Not termites - what are they?

I just bought a house in Texas - the "Wood Destroying Insect Report" noted no active infestation, but noted previous sub termite infestation near the chimney on the outside wall. Today, I was repairing some previous water damage under the kitchen sink (tearing out the particleboard cabinet bottom down to the slab) and saw a huge pile of dirt under the cabinet bottom around where the water pipes come up from the slab - it looks like the dirt goes up into the wall - the sheetrock and other surrounding wood seems solid - whatever it was sure did make a good meal out of the particleboard, though. I didn't see any types of crawling ant-like critters in the pile of dirt - what type of problem is it? Besides spraying the heck out of the area and getting some poison down and around the water pipe access points in the slab and all over the rest of the area after I clean it all out, what else should I do? Thanks, experts!
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Texas Yankee wrote:

It is possible it was a prior infestation and is now gone. Termites do like to eat the soft wood first. What you should do is call the company that issued the report and have them explain what is going on there. You should also have a second company look afterwards without telling them what the first one said.
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Thanks "badgolferman" - I've been under the sink all afternoon, cutting away some sheetrock and such to see what's going on, and get a handle on the extent of any damage - I didn't see any live bugs at all - just a few dead ones of some sort. There is no apparent damage to any of the surrounding wood (2x4) besides the particleboard - and I've been able to get to and remove all of the dirt that had been brought up above the slab - a surprising amount - I plan on treating the entire area with an extra strength dose of Premise, which I can get at the local "Do-it Yourself Pest Control. I'll probably dose the other areas I can get to where there's water - bathrooms, etc. Any other suggestions? Thanks, again!

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If it's plain dirt, another really good possibility could be plain old ants, either of the food-loving "picnic" variety, or more annoyingly, fire ants -- especially if the piles of dirt seem to be made up of invidual-type grains. This occurs to me especally since it's in the kitchen area, which is close to a whole mess of dropped food/crumb sources and condensation off the pipes during summer and winter drought. Ants will bore thru pretty much anything to get to food or water if they smell it.
Besides, wood-eating insects such a termites and carpenter ants leave behind piles of stuff called frass (waste product) that looks more like sawdust than dirt -- and I'm guessing you know the difference between sawdust and dirt.
My vote goes for ants, not termites.
AJS
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says... :) Today, I was repairing some previous water :) damage under the kitchen sink (tearing out the particleboard cabinet bottom :) down to the slab) and saw a huge pile of dirt under the cabinet bottom :) around where the water pipes come up from the slab - it looks like the dirt :) goes up into the wall - the sheetrock and other surrounding wood seems :) solid - whatever it was sure did make a good meal out of the particleboard, :) though. I didn't see any types of crawling ant-like critters in the pile :) of dirt - what type of problem is it? :) If it was loose dirt it probably was an old fire ant nest. If the dead insects you came across in the mound was a rust color, or looked like coffee grounds, then someone had treated a fire ant nest at one point. Assuming your home is built on a slab, if you were to go outside and look at the wall there will be a weep hole in the bricks where it is common for ant mounds to build up along the outside of the home where they carry dirt inside as you described. This could of taken place weeks ago or years ago, impossible to tell. If there is no activity, there is no need to do anything else.
--

Lar. (to e-mail, get rid of the BUGS!!



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