Cold winter, yet black ants in the bathroom - why?

Last spring, like virtually everyone in my area (western NY in northeastern US), I had black ants all over my kitchen for the first time I could remember. They were about 5/8" long and everywhere. By using bait traps in the kitchen and spraying ant spray around the outer perimeter of the house and in the dishwasher (where they congregated most), we seemed to have gotten rid of them.
But now, I'm finding them in my upstairs bathroom of all places. I've killed perhaps 5-10 of the things in the bathroom in the past week. I've seen them nowhere else in the house, including the kitchen.
Having this number of ants this time of the year, when it's generally been well below 20 degrees F outside, is odd to me. Never happened before. And I can't ever remember killing an ant in our bathroom, certainly not in the numbers I have recently.
What's happening?
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<< And I can't ever remember killing an ant in our bathroom, certainly not in the numbers I have recently >>
Deepest sympathies for you, those are likely carpenter ants. They love love warm, moist wood, They are probably the colony that escaped from your earlier extermination efforts. Analyziing the situation, your bathroom is providing a wet wood lunch for the critters, so check for possible leaks in the fixtures. It might be a Pandora's box as you get into it, even structural damage. Check the trees that surround you house, as those are breeding grounds also; getting rid of weed trees like soft maples is really important. HTH
Joe
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On 07 Feb 2004 16:40:20 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comtosspam (Joe Bobst) wrote:

Argh. I'd posted earlier in this newsgroup about our roof having major icicles and snow loss, something that I now think traces to insufficient attic insulation and bathroom fans venting into the attic rather than outside.
When you say check for leaks in the fixtures, specifically which fixtures do you mean, and what remedies do you propose?
I'm guessing that if I could somehow attack the colony (hopefully only one) now in cold weather rather than later in warm weather, this would be a smart move?
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Doing something about the problem now rather than later is always a smart move. But don't confuse the colonies of ants winter-dormant in the trees outside with the colony/ies currently inside your house. For the ones inside, the calendar may as well say it's spring. Your nice warm house makes it ant Florida all year long in your walls and joists and whatnot, and they keep living and breeding and eating nonstop.
Problem is, it's often really tough -- and sometimes virtually impossible, depending on where the infestation is -- for DIYers to locate and eradicate the nest. Think for a second about how many thousands of square inches of wood in your house, and where all those square inches are that you'd never see unless you totally gutted the entire structure down to the beams. This is why in fact it can be really tough -- and sometimes virtually impossible -- for even a licensed exterminator to locate the nest. This is why you should be hoping that the colony has chosen somewhere near floor-level to live.
The first step is getting an idea where they are, or at least finding where the highway within your walls is. When you see one of these little buggers next time, watch it long enough to see where it returns to. Then put your ear to the wall/joist/whatever and listen for what sounds like the crinkling of a cellophane cigarette wrapper (yes, you can actually hear them chowing and moving about; that's what it sounds like). If you hear that, you're onto them.
Next step would be to call an exterminator, point him to the sound in the wall/joist/whatever, and let him get busy. If you have no idea how to kill a colony by getting to the queen (you kill the queen, you kill the colony) now, nothing you do yourself will permanently solve your problem. If your problem is fairly significant, it may take several attempts to totally eliminate it.
AJS
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On Sat, 07 Feb 2004 16:18:10 GMT, trader-of-some-jacks

They are looking for water?
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trader-of-some-jacks wrote:

Sure sounds like carpenter ants to me, marching in unison and chanting, "Eat the floor in 2004". As others have told you, they need water to survive, and bathrooms can supply that need.
I think you better consult an exterminator fast. Those buggers can chomp through structural wood and cause multi kilobucks worth of damage. Grab the next one you see and stick it in a jar to show the bug keiller if they all decide to hide when they hear his truck stop outside.
Good Luck,
Jeff
--
Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)

"My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying."
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I also had an exterminator say the same thing "bring me a live one", and it took me awhile to hunt one down, and convince it into a plastic dish with a snap top.
"Carpenter ant" he diagnosed, and he musta been part plumber "Ooohhh, this gonna be expensive". But it cost me less than twenty bucks for the liquid ant bait, couple bottles, and shipping, and I bought some other stuff, too.
--

Christopher A. Young
Jesus: The Reason for the Season
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What "other stuff" did you buy -- dioxin? It killed the entire community of Times Beach, Missouri, so what's a measly carpenter ant colony, eh?
You certainly didn't kill 'em. They just found a nicer place within your studs or joists to hide. Just don't come cryin' 'round here when your structures eventually start disintegrating under their own weight and your problems will far exceed $20. You might start putting in with Jesus now for either a miracle or far more sense than He gave you.
BTW, there isn't a qualified exterminator on the planet who needs to see a *live* ant to be able to identify it. Ants look just the same dead or alive provided you haven't ground it into mush with your foot.
AJS
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I can't tell you what's happening, but I'm also in NYS. Log onto www.gardensalive.com and buy yourself some "liquid ant bait" which comes in about two ounce bottles. Set some down in shallow bowls (like bottle caps off milk jugs) and let the ants feast thier fill. They won't be back. Mine didn't.
They also have some other good products like "Pantry Pest Traps" for mealworms, which I fondly call flittermoths -- cause they flitter here and there.
--

Christopher A. Young
Jesus: The Reason for the Season
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On Sat, 07 Feb 2004 16:18:10 GMT, trader-of-some-jacks
:Last spring, like virtually everyone in my area (western NY in :northeastern US), I had black ants all over my kitchen for the first :time I could remember. They were about 5/8" long and everywhere. By :using bait traps in the kitchen and spraying ant spray around the :outer perimeter of the house and in the dishwasher (where they :congregated most), we seemed to have gotten rid of them. : :But now, I'm finding them in my upstairs bathroom of all places. I've :killed perhaps 5-10 of the things in the bathroom in the past week. :I've seen them nowhere else in the house, including the kitchen. : :Having this number of ants this time of the year, when it's generally :been well below 20 degrees F outside, is odd to me. Never happened :before. And I can't ever remember killing an ant in our bathroom, :certainly not in the numbers I have recently. : :What's happening?
5/8 inch long ants? That's a seriously scarry thought to me. The ants I have around here are about 1/8 inch long, if that I think. Periodically they decide to check out my house, or maybe it's the weather. Often they send in sentries when it's cold. Last summer they made another effort to infiltrate the house and it was a battle that lasted maybe a couple months before they gave up.
You might want to check out the alt.consumers.pest-control newsgroup. I've gotten a lot of good info there.
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5/8 inch ants sure could scar you!
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Carpenter ants go to the moist areas.

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wrote:
:
: : :> 5/8 inch long ants? That's a seriously scarry thought to me. : :5/8 inch ants sure could scar you!
Yeah, scar and scare! Sorry for the spelling error, I have been having trouble with scarry versus scary. LOL
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What's happening is you have carpenter ants nesting and thriving in -- and eating the wood of -- your nice warm house, where the weather outside matters not to them.
Traps won't do a thing except make the Black Flag factory richer and the ants no more deader. You need a licensed exterminator.
AJS
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