ant extermination

Asked February 20, 2020, 8:36 AM EST

Hello. We have signs of an ant infestation (black and winged black ants) in one of the walls of our home--main floor dining area that is attached to the deck. The ants come out of the top frame of the sliding glass door. We live in a subdivision in Haslett, MI. We have an exterminator who recommends Phantom insecticide, and would like to treat all the baseboards on our main floor and upstairs, including the bedrooms. We are extremely worried about the toxic effects of this treatment. Is there a product out there that is safer for us, our cat and the environment, that will be effective in killing the ants? Do you think it's necessary to treat the baseboards in the entire house, since there are no signs of the ants anywhere else? Thank you VERY much in advance for any help and advice you can give us. Ellen Rothfeld

Ingham County Michigan

3 Responses

Hi Ellen,

Sounds like carpenter ants and you probably have water coming somewhere around that door. I think you should send or bring me some of those ants so I can ID them for you so you know what you're up against.

To preserve and protect fragile specimens, it’s always best to submit insects in a small leak proof vial filled with rubbing alcohol or vinegar (the postal service prefers you send them in vinegar). Place the vial in a small zip-lock baggie, then in a small box or mailing tube and mail to

Plant and Pest Diagnostics
578 Wilson Rd.
East Lansing MI 48824-6469

Be sure to include a note with your contact information including your email address.

You can download one of our submittal forms here..

Here is our location:

Regards, Howard

Thank you for your response, Howard. We know for sure that these are carpenter ants. The exterminator has seen them. They range from about 1/4 inch to about 1/2 inch (the winged ones). There is some rotted wood at the side of the door.

Since we need to take care of this problem urgently, and have an appointment already for Monday, can you please recommend an effective product that is safer than Phantom for us, our cat and the environment? Or is Phantom the best product to use. Also, do we need to treat the baseboards in the entire house, or can we limit the treatment? The ants have only appeared from the top of the sliding glass door closest to the deck.

While we appreciate that you would like to see a specimen, we don't have any time left to bring you a specimen. We will appreciate your quick reply. If it will be quicker for you to call me, my cell is 517-285-0803. Thank you very much for your help.

Best wishes,
Ellen Rothfeld

Let's talk ants. Please give a call, 353 9386.