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  1. #1
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    Default Ants In The Attic

    I looked at an 8 year old townhome today and from street view, it looked pretty good. How quickly things can unravel.

    In the basement in pic #1, there was a lot of moisture staining and rot in the rim joist and subfloor area. At first I thought it was primarily a grading issue as the front grades were too high against the stone siding. But after seeing how high the moisture damage appears on the basement ceiling, I knew it had to be more than grading and suspected the chimney. You'll also notice in pic #1 the award winning flue install and I-joist modification. How many crap defects you jam into a 1 foot sqare area?

    Pic #2 shows a front view of the house where I saw ants early in the inspection at grade level and on the wall but I didn't think much of it at the time. I took this pic at the end of the inspection after visiting the attic. You'll see why soon.

    Pic #3 shows the flue pipe chase and staining on the wall in the attic.

    Pic #4 shows a closeup on the inside of the chimney chase next to the flue pipe and a lot of water damage and deterioration.

    Pic #5 shows what happened after I moved some insulation away from the wall and floor. The ants just kept pouring out.

    Pic #6 is a view of the front of the house showing where the ants appeared to enter and where they showed in the attic

    The main source of the leak into the chase appeared to be at the junction if the chimney chase with the roof. Based upon the amount of damage I saw, it looks as though this has been going on for quite some time. I have my doubts there is any flashing installed at the water entry point.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    Not sure from the photos but it looks like moisture ants to me.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    As Trent mentioned looks like a "moisture ant" infestation or possible what is known as "acrobat" ants although they usually don't have that type of debris present.

    rick


  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    Looks like termites might have been in there and then the ants moved in.

    A close up of the ants wood have been nise.

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
    www.inspectmycastle.com
    Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Plano, Flower Mound, DFW, TX

  5. #5
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    Pissants, Piss Ants

    Small, Nuisance Ant Infestations

    Liometopum
    Odorous Ants, Piss Ants, Sugar Ants

    In the United States, any small or tiny ant that infests a home is often labeled as a Pissant or piss ant. An actual Pissant is an ant that lives in certain European forests and gets its name from the odor produce by its nesting material - pine straw and pine needles. Middle English pissemyre : pisse, urine (from the smell of the formic acid that ants secrete); piss + mire, ant (probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Danish myre).
    Small indoor ant infestations (those commonly called piss ants, sugar ants) can be any of a variety of small ants. Pharaoh Ants, Ghost Ants, White-Footed Ants, Odorous House Ants, Crazy Ants and other small ants are often the number one pest control problem in certain areas of the country. On the west coast of the United States, Argentine Ants are a major concern.
    Each ant species has different characteristics that must be examined before deciding on pest control methods. Most small ants can easily detect insecticide materials in ant bait, making an ant bait program ineffective. Pharaoh Ants, on the other hand, require extensive baiting procedures to eliminate them from a structure.
    Ant baits are very attractive pest control tools to many people for various reasons. If an ant population will accept a bait, insecticide sprays and dusts are not always necessary. In many cases the ants seem to accept the bait only to desert it after one or two days. Once this happens, conventional sprays and dusts are often needed to eliminate the ant colony from a home or other structure. Spraying the interior and exterior surfaces of the building with a Cypermethrin product easily kills foraging ants. Using Delta Dust in cracks, crevices, entry points, hiding places and areas such as attics will kill ants and other bugs for long periods and is often necessary for large or stubborn ant infestations

    What you show in your photo looks just like what I had in a stall shower one time. the tile pan had a leak and the nest was in the wall studs. they cut the crap out of the studs.

    If you smash one on your finger they take a sniff good stuff

    L.O.L.

    Best

    Ron


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    I agree, a close up photo would be nice. Could also be carpenter ants? Carpenter Ants

    Carpenter ants love wet wood and leave damage similar to termites, except they also leave a pile of sawdust. They don't need tubes to travel in. I've seen them entering attics by crawling along the electrical, cable and/or telephone lines.


  7. #7
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Frederickson View Post
    I agree, a close up photo would be nice. Could also be carpenter ants? Carpenter Ants

    Carpenter ants love wet wood and leave damage similar to termites, except they also leave a pile of sawdust. They don't need tubes to travel in. I've seen them entering attics by crawling along the electrical, cable and/or telephone lines.
    The Ants are to small for carpenter ants.

    Best

    Ron


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    I wasn't able to get a close up pic that wasn't blurry. The WDI inspector is scheduled to inspect the property today so he'll be making the call there.


  9. #9
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    How you folks can profess to identify the offending insects in those photos with even the least degree of accuracy is beyond me. I know board-certified entomologists who can't perform that particular super-human feat.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    Doesn't take much to raise your hackles Aaron.


  11. #11
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Doesn't take much to raise your hackles Aaron.
    NO: Invest in a dictionary or a thesaurus and you won't find yourself inappropriately using phrases like "raise your hackles" in a situation where incredulity is the operative attitude.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    raise (somebody's) hackles also make (somebody's) hackles rise
    to annoy someone
    Usage notes: Hackles are the hairs on the back of a dog's neck which stand up when it is angry.
    The politician's frank interview may have raised hackles in his party. The movie's pro-war message made many people's hackles rise.
    See also: hackle, raise

    raise your hackles
    to annoy someone Jim could raise her hackles quickly, but she enjoyed being with him anyway.
    Related vocabulary: make your hair stand on end
    Etymology: based on the literal meaning of hackles (the hairs on the back of a dog’s neck that stick up when the dog fears something)
    See also: hackle, raise


    Aaron's hackles were raised because he was not able to identify the ants in Nick's pictures. HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    Aaron's hackles were raised because he was not able to identify the ants in Nick's pictures.
    NO: No anger involved, just disbelief, and plenty of it.


  14. #14
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    NO: No anger involved, just disbelief, and plenty of it.

    You are just mad because he found the name out of junior. You have the day off so you are trying to get hackle to raise

    Now.....Who is your choice of builders if you had to pick one.

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
    www.inspectmycastle.com
    Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Plano, Flower Mound, DFW, TX

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    You are just mad because he found the name out of junior. You have the day off so you are trying to get hackle to raise

    Now.....Who is your choice of builders if you had to pick one.
    TM: Only the morning off. Like every other appointment lately, it rescheduled at the last minute because of lender issues, lazy sellers, stupid agents, whatever.

    I already posted the builders on the other thread.

    Here's a visual acuity exam for the eagle eyes who claim to know what sort of ants those are from the photos posted:

    What sort of beetles are those next to the base of the telephone pole?

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    TM: Only the morning off. Like every other appointment lately, it rescheduled at the last minute because of lender issues, lazy sellers, stupid agents, whatever.

    I already posted the builders on the other thread.

    Here's a visual acuity exam for the eagle eyes who claim to know what sort of ants those are from the photos posted:

    What sort of beetles are those next to the base of the telephone pole?

    Not trying to sound to negitive but in the past month I have had more reschedules and cancellations than I have had inspections....No lie....

    Gets one a bit down but I am still looking up.

    Serious. Jobs dropping like dead flies in a cloud of Raid and website traffic being seriously down.

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
    www.inspectmycastle.com
    Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Plano, Flower Mound, DFW, TX

  17. #17
    John Kogel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    What sort of beetles are those next to the base of the telephone pole?
    Those are are not Beetles, they're SUV's, I think the blue one is a Ford Explorer.

    I agree that to put a name to the insect by looking at a few pics is going way out on a limb.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Not trying to sound to negitive but in the past month I have had more reschedules and cancellations than I have had inspections....No lie....

    Gets one a bit down but I am still looking up.

    Serious. Jobs dropping like dead flies in a cloud of Raid and website traffic being seriously down.
    TM: Much of the problem lies in one of two areas, both are related:

    (1) Appraisals: the lenders are being stingy with that money that we loaned (gave) them.

    (2) Forclosures and Short Sales: the brokers and agents who handle these are pond scum who take a pittance for listing them for the banks (who are under the pond) and do absolutely nothing in return. It bogs down the already very difficult process of buying or selling a house in this market.


  19. #19
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    I agree that to put a name to the insect by looking at a few pics is going way out on a limb.
    WE HAVE A WINNER!


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    This long-distance bug spying thing brings to mind a local inspector, who shall remain nameless (well, maybe, at least for now) who once told me he did not need E&O insurance because he could see a lawsuit coming from a mile away.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    You guys lost me. Obviously, from those photos, I can't even conclude that there is an ant there. .. but how is it "going out on a limb" for everyone to throw out possibilities for the origianl poster's information. I think everyone was just trying to be helpfukl and point him in a direction. They weren't preparing any reports or testifying, so I fail to see the limb (or the ant). Lighten up, everyone, please.


  22. #22
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Frederickson View Post
    You guys lost me. Obviously, from those photos, I can't even conclude that there is an ant there. .. but how is it "going out on a limb" for everyone to throw out possibilities for the origianl poster's information. I think everyone was just trying to be helpfukl and point him in a direction. They weren't preparing any reports or testifying, so I fail to see the limb (or the ant). Lighten up, everyone, please.
    SF: Simple. There are about 600 species of ants in North America; over 10,000 species worldwide. I would call that very far out on the limb.

    Possibilities is one thing, but if you read the posts, they sound a lot like positive identification to me.


  23. #23
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    There is enough evidence to make an ID of these ants. I you known what to look for. as Listed in my post.

    Pharaoh Ants, Ghost Ants, White-Footed Ants, Odorous House Ants, Crazy Ants, Argentine Ants

    This is the family of these ants.

    They are not listed as a WDI. They may do some damage but thats not there listing. ( A general pest )

    Best

    Ron


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    Well fast forward nine months and things have come to a head on this situation. Recently my client who now owns the house decided he wanted to look into having a fireplace installed in the chimney chase. The drywall was opened and to no surprise, mold and rot abounded. I told him repeatedly during the inspection that the water which entered in the attic and ended up in the basement ran inside the wall cavity and that additional damage was likely. My report stated multiple times that invasive inspection may be needed to determine the full extent of the damage. The Reply to Inspections Addendum repair request he had presented to the sellers specifically stated:

    TROUBLESHOOT CHIMNEY LEAK AND REPAIR AS NECESSARY TO PREVENT FURTHER LEAKS, AND INSURE FLUE HAS ONE INCH CLEARANCE FROM ANY COMBUSTIBLE OR INSULATION MATERIALSOR WOOD IN ATTIC AND BASEMENT

    Also.........

    REPLACE ANY ROTTED WOOD IN ATTIC AND BASEMENT DUE TO MOISTURE

    I went to his house today to peruse the carnage and it wasn't pretty. Only one piece of damaged wood had been cut out around the flue pipe but nothing else was touched. The real award winner is the way the hack who did this "work" got the flue pipe out of contact with the framing in the basement.

    My client got a verbal quote of $20,000-$30,000 to rebuild the entire chase. The sellers and their contractor are going to be getting a phone call from him in the near future.

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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    I followed up with this client just to see how things have been going. The entire chase had to be replaced. Here are the pics he sent to me.

    The contractor who did the crap work said this in an e-mail to the seller who paid him......."The double wall flues isn't touching any combustibles and has a zero clearance rating anyway". I called this gem of a statement out to my client and told him how manufacturers of B-vents practically litter their installation manuals with repeated mentions about the required 1" clearance to surrounding combustible surfaces. My client looked up the info himself on-line and saw for himself how many times Ameri-vent stated the 1" clearance requirement in their installation instructions. He isn't happy.

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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    Typical of OSB without the proper flashing and weatherproofing.
    Back when this house was built the American Plywood Associated said that OSB did not require any protection from weather. The "slick" side was supposedly able to repell any moisture that came in contact with it. I believe it was 2005 where they determined ooops maybe the OSB isn't as weather resistant as originally thought. OSB now requires a water resistant application like 15# felt or some other approved covering to protect it.

    The above pictures are living proof of OSB gone bad!


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    Well my client finally got his day in court with the sellers and their contractor and he got a default judgement win because the toad of a contractor never showed. But even if he did show, my client said the judge felt it was unreasonable to say anybody who did the repair work and accessed the chase could not have known about the damage that existed. The sellers were found to have no liability in the matter and the full brunt was placed on the contractor.

    The cost to replace the chase was much lower than originally quoted but still not cheap at $8,000.00. That was the amount my client sued for an was awarded. Now he'll end up having to chase after the contractor to get his money.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Ants In The Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    ... Now he'll end up having to chase after the contractor to get his money.
    Good luck with that one! That contrator is probably on his way to Texas even as I type.


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