November 4, 2011


When we bought our house we had a challenge downstairs. The previous owners "finished" the downstairs but before they added dry wall and carpet the forgot a significant step - to seal the concrete. Concrete is not a solid material, it allows moister to travel through it and you have to seal it to protect your house. Since the previous owners were either too stupid or too lazy to take an extra day to seal the concrete there was black mold growing on all walls. So one of our first projects was to remove all the walls and carpet.

We have a good friend, George, who has experience doing dry wall. We hired George to spend a few days working downstairs. He began with demolition.

I had just put Jordan down for a nap and I was using the time to clean the kitchen. George came upstairs and ask "Mindy, do you have a can of Raid?" I reached under the sink and handed him a spray can. About 5 minutes later George came back upstairs and ask "Do you have another can of Raid?" I said "Ok, what's going on down there?"

George had removed the drywall under the window in the family room. The insulation was exposed. We walked up and he lifted a strip of insulation. Underneath where thousands of black carpenter ants and hundred of white ant eggs. My skin started to crawl and the hairs on my arm stood up. I grabbed the second bottle of Raid and we unloaded the whole thing on those ants. It barely made a dent - there were just so many ants. (Yes, I opened the window to let it air out.)

I went back upstairs to call the exterminators. I begged for them to come out that day. There was no way I could go to sleep that night know just one floor down thousands of ants were scurrying around and eat away at the walls. Fortunately they were able to come within a few hours. But the pesticide they used takes 24 hours or more to kill all the ants.

Here is what I learned about killing ants. Ants clean each other constantly. So if you put a little pesticide where at least some of the ants will walk the pesticide will be transfered within a day to all the rest of the ants.

Two days later I was down there with the shopvac sucking up thousands of dead ants. Which only slightly less creepy than when they are crawling around. Then George came back and started in on the repairs. That's when he found the mouse nest. Exterminator called again.

Note - For those worried about us having a small child in a house with black mold and parents spraying Raid willy-nilly, we kept downstairs off-limits and closed-off to Jordan until it was cleaned. We let her go look once when all the walls and carpet were gone to see how crazy it looked. And the exterminator we used then and now is Alpha Ecological, which uses pet and kid-safe pesticides.

1 comment:

Robin said...

Eeks! That would make my skin crawl.