Glad you enjoyed it
 
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