Reposted from: http://blogpestcontrol.com/2009/10/ants-cause-fire/
Fire Lt. Fred Godawa of Daytona Beach blamed a recent fire on a carpenter ant colony. According to this fireman, the ants had build a large home around the electrical outlets in the wall. When the ants hit an electrical wire, the electrical shock ignited the ants, shoot out of the outlet and caught the entire house on fire.
For pest control operators, though this case is rare, it is no surprise. Ants and other pests frequently travel on the homes electrical wiring. These wires become an insect highway. Homes are built with the wiring passing through the framework. Holes are drilled in the wooden studs. These holes make it much easier for pests to travel from one wall void to the next. If they follow the wiring they can easily travel from one end of the house to the other. They can move freely upstairs, down stairs, into the attic, and out of the outlets into your home. For this reason, in wall treatments are highly effective against pests especially when concentrated on these outlets.
Other smaller ants are also known to travel not on the wires, but in the wires. Certain ants are so tiny that they can slip under the protective covering of your electrical wiring and travel through the home on these wires. They too will short out your wiring causing damage to your home's electrical system. A manufacturing company in Texas was closed down for a few days due to these ants destroying their electrical system. The company would not say how much damage was done or how much productivity was lost.
As the old saying goes,
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
Ants still prove to be one of the most difficult insects to control. They are highly organized. Some colonies will splinter off into multiple colonies when threatened. Their sense of smell is so keen that the slightest error in a mixture could render the pesticide detectable and therefore useless. And they reproduce so rapidly that killing off a thousand or two today, will be replaced with a thousand or two tomorrow.