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Small Cabin Forum / General Forum / What's this wood dust?
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paulz
Member
# Posted: 6 Sep 2019 11:42
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Built a shed last year, this morning I noticed one window cracked open and this wood dust. Insects or leftover saw dust?
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0906190836_HDR.jpg


hueyjazz
Member
# Posted: 6 Sep 2019 11:49
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It could be carpenter ants but that's a lot of dust. Carpenter ants can't eat solid wood. They need something compromised by moisture. The window kind of fits the bill if there a hidden leak in flashing or a lot of condensation occurring. If it is ants you will clean up dust and more will accumulate.

If it is ants, don't spray them. You just kill soldiers and the queen will move. You need to get the queen. Use a bait that slow acting that they will feed the queen. That way the colony will disappear but you still have to be wary if there's another queen waiting to hatch. And any water damage needs to be fixed.

slatecreek
Member
# Posted: 6 Sep 2019 12:29
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And don't put the bait inside, it will just attract more inside. I used the Terro 1 oz bait traps that you pin to the ground outside of my cabin, set some firewood over it to keep the coons out. I had carpenter ants in my cabin and after two weeks none inside nor around the outside. I think it killed the whole colony.

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 6 Sep 2019 14:26
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Terro does work well. I didnt know that about the spray and queen.

ICC
Member
# Posted: 6 Sep 2019 15:42
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Yep Carpenter ants. I have used BASF 396153 Advance Granular Carpenter Ant Bait and it works. Regular ant bait does not work. Whatever you use must state clearly that it is effective on carpenter ants.

FYI, they do not eat wood. They tunnel to make a home, galleries to lay eggs and hatch more ants.

paulz
Member
# Posted: 6 Sep 2019 20:32 - Edited by: paulz
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Crap. Where do I look for the wood damage? This is the only spot in the shed, does it have anything to do with the window being left open? I don't think there has been any dampness since last winter, and it was closed then I believe.
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IMG950910.jpg


ICC
Member
# Posted: 6 Sep 2019 20:47 - Edited by: ICC
Reply 


I wouldn't worry about the damage yet. Maybe vacuum up the debris, called frass to see if they are still active. If you see them check their antennae. Carpenter ants have bent ones, termites are straight. But that sure does look like what carpenter ants leave behind. Termites eat the wood and leave mud tunnels on surfaces. The bodies are also different in appearance.

If you have time, leave some sugary fruit out. They will be attracted and you can follow them to the nest.

You can also mix boric acid crystals with powdered sugar. The sugar powder is the bait, the boric acid will be taken back to the nest and kill them off. The product I mentioned before does work well. It is not advisable to spray them with anything as that gets them upset, they sense danger and then swarm and move to a new place, not usually all that far away and then you have to start the search all over, I learned the hard way years ago. If you see large numbers of ants with wings they are getting ready to swarm and find a new or another place. They will do that when the colony gets big enough to branch out with a new queen.

They do tend to like damp better than dry but I have seen them in plenty dry wood. Opportunists, they are.

Good luck.

darz5150
Member
# Posted: 6 Sep 2019 21:07
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Look above the sawdust. Around here we have a wood boring bee. Don't know if you have them in your area? But the ones around here, you can actually hear, digging in the wood.
If you find holes about 1/2 inch in diameter, above the sawdust. You might have the bees.

paulz
Member
# Posted: 6 Sep 2019 22:07
Reply 


Thanks everyone. I swept and vacuumed it up today, couldn't see any obvious damage above. We'll see what develops. An out of work friend put up the cedar I had laying around back in spring. Can't smell it though, I think it's the doug fir framing.
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0906191154_Burst01.j.jpg


ICC
Member
# Posted: 6 Sep 2019 22:53
Reply 


Quoting: paulz
couldn't see any obvious damage above.


The damage is going to be hidden. I've had trim breakup when I went to remove it after a lot of carpenter ant activity, but you are probably right in that the tunneling may be in the DF and not so much to cause any problems. As long as the ants are gone or you exterminate the colony there is likely no severe damage done.

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 7 Sep 2019 09:27
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If you cant see them or much dammage the only thing you can really do is clean it up and set out bait then keep an eye on things.

KinAlberta
Member
# Posted: 7 Sep 2019 23:28 - Edited by: KinAlberta
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Yeah we had a spruce tree come down that was full of carpenter ants. They relocated in the attic of our vacant cabin. I found a small pile of sawdust in the middle of the floor. Above was one tiny hole in a bulkhead? beam. I killed them off by putting the above mentioned mixture up in the attic plus some commercial ant killer that had diatomaceous earth in it. (Put stuff in a paper towel tube and labelled it for posterity. Somebody in the future might not know what the white powder is and so might flip out.)

BTW: Totally dry up there in the uninsulated attic space. Yet the carpenter ants moved in. No signs that any water had ever been up there. Howevef it’s 75 years old.

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