FLORIDA CARPENTER ANT problem on outside of house

I have an ant problem that I ignore every summer, but I am about to have my first child and am taking care of loads of things around the house that I have been putting off, so I figured I would take care of this too...
I live in central Alabama. Hot and ussually humid. Black ant hills and fire ant hills in my yard are annoying, but I live with them. I dont run around in my yard so they dont bother me. I just run over them with a lawn mower, laugh about it, and avoid the area for about a day.
Luckily, it hasnt rained here in weeks so they are very dormant now (and pretty ticked off! MUHAHAHA!)
However, I have a 3rd type of ant which I assume to be a "FLORIDA CARPENTER ANT" (more details here: http://www.doyourownpestcontrol.com/carp.htm )
they are black and red. Not small, but certainly not 1950s-era horror movie size either.
I rarely see them on the ground but mostly see them on my fascia board around my house. I may even spot them slipping in and out a small crack in my facia boards (where they meet) around my house. My first reaction is "They live in my house!". I freak out, then realize I have NEVER seen an ant in my house (termites are a different story, but never an ant...knock on semi-digested wood), so they don't bother me, I dont bother them. But at this point, it's just plain unsettling to think about. I dont walk much in my addic, so I cant say if they live there or not, but I will say (And this may be the problem) that I have gutters... that, yes (hanging my head in shame) do collect water from time to time... okay, much of the time. And I can only assume these ants are digging that seemingly endless water supply which is how they can survive so far off the ground...
Do any of you know-more-than-me people have any suggestions for killing these outdoor pests? I hate to think of them creating a colony within the wood of my home... albeit, they arent coming IN my house, but wait till that one wise ant realizes that the box of ceral in teh cupboard isnt all that far away and tells all his buddies!
Ive heard of Terro and people seem to have good luck with it, but my issue is outside and pretty much on the top half of my house.. tried amdro... and ive literally seen the red ants pick it up, move it a foot or so away from the mount, and come back to move another... it is like they got the memo that it is poison.
thanks SO MUCH in advance! Jazz Mann
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Since the first issue is to determine whether there really is a carpenter ant issue, I suggest making sure that's what they are.
Thorax profile is the easiest way to tell. http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/housingandclothing/DK1015.html
And make sure you're not engaging in wishful thinking about how after all these seasons they have not decide to walk in.

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My favorite way of killing them is with a bait called Combat Ant Killing Gel. Dont buy the Roach Killing Gel of the same name.
Its sold at Ace Hardware and it used to be at Home Depot but all I've seen lately is a shelf space with a tag, but the shelf's always been empty.
dickm
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dicko wrote:

In my experience with carpenter ants (Florida), they are much more a symptom than a problem - much more important to find out WHY they are in a structure than to bait and poison them.
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The issue is that I never see them on the ground.
Was just cleaning my gutters today. I saw them just sitting ont eh gutters or facia board doing nothing... like they were sleeping! There is no water in teh gutters, but I can tell some of my facia board (due to improper gutter installation) is rotting..
Went to a farm supply store with a few of the carpenter ants in a ziplock thinking they could prperly identify them, no luck, he just offered me somethign that killed them on contact and no bait..
Even if I had a bait, where would I place it? In my gutters? There is supposed to be rain here for the next 3 days starting tonight... is there a bait that can stick to the side of facia board?
Do I just need to cave in, call my exterminator, remove my gutters, and replace rotted facia board?

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Jazz wrote:

Make sure no tree limbs or hedges are touching the structure, trimming them back makes a big difference. As far as moisture, they get plenty from the dew...sprinkler system, condensation, etc. If you went the route of granules just sprinkling them about the area you see them near. If you use the gel you should be able to get some into the opening itself they are entering. As far as knowing where and why they are there, good luck. Would guess well over 80% of all carpenter ant jobs I do have nothing to do with wood at all, just a hollow chamber that provides warmth.
If you call an exterminator and he gives you a song and dance on how they will destroy your home or that you have to sign up for a years contract before you can get rid of them, show them the door. Don't fall for scare tactics!!
Lar
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That is my experience, I have found colonies in diskette boxes. a VCR and in a water bed (that was not leaking). The "Mother ship" is usually just outside the home in a mulched flower bed and they set up little satellite nests anywhere they can.
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dicko wrote:
>>

jazz, I had mentioned to you on another forum about Maxforce Carp Ant gel. The Combat that dicko speaks of may work as well. Maxforce is the professional division, Combat is sold to homeowners. The only real difference will be the attractant used so if the ants do eat it, it should work fine.
Lar
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worried about what is attracting them since the article states "Carpenter Ants often nest in moist or rotting wood". That also applies to termites. I also live in rural central AL and often come in contact with nests of red or black carpenter ants, but rarely see the Florida variety. And luckily they have been outside and never in the house. It's interesting to watch them come pouring out of the nest on a food drive - looks just like the videos of army ants on the march. Red
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Jazz writes:

Why bother, if they aren't hurting you or your house.
I've heard they keep termites away.
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clipped

Amdro is great for our fire ants - have to be very careful not to disturb them by dumping on the mound. Sprinkle a little bit around mounds when rain not expected for a couple of days. The prefer dry, hot areas with some shelter - along walks and pavers, mainly.
Carpenter ants on your fascia most likely means you have some wood damaged by moisture - rotted. Don't call an exterminator, call someone to repair whatever is their nesting place. BTDT. It is possible they just transit the house on way to rotted tree branch - they are easy to track to locate nests and they forage at dusk. We had loads of them around our condo, due to various neglected maint. problems. Cleaned those up and no more carpenter ants. Some residents dumped poison by the bag full, with no effect. I have read good authorities that suggest mixing up boric acid, sugar and water (Terro) to bait them outdoors, but that also had no effect and was a PIA.
Congratulations on the new pest :o)
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[snip]
[snip]
If your infestation is like most, it's because they migrated into your walls or attic at some time when there was an easy and available route. The suggestion that you probably have fascia damage is a good one, but I suspect that you have an ant's nest either in your walls or attic, and that they travel to the outside of the house rather than have access into your living area.
In our case, one evening I discovered a parade of ants coming from an outdoor nest, up a section of garden hose that was lying across a downspout, up the downspout, across the fascia to a specific opening in the soffit. This nest never invaded the living space, but apparently thrived via access to the outside, until the next summer when they swarmed, and at that time discovered a tiny opening into the channel of an aluminum window frame where the fliers crawled down the frame and into the living space through a small screw hole in the frame. It wasn't until they swarmed that we knew for sure there was a nest in the attic.
Two suggestions:
A. At dusk or shortly thereafter, with a good strong flashlight walk around the entire house looking for ants or trails of ants on your siding, fascia, gutters, downspouts, etc. Also check around where you've seen them going in/out of the fascia to see if you can define a trail they are following. During the daytime, you may find little black marks around places where they've gone through the fascia. If possible, carefully and thoroughly also inspect your attic, especially at/after dark.
B. Once you've determined where the ants may be located, and they possibly are in your attic, you may be able to kill them off with some aerosol bombs that are available at HD, Lowes, etc. Also, seal up the access points, and remove or block their path from the outside. If they're in the walls of the house you may want to get professional help in getting rid of them. Regards --
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You cannot get rid of carpenter ants when you have wet or rotted wood. You may spend a lot of money and temproarily knock down the colony, but they will be back. No wet wood = no carpenter ants.
CWM
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Some personal story on http://www.Carpenter-Ant-Killer.com might help.
tom
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One product that worked well for me. Liquid ant bait from www.gardensalive.com
Blue liquid in a squirt bottle. Squirted some onto the drink coaster (well, I was using a tupperware lid) on my kitchen table. Couple minutes later, I had a line of ants leaning over the edge, slurping the blue liquid down. That was probably five years ago, and I have seen hardly one ant since then.
Don't order everything all at once, they send more catalogs to your adress, and very often have "buy $25 in stuff and get $25 in stuff for free" coupons on their catalogs.
--

Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
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You say this blue ant bait is what you used for carpenter ants or some other breed?
On Apr 1, 8:45 pm, "Stormin Mormon"

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I never thought I would be happy and excited to see carpanter ants going in and out of my house but I am! Okay, so I see where their holes are and now I need to know what product to put in those holes... suggestions!

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