Strange holes in oak tree (and what to do)

Back a few years ago, I had an oak tree fall against this much small tree. Were the tree hit, a large chunk of the bark was taken off. Well, I left it, not knowing what to do.
Well, just today, I noticed that something has been eating the tree, with these big holes. It seems to have happened recently, as I have not noticed it before and there are still some wood pieces on the ground. It could be a woodpecker or something. What did this and is there any way to help the tree. the wound seems pretty deep, but less than half of the depth of the trunk. The trunk is about 8" in diameter. You can see where the bark was beginning to form around the scraped area.
Here is a link to a picture:
http://spilledwhine.com/pics/IMG_2681.JPG
Thanks,
Tom
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Looks like termites or carpenter ants and a lot of dry rot... you should have tended to that wound years back when it occured... now it's too weak to allow it grow near other structures, that tree is a goner. From the bark it appears to be a very ordinary oak, not really worth the price of a bandaid. Get rid of it, check for wood eating insects in the stump and ground before planting another tree or don't plant anything there.
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On Mon, 27 Apr 2009 14:01:15 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Possible insect damage. Clean out any loose debris in the hollow and keep it clean. Used to treat holes with tar, but now the procedure is to just keep it clean. Most healthy trees will heal over in time. I had one tree with a large 6x8" hole, as time passed the hole got smaller until it healed over completely.
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Carpenter ants, acrobat ants, or termites are probable.
About 3 years ago, I had similar problem with 2 live oaks. Carpenter ants ate out some insides of both of these oaks, then, were driven out by acrobat ants. These ants compounded the problem by their nesting habits of creating frass and enlarging the pathways already there from the carpenter ants. So said an exterminator company that I hired.
An exterminator company was called in. It was late spring. They used a squeeze bottle to expel some kind of very fine dust in these cavities. Buttload tons of acrobat ants exited in apparent death near. The following week, one more treatment, very few ants left. I kept an eye on it, some were stubbornly still around. I just used some boric acid at these entry points, refreshed every 2 weeks. There may be entry points that are not readily visible My concern at this point is what you don't readily see and may be difficult to access and pinpoint.
After treating and barring entry, that winter, I got most of the mottled wood out of the trees that were treated. Its been 3 years, both live oaks are okay as far as I can see.
--
Dave



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