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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Pacific NW
    Posts
    566
    An associate in the southern states asked about attraction of the small "sugar bin type ants" to the contactor in the outdoor unit. Her AC quit and the technician found it was fried ants gumming up the contactor - suggested enclosed contacts for replacement.

    Anybody know what attracts the ants or heard of this or seen similar?? Is it the magnetic field, heat, or ??? that attracts the ants. Diazon or Chlorodane patch is an obvious option for a fix, or is hermetic military type contactor the way to go in such climes?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,708
    in nj we get spiders building nests in the contacts have not found any way to keep them out.



    have not tried real hard to stop em, work is work and customer can't blame it on me.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    San Luis Obispo County, CA
    Posts
    215
    I havve seen just about every critter there is fried in switchgear. Don't know what attracts them, could be the varnish on the coils. An enclosed contactor will help, But those critters can get thru some mighty small openings. I would spray the area and the equipment with a good insecticide, let it dry before powering it back up.

    One of the best I saw was a mouse that got into a 480 panel. He was fried in mid step as he put one foot from the bus bar to ground. Have seen critters fried in 3 phase overloads, Circuit single phases, overloads fail to blow, and compressor is toast.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    3,400
    60 hertz hum?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    6
    We would find fire ants all the time in the contactors and everytime, you would hear a humming sound...I think its the humming.I always wonder why ants get in contactors also,and still wonder

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    san jose,ca.
    Posts
    5,285
    The hum of a contactor sounds like the hum of a female ant, thus draws the male ants onto the contactor,turn the ants over & you will see there all males.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    North St Paul MN
    Posts
    858
    Originally posted by bigbird
    turn the ants over & you will see there all males.
    Man, you must have really good eyesight Kind of like the old joke-What do mothballs smell like? "Don't know...I can't fit my nose between their little legs"
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Coastal Georgia
    Posts
    34,902
    The magnetic field of the coil draws the ants.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Hell Hole Swamp
    Posts
    4,180
    So how do they get bunched up under the contacts then? if it were the hum or the magnetism of the coil the contacts would be closed and they couldnt get in between the contacts, and that is where they are attracted to, you dont see them all over the contactor, just between the points.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    125

    Lightbulb

    I think it's the 60 cycle hum.
    Fire ants in contactors is probably getting to be 8 out of 10 calls here in east TX.

    I forget the name( and am too lazy to walk out to the truck right now) but they make a spray poison that turns to a powder.

    Just show the customer the damaged parts and let them get busy killing fire ant mounds,but it won't help,same thing later in the season or next season.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    3,400
    Originally posted by swampfox
    So how do they get bunched up under the contacts then? if it were the hum or the magnetism of the coil the contacts would be closed and they couldnt get in between the contacts, and that is where they are attracted to, you dont see them all over the contactor, just between the points.
    Most air conditioners cycle off and on fairly regularly.
    The ants don't just run away when it shuts off.
    They stick around to see if they are gonna get another "buzz".

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Coastal Georgia
    Posts
    34,902
    The magnetic field simulated the ants antennas. They hang around the source of the stimulation and die when the contacts close.


    The News did a article on this years ago. It is in fact the magnetic field of the coil.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    3,400
    Originally posted by James 3528
    The magnetic field simulated the ants antennas. They hang around the source of the stimulation and die when the contacts close.


    The News did a article on this years ago. It is in fact the magnetic field of the coil.
    Ants seem to like rotary switches, too.
    I've seen several switches in window units & PTACs packed completely full.

    Nor particularly bright, are they?

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