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Old 06-07-2021, 10:07 AM   #1
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ANTS

Background info:
2011 K-Z Sportsmen CLassic 19BH trailer.

I rented out my camper this past weekend to a couple with a young daughter. I went to pick up the camper and when I went to open the FW tank drain under the bunk bed, I see a bunch of insects scurrying around on top of the white water tank. My eyes were not adjusted from the sunny outside yet so I couldn't tell what they were, but first though some kind of roach. Anyway, I closed the lid and waited a bit for my eyes to adjust and opened it again and they turned out to be big black ants. Maybe a quarter inch long. There were dozens of them. I went outside and sure enough, there were a some on the ground below the water storage area. Now, I had never seen any of them at any point in the past in my camper. I had opened the tank cover to close the drain valve before the rental and did not see any and if they were there, I am sure I would have as many of them as there were. So, I assume the infiltrated the camper during the rental which was just two nights.
When I got home, I broke out a can of insect killer spray and sprayed the snot out of the whole area under the bunk which houses the Hot water tank, fresh water tank water pump and 30 amp electrical cord. They immediately started scattering and dying. I am sure there were well over 100 I could see dead. There were a few I found outside the tank storage area and I killed them. That was yesterday. Today, I went back in to check and noticed a couple out in the open and under things like the waste basket. I checked all the cupboards and other storage areas and didn't see more than maybe one in any of them. I didn't see any live ones in the tank storage area. So, I am hoping I killed off the colony and the few I found today were just stragglers. I will keep checking periodically, but should I be worried? Should I bug bomb the camper? What would you suggest I do if I continue to see them?

Here are some photos after I sprayed the water storage area.





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Old 06-07-2021, 10:18 AM   #2
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Go to Lowe's Depot and get some Terro ant bait.
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Old 06-07-2021, 10:52 AM   #3
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Carpenter Ants...

They live in damp, decomposing wood...

So, if the trailer was parked up against a woodpile or a dead tree, (heck, even NEAR one of those!) they'll be all over it...

(Or... The trailer is made out of wood, and one of the sticks is starting to rot)
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Old 06-07-2021, 11:00 AM   #4
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Spraying them won't kill the colony if there is one.
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Old 06-07-2021, 11:14 AM   #5
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OK, so is the Terro Ant bait the best solution? Or are there any other suggestons?
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Old 06-07-2021, 11:19 AM   #6
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Call an exterminator, but when I had an ant problem my bug guy used Terro.
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Old 06-07-2021, 11:45 AM   #7
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Yah, I am not to the "Exterminator" $200 stage yet. Like you said, he would probably use the same Terro method as I could do for $5. I will get some Terro and put it out and will keep checking, and if I still am seeing the after a few days, I will maybe have to call "the man".
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Old 06-07-2021, 08:58 PM   #8
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Well, I went in again today and notice two on the linoleum floor. Nothing but dead ones in the water tank storage area. I put 4 Terro baits out. They do have big enough openings for these ants. I hope they work. If not, I will have to try something else.
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Old 06-07-2021, 09:02 PM   #9
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Just so you know, when I put out the Terro I had a steady stream of ants from the bait to somewhere behind my fridge.
My bug guy said to leave it out for a good 2 weeks. I did. The steady stream was gone after about a day. I left it out for 2 weeks and the ants are gone.
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Old 06-07-2021, 09:02 PM   #10
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Chances are you got most of them when you hosed the bunch. Just keep picking off any stragglers you may see.

If you get bait, you'll have to check and see if they take it. What bait works depends on the ant and the time in the nest's cycle - IF you have a nest nearby. Sometimes it's sugars and other times its protein. Sugar based baits work best on odorous house ants which are commonly called "Sugar Ants." That's not what you have because they are the little tiny ants people get in their kitchens. Terro clear liquid ant baits are sugar based. Protein baits are usually a peanut butter based and a lot of baits in opaque bait stations are the peanut butter stuff. Larger ants usually prefer a corn based granulated bait. I can't tell from your photos what species you have, but they are too large to be two very common ants - Odorous or Pavement Ants. You can type the description of your critters into Google along with your location and see what you get. Be sure to describe your quarry as best you can. Is it all black? Does it have a red head? Large mandibles? Is it shiny black or does it appear to have hairs? Etc. Otherwise be prepared to try a few different baits.

For general information to anyone reading this. One important trick to locating a nest is to pull up a chair and watch where ants are coming or going from. Scouts are usually walking around randomly "searching" When they find something they'll leave a pheromone trail for other to follow. This will turn into a foraging or harvesting trail leading back to the nest - an ant highway so to speak - follow the highway as far as you can. Also look for holes with debris around the entrance such as sand or in the case of Carpenter ants - sawdust. That indicates nest or tunnel building. Sometimes the opposite is true, in a normally dirty, dusty area you'll find a small hole that has been cleaned of dirt and dust bunnies. I did institutional pest control and taking time to watch them before treating was a great way for determining WHERE they were coming from so I could bait close to the source.

Most people make the mistake of hosing down the ones they see because they want them gone NOW! What that sometimes does, is set-up a whack-a-mole situation where the nest continues to make workers who just pop up in another place. What people don't know about just spraying a bunch of ants is depending on where you spray them, if there's a nest close by, it can sound an alarm in the nest and the reaction is to splinter the nest and scatter it in different direction each bunch taking it's own queen. That turns one nest into many and you've made the problem worse. Pros use non repellant baits which ants can't detect. Ants will avoid area sprayed with regular sprays like Raid. That's why baits are so important. One helpful thing about following the trail is that even though you may lose it at some point, it usually leads to a place where you can place the bait that isn't accessible to kids or pets. Ant bait has a very low toxicity, but I usually preferred a hidden spot if for no other reason as it limits tampering by curious kids or pets.

If I were you, I'd be poking around hidden spaces with a flashlight, and yes, place some bait around and watch for activity. Don't be surprised if activity increases after you place bait. If it does, watch for trails of ants taking the bait back home. Check outside at any place your rig touches the ground. If you find a trail that leads outside, bait there, and feed the workers before they enter.

I rarely sprayed, and prefer bait because spraying only kills the ants you see - bait kills the colony. Terro brand baits are ok, and are the most common household baits you see in stores. You may have to try a couple different bait type to see what they'll take. Depending on the ant species and it's nest cycle, some prefer sugars and others protein. The bait I used that worked best for me was Combat MAX Ant killing gel in a plastic syringe. It comes in a clear gel that sugar based, and a tan gel that was peanut butter based. Only about 5% of the ants I encountered would take the peanut butter gel. Some ants prefer granular baits with a corn base.

I'm wondering if your renters had a box of old wood that contained some carpenter ants. When people say big black ants in a structure, that's often what comes to mind. If they are, they usually prefer a solid granular bait. Don't panic though, there are other species that could be describes as "large black ants that won't turn the wood in your rig to sawdust."

Right now my seat of the pants feeling is you had a bunch of hitchhikers looking for a cozy place to set up shop. I might think differently if they had been an ongoing problem, although ant appearances are seasonal. Chances are you got most of them and will eventually get the rest if you stay after them.

One final piece of advice. Take it from someone who battled the little stinkers regularly for years. Never underestimate your enemy, and never assume you've won - I've been fooled more than once. Monitor for activity until you are sure they are gone.

Good luck!
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Old 06-07-2021, 09:16 PM   #11
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astrnmrtom:

Thank you for the detailed response and great background info. Yah, I am nearly 100% sure that these guys either crawled up a wheel, a stabilizer or the electric cord to enter my camper while it was set up for the renters. I had opened the compartment while at my home and just the day before delivering it for the rental and there were NO ants in there. When I opened it at the camp site to open the drain valve, they were all over. So, yah, I am pretty sure that the source was the camp site 15 miles from my home. I have poked around and aside from seeing one or two here and there each time, I have not seen any trails or bunches of them. I hope I got the main mass with the spray and there are just a few stragglers left wandering around lost. I also hope there was no queen that made it to my camper and if she did I got her with the spray as well. I will leave the baits in place for the next few weeks and keep checking. If I keep finding them, I may try to capture one and then try to ID them and see if I can target a different bait for them. Thanks everyone. I will try to remember to update after a few weeks to let every one know the outcome.
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Old 06-07-2021, 10:52 PM   #12
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sirtate: I think you may be right on your first scenario. I think I simply parked in/on a spot with the colony already established and they climbed into the camper via the wheel, stabilizer jack or power cord. I am going with the power cord since it leads directly into the storage area with the water tank where I found them all. So, hopefully the was no queen in the bunch and I killed 95% of the ones that were in there and the rest will just die off from the Terro baits or me stepping on them or spraying them as I see them or simply loneliness and old age.
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Old 06-08-2021, 05:25 AM   #13
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This is what i use for ants and it works every time.


https://www.lowes.com/pd/TERRO-6-Cou...ack/5001954631
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Old 06-08-2021, 06:24 AM   #14
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They seek out water, the workers use it to soften up the wood they're burrowing into. They are as bad as termites in a wood frame house.

Have you dumped and rinsed the fresh tank?
(You may have some in there, through the overflow)
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