Carpenter Ant Attack!

When we decided to move the laundry to the bathroom closet, we were surprised by two things:

  1. The wall was full of not insulation but of old, abandoned, giant bees nests
  2. The floor was rotting

The rotting floor lead to an even more troubling discovery – carpenter ants!

We discovered that apparently the bathtub pipe had been leaking into the crawlspace underneath the house, leaving constant standing water in the area below the bathroom.

Standing water rots wood and attracts pests.

Carpenter ants live in rotted wood as its easy to burrow in. I was surprised by this – I thought they actually at the wood but apparently they do not.

We thought we were just adding the laundry room and would re-do the bathroom later, as the actual tile floor was outdated but in OK shape. But when we discovered that the sub flooring below was rotting and full of carpenter ants, our plans changed. We would need to both add the laundry room and fully renovate the bathroom – on a budget.

How to Eliminate Carpenter Ants

Our overall goal was to eliminate the wet, rotted sub flooring they like to live in.

  1. Bait: Before we started removing the floor, we used store bought poison bait. The ants will pickup the bait and bring it back to the queen, hopefully killing the queen and much of the colony.
  2. Remove the floor & suck ’em up: Then, we removed the crumbling subfloor. The sub flooring was full of ants! We vacuumed up as much as we could, and disposed of the old wood.
  3. Pesticide: We used powdered pesticide around the vicinity of the bathroom.
  4. More Pesticide: Once the new floor was installed, we used the pesticide in the crawlspace. We made sure it was when we wouldn’t be going under the house for a while.
  5. Fix the source of the standing water: Obviously we also still needed to fix the leak beneath the bathtub to eliminate the water beneath the house. We also discovered we needed to add a shower door, as the shape of the tub was allowing water to spray out and destroy the floor around the tub from the top as well!

After removing the sub flooring, we would occasionally see a carpenter ant in another part of the house – just one stray one every now and then. We made sure we killed them when we saw them.

I try my best to avoid things like pesticides and chemicals, but we really needed to make sure these ants didn’t come back and destroy the new floor.

Update – February, 2017: Glad to say we were successful! Still no sign of carpenter ants!

 

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