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Re: GBlist: Carpenter Ants

I have come across references that carpenter ants will nest in dry wood
but I do not have any information as to what those dry wood conditions
would be. The optimum nesting sites seem to be moist locations as eggs
need to be kept moist and they will tunnel through dry wood to get to
those locations in fact unlike termites who keep their tunnels moist
carpenter ants prefer tunnels to be dry. As to bringing in moisture I
have seen no references to this. There is a symbiotic relationship
between various forms of fungal growth and insect activity with the
fungus working as a form of attractant (glycol is also an attractant
which makes me wonder about the role of paints and finishes)
In answer to Ian Shapiro's question about humidity levels, I don't have
any references to optimum temp. and humidity but if the relationship to
fungal growth holds true an increase of up to 6% over 15% moisture
content will promote fungal activity which in turn could attract ants.
Generally mositure levels of 20% can initiate growth and once
established will continue at levels as low as 15% which is perhaps where
the reference to dry nesting comes in as a lot of supposedly kiln dried
wood I've recieved checks in at 15%.
It was misleading of me to say that ants will sprout wings and leave.
Only some do, the main colonies can live peacefully (?) for years
removing crumbs of food and other debris from our living spaces (maybe
they eat dust mites). Borax is a safe treatment for everything but the
ants and the area around the borax mine.

John Salmen

Alex Wilson wrote:
> Regarding Ian Shapiro's query on carpenter ants and some other postings, I
> believe it is a fallacy to think that carpenter ants will only tunnel
> through moist or rotted wood. From what I understand about carpenter ants,
> they prefer tunneling through soft, rotted wood, because it's less work
> (life foam insulation), but they will also tunnel through solid wood.
> Furthermore, once they establish nesting cavities in solid wood, they
> elevate the local humidity, which leads to rotting.
> So, yes, carpenter ants often are indicators of moisture problems or
> rotting in a house, but it is not a foregone conclusion that those moisture
> problems existed prior to the ants.
> General measures for reducing risk of carpenter ant infestations include
> keeping the building clean and free of food scraps, crumbs, etc, avoiding
> vegetation right against the house, and building tightly with few easy
> entry points from the exterior.
> I have had good luck eliminating carpenter ant infestations with
> "bait"-type insecticides, which workers carry back to the colony. "Combat"
> makes one of these products. The poison is carried back to the colony where
> others eat it and die horrible deaths. They are probably highly toxic, but
> also highly targeted, thus avoiding broader applications. I've also had
> infestation problems in cellulose insulation.
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