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"Moisture" ants--where/what to look for?


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I got a call today from sometime who just closed on a house. Apparently they are now finding enough "moisture" ants to make it look like a sci-fi horror movie. This was a scratchy cell phone conversation, but apparently the HI said he could return with his moisture meter and look for wet areas that might be supporting them. The pest control guy was there and said there were some embedded form boards in one area, but didn't appear to be the spot the ants were in. Since part of the house is SOG, he wondered if there might not be embedded forms under the slab too. He was not able to identify where they were. The caller also seems to believe there was once a roof leak but that it had been fixed.

So, if you're looking for an ant infestation of this type, how and where do you look? I am very well acquainted with inspection for water problems, but not familiar with these ants, where they live, and what the signs are.

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Hi David,

If it's really moisture ants they are attracted to rot. They'll be somewhere where water is getting in and nobody realizes it. A couple of months ago I had one of those homes with the nice glass kitchen wall-roof. Everything looked great inside and out but I didn't like the way the thing was installed and I suspected water was getting in around it. I smacked my open hand on the claps below the window and the siding moved around and dark residue, and moisture ants, started falling out of the wall. A few more smacks and pieces of saturated felt that had disintegrated, along with flakes of OSB started falling out of the wall and I started smelling the rot. Took the EIFS probes I have for my Protimeter, pushed them through one of those claps and the meter went off the scale. By then the ants were swarming all over the place.

Look for a place where water can get in and go unnoticed for a long time. Framing and sheathing behind cornerboards would be a good candidate. Walls around windows that have been poorly flashed. Walls around leaking bathroom fixtures, etc..

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Hi David,

It's entirely possible that he's got an ant nest under a slab and that they aren't even "moisture" ants. They like it under slabs where it's dry and they're safe. Any unsealed openings up into a house from the slab and you'd have them transiting in all directions.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Hot Shot ant and roach gel bait. Comes in a big plastic syringe. Squirt a blob around an observed point of entry, inside or out. In a couple days they'll all be gone.

Ants love this stuff. Find an ant trail and put some of this goo in the middle of it and within minutes they'll all be clustered around it and carrying it back to the nest.

That's the real need. Surface sprays just kill the ants on contact, they feed on this stuff and kill the nest by taking it home, wherever that is.

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Hot Shot ant and roach gel bait. Comes in a big plastic syringe. Squirt a blob around an observed point of entry, inside or out. In a couple days they'll all be gone.

Ants love this stuff. Find an ant trail and put some of this goo in the middle of it and within minutes they'll all be clustered around it and carrying it back to the nest.

That's the real need. Surface sprays just kill the ants on contact, they feed on this stuff and kill the nest by taking it home, wherever that is.

We used to use Borax and icing sugar. Same principle, ant carry the sweet poison back to the queen.
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