We think there are ant nests in our home but would like to confirm with you first. Please bear with us as we describe the whole situation below.
About 3 weeks ago, one morning we saw a pile of sawdust at a very small ridgeline crack where the base of the bathtub meets the floor at (on the outside of the tub, there are separate bathtub and shower stall in our bathroom). There are also about 5 winged ants sluggishly crawling around on the floor. We thought they could be termites so we check the pictures and verified that they were not termites (pinched waist), probably carpenter ants. We killed the ants and removed them along with the sawdust pile. Three days later, we saw the same things, sawdust pile and sluggish winged ants at the same location. This time, after we killed and removed the winged ants and sawdust, we used the 'Raid Ant & Roach spray' at the crack and all along that area.
A few days passed and there were no more ants so we thought all the ants were gone (mistakenly). But we still used the same Raid Ant spray evryday to make sure. Then 2 weeks ago, one morning, we saw about 50 winged ants, some dead, some sluggish, on the bathroom floor and along the window sill. We started to spray more but every morning, we still saw them, but less (about 30). We sprayed at the crack, around this area and at the window sill. After reading about the winged males/females mating, we're really worried.
1. Does this mean we have a (or more) carpenter ant colony nesting inside somewhere our bathroom?
2. If there are ant nests in our house, then why do we only see the winged ants (supposedly out for mating), but we do not see the wingless worker ants inside the home?
3. Did the winged male ants die right after mating? Or they died because of the 'Raid Ant spray' that we used at the crack and window sill?
4. What are your conclusion and suggestions on how to resolve the ant problem.
Please let us know. Your responses are much appreciated. :)
Thanks so much for your help,
Homeowners with Ant Problem
Dear Homeowners with Ant Problem,
Although most ants are happy living outside, there are a few pest ant species that find living in our homes preferable. Unfortunately this includes carpenter ants!
If what you are seeing are carpenter ants (or termites - check out this post to tell the difference) it is important that you contact a pest control group that is familiar with these insects to have them eradicated. As these insects can cause structural damage to your home it is important that you have an experienced pest control expert exterminate them.
For general tips about controlling ants in your home, please check out this previous post here.
One thing to note that since ants live in colonies, unlike most other home pest insects, using insect killing sprays will not really fix the problem. When you spray the ants you are seeing, you are only making a dent in the colony as a whole. You need to kill the queen, which is deep in the colony, to insure the death of the whole ant colony.
Regarding your specific questions, I will address each below:
Q1. Does this mean we have a (or more) carpenter ant colony nesting inside somewhere our bathroom?
A: This is likely, although they could be living outside of your home and only venturing in. But since you are seeing them in large numbers, I suspect they are living in your home.
Q2. If there are ant nests in our house, then why do we only see the winged ants (supposedly out for mating), but we do not see the wingless worker ants inside the home?
A: Although carpenter ants like living in our homes, they do not necessarily like to eat the same food we do, which is why you rarely seem them foraging in your home. The sexuals (virgin queens and males) are trying to find a way out to go on their mating flight.
Q3. Did the winged male ants die right after mating? Or they died because of the 'Raid Ant spray' that we used at the crack and window sill?
A: I doubt the ants have had a chance to mate yet (they usually require a mating flight or swarm). They are likely dying due to the insecticide.
Q4. What are your conclusion and suggestions on how to resolve the ant problem.
A: As mentioned above, it is good idea to contact a pest control specialist who is familiar with exterminating carpenter ants and termites.
Best of luck,
Corrie Moreau & the AntAsk Team