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I overheard a couple of new residents the other day discussing their horror at having encountered army ants, so I thought I would raise this issue for those who are unfamiliar with them.

Army ants are largely harmless (although they DO bite when provoked). They form long columns and obliterate everything in their path. From time to time, they make their way into houses, where they methodically clean all the floors of debris. Once they make it inside, there's no way I know of to get rid of them because there are so many. My housekeeper advises that you should gather up your pets and simply leave the house until they finish their business and file back out, usually in less than an hour. When you return, your floors will be pristine.

I had one encounter with army ants years ago. I returned from an errand and found our great room floor totally covered with them. Although I had read about them, I panicked and did all the wrong things. Now, we generally notice them gathering forces outdoors, so we close all the doors and spray the thresholds. If it weren't for the dogs and cat, I would welcome them just to clean the house. Occasionally we don't notice them in time and are obligated to flee outdoors for a while until they finish up.

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Bonnie,

We have had a couple of ant swarms coming into our home, and especially the conduits for our interior electrical wiring. Couldn't walk anywhere in most parts of our home without squishing them by the tens of thousands while walking. There is nothing that we can do except let them finish their work and then exit. I'm not sure what the colloquial expression for being much larger than a bazillion bazillion, but whatever that word is would apply here. There they were in the house and just oozing out of the wall sockets.

Haven't had a case of ant invasion for a couple of years now. Dunno know why not. But saying our thanks.

We do have a monthly extermination of the outside and inside of the house, using environmentally friendly stuff. But that has been for more than a decade now. There doesn't seem to be any deterrent effect from the extermination procedure.

We agree with you -- just leave and let them do their thing. A couple of hours at the worst.

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Wow - what stories!  We had them marching across our patio a couple of times, but never in the house.  I'm glad to hear they can just be left to do their job, then they leave the house cleaner than when they entered it.  Amazing!

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Bud,

Who does your  monthly extermination?  That is environmentally friendly stuff?

 

 

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Fumigadora Hermanos Vargas is the company name. Rodolfo Vargas has been servicing our extermination needs since 2006. I do not know what chemistry he uses, but he tells me that it is environmentally friendly, whatever that may mean.

We have him come once a month, and he typically calls a day or two prior to confirm availability. A monthly extermination cycle takes about one hour. He goes all around the outside of the house, and then in each and every room.

His phones are (not sure which is the most current) 6626-3262, 6224-5068, 6998-7017, 6447-7675.

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Bud, I don't know if you have pets, but do you remove them and their food before he sprays?  How about things on countertops?  Just wondering what kind of preliminary precautions he asks you to take.  Thanks.

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We have no pets. Doesn't mean we don't like them. We do! But with our travel schedule it just isn't fair to the kitties. And with our security infrastructure, no dogs can enter the property.

There are several cats from who-knows-where that come over for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at our place, and sometimes in-between snacks. But they are not there when the extermination procedure is underway. They are at our place for only about 10 or 15 minutes and then adios. Even if they were there when Sr Vargas started, they would be quick to exit because they are very skittish, and we would escort them away if they were to remain.

All food/liquid serving items are routinely put out fresh when the kitties arrive, and retrieved inside the house when they depart, so even the serving items don't get exposed to any spray.

No human consumption food items are exposed to the spray. Sr Vargas uses a small, very directional hand pump type nozzle (no fogging type spray), so he has complete control over where the spray goes. The vast majority of the spraying is done at the baseboard level.

Thanks for your concern. It is always good to revisit health issues on a periodic basis. And health issues apply to pets as well.

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Lol, my question wasn't around your preference for or against pets, but was trying to get info around the chemicals used by your exterminator and what directions, if any, there were for pets.   Perhaps someone who has pets and uses Sr. Vargas' service will respond. Every extermiation service I used throught the US recommended removing them from the premises (indoors and out) for varying periods of time and covering or storing any open fodstuffs (pet or human).  It's not the spray aroud the baseboards that concerns me as much as the residual aerosol effect of the fumigant dropets.

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