ants in rooftop AC unit - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 07-29-2020, 10:44 AM   #1
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ants in rooftop AC unit

Looks like I have carpenter ants. ??!!!?


I am now in Salida, CO, and have noticed some ants inside the trailer (small ants), and remembering the ants on the roof around the trailer AC when I was packing at my house (Austin, TX), I put some ant gel stuff on cardboard at the inside vents. (Hot Shot clear Roach & Ant bait, in plunger tube, active ingredient Dinotefuran 0.05%, from Home Depot). Big ants started coming out of the inside vents. I would say 50 to 100.

Then I went outside and saw hundreds of ants coming out of various openings on the rooftop unit, mostly large with wings. I put some of the same bait on pieces of cardboard close to the openings. Some of the ants on the outside seemed to be a little woozy so I donít know if they had been affected by the bait on the inside. I didnít seem them actively attracted to the bait I put outside. Then it started to rain so I went into the trailer. It was a hard rain and lasted about 1/2 hour. After the rain, no ants on the outside, but donít know if they were washed away or whether they retreated back to the AC unit. More investigation to follow.


I have searched the web and forums trying to find a similar case of ants specifically around/in the trailer AC, but I keep finding cases of carpenter ants in cupboards etc. I donít think this is the same (yet?), but if they are carpenter ants, then I suspect they are getting in via the AC. Iíd love to know how the support for the rooftop unit is incorporated into whatever framing there might be in the roof (around the Max Fan etc.). None of the photos Escape sent during the build in 2016 show that.

I know ants are attracted to home AC units, although I have not had that problem.

Iím doing more research and Iíll be putting out more bait today on the outside. Just thought I would send this in case you have some advice or things to look for.



thanks!
Kathryn
Attached Images
File Type: jpg compare body of ant and termite.jpg (40.3 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpeg ants coming out of interior AC vent.jpeg (34.1 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpeg ants coming out of rooftop AC unit.jpeg (45.5 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpeg ants coming out of roof unt.jpeg (41.3 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpeg ants exiting rooftop AC.jpeg (62.1 KB, 23 views)
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Old 07-29-2020, 10:56 AM   #2
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Wow - sorry to see this. I have no advice other than opening and cleaning, but am wondering if anyone has had occurrences of wasps etc in the same area? I know there are a lot of posts outlining various screens for vents and ports on the sides of the trailer, but has anyone come up with AC screening?
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Old 07-29-2020, 11:20 AM   #3
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If I were to show this to Deb she'd never go in the trailer again. I'd pull off the cover and see what's going on.
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Old 07-29-2020, 11:30 AM   #4
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Thanks to both who replied so quickly. Please don't let those pictures scare anyone off! Just another day on a trailer trip.
I now have three recommendations to open up the AC and check things out. That makes sense to me, and I'll try to get that done - it's beyond my skills (for now?)


Meanwhile, if anyone else has dealt with this, please contribute.


keeping calm, and carrying on!
Kathryn
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Old 07-29-2020, 12:14 PM   #5
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It's only 4 screws and lift it off, the hard part is getting to a place you can lift it off from and see inside it. If you are on the road, a lot of the class A folks carry ladders, maybe the camp host, as long as you are in a campground.
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Old 07-29-2020, 01:03 PM   #6
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They look a lot like texas fire ants which are an invasive species
Hopefully you can contain them to your A/C & trailer and kill the infestation.before it spreads .Remember that many spray insecticides are harmful to humans , pets , plastic , rubber seals and ants .
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Old 07-29-2020, 01:58 PM   #7
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ants in rooftop AC unit

Thanks again, all! I haven't been attacked as I have been in TX, so I hope they aren't fire ants. Most of what I have seen in this situation are large with wings, but they may be some part of the family that I haven't seen in TX.
Anyway, this morning I saw a few dead ants (mostly the small ones) on the roof of the trailer. I was seeing a few of the large ones with wings inside (very few), so first I put more of the gel bait around the interior vents, then more near the unit outside. The large ants started coming out of the rooftop unit, but nothing like the surge yesterday.

I'll be able to get help taking off the rooftop unit when I get back to Austin, and I'll be anxious to see what horror I see. In the meantime I'll continue to use the gel - no sprays.
Kathryn
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Old 08-01-2020, 03:24 PM   #8
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Thanks again, all! I haven't been attacked as I have been in TX, so I hope they aren't fire ants. Most of what I have seen in this situation are large with wings, but they may be some part of the family that I haven't seen in TX.
Anyway, this morning I saw a few dead ants (mostly the small ones) on the roof of the trailer. I was seeing a few of the large ones with wings inside (very few), so first I put more of the gel bait around the interior vents, then more near the unit outside. The large ants started coming out of the rooftop unit, but nothing like the surge yesterday.

I'll be able to get help taking off the rooftop unit when I get back to Austin, and I'll be anxious to see what horror I see. In the meantime I'll continue to use the gel - no sprays.
Kathryn
I go way back with Carpenter Ants. They infested our first homes bathroom ...a fixer upper, moisture was in the walls. They like wet areas, you best search for water if they are CAnts. The Queen is the only one with wings as I recall. So you shouldn’t see too many with wings. I hope the best for you.
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Old 08-01-2020, 03:27 PM   #9
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Also..they commonly get in buildings with overhanging tree branches.
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:35 PM   #10
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This past winter we were parked under a mango tree for 4 months. The flowers, pollen and duff really built up on our roof, about 4 inches thick. Then I noticed ants in the cabinet above our 5 c.f. fridge, the microwave cabinet opening. Cleaned out the cabinet and thought the ants were gone. They came back. Gary borrowed a class As ladder and cleaned off the mango duff and discovered a huge ant nest. We sprayed the A.C. housing with Beygone and the interior ant colonies disappeared. Now back in Arizona at 100įF heat, no humidity, no rain for months, etc. I do not think those tropical ants are still with us.

In FL the first year we had the trailer we had ants coming in somewhere low, the wildlife refuge we stayed at had ant colonies all over the sand parking spaces. Within a week the ants were in our trailer. The park manager told us to spray WD40 on all the spaces along the floor, under cabinets, etc. That worked and we had to repeat it once every 2 weeks. Again, back in AZ our ant problem went away.
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:43 PM   #11
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ants in rooftop AC unit

Hello all who have recently replied. I have to say, Upfisk, your experience sounds like a nightmare. I'm making note of the product that you used. My ants seem to be under control using the gel bait I mentioned at the beginning of the thread. I am not currently parked under a tree. My trailer has wintered in the same spot in Austin since 2016, and I have never had this experience. But then I don't know when these guys got on board. I'm going to be vigilant, I guess.


thanks to all
Kathryn
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Old 08-01-2020, 08:09 PM   #12
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I've encountered state parks in the SE that recommend protecting yourself from sugar ants, even in January.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:44 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by KathC View Post
Thanks again, all! I haven't been attacked as I have been in TX, so I hope they aren't fire ants.
They are definitely not fire ants. Fire ants are smaller, and have a reddish brown and black two tone body. They don't nest in structures or places like AC units, but carpenter ants do. Fire ants are on the ground, mainly in turfgrass. Also, the fact that the ones in the photo are swarmers (they have wings) points to carpenter ants. Fire ants do swarm, but you never see a group of winged ones in such numbers. Fire ants breed in mid air, hundreds of feet up, which makes them very hard to eradicate. Lastly, we Texans beg to differ with those who call imported fire ants "Texas fire ants". They came to America by accident in the 1930s through the port of Mobile Alabama, not Texas.
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:53 PM   #14
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ants are terrible in Texas with the humidity we used Fresh Cab in our motorhome when in storage .....another home solution is mix cayenne pepper/dawn/ lemon juice/ vinegar / and water in spray bottle ..... hope you found some solutions.... but I just have to say this : ants were fleeing COV19 in Texas ...LOL
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