Called two pest control companies after finding termite sawdust on my
carport from wood that has previous damage. One company said that the
sawdust was more than likely from white-footed ants displacing the
material by crawling through channels created by previous termites
which were treated long ago. He said I didn't need to treat for
termites, but that I do for the ants.
The other said there is no way the sawdust came from ants displacing
it and that the sawdust was evidence of a current infestation, which
would obviously need to be treated.
Neither guy actually inspected the wood.
I'm inclined to think that there are termites since every few years
this same area seems to get them in it, but I also wonder if it's
possible for ants to displace old material from the pre-existing
Anyone have any thoughts on this?
Do you see any termite tubes look like 1/4" dirt trails. on the side of the
foundation. From my experience tearing one of my houses apart from termite
infestation what you see on the outside is nothing compared to the damage
that can excist. Most people think they eat from the outside of the wood in
not true the tunnel right threw the wood. I took 2X4's out that looked fine
but the inside was just powder but the stud next to it was untouched. You
might want to do a web search on them to see what your up against if you
have termites, might be ants beetles. Now hear is some good advice when
talking to the bug hunters they are going to want to set you up with a
monthly service that's how they make there money. They also push the termite
baiting system this is nothing but a make sleep good at night thing. Most
honest bug hunters will tell you it's a waste of money. If you do have
termites look into this product Thermidor it's not an over the counter item,
not cheap but from my search about the best. I will also suggest calling
more pest companies, For what it's worth Terminex was the worst of them the
inspector actually crawled over a termite tube missing it ( I was right
next to him) he also jammed his head under a duct shouting there really bad
in hear( when I removed the duct not one to be found or damage) now hears
the best part I kid you not the guy pulled a loan application out of his
pocket. Like I say do your homework don't panic they eat slow, I was told
buy one inspector seemed very honest did the best inspection they have been
in my house for years just from the visible damage he said waiting 6 month
would not make a dereference. Hears how bad the termite damage was in my
house I noticed a dent in the drywall when I leaned on it they wear eating
the paper between the paint an gypsum.
What part of the carport? Ground level? Attached to house? Wood painted
or in bad shape? Did you check the sawdust yourself? What color? Did
you poke at the wood to see if you could root out termites? If you have
termites, the wood is likely to be hollow sounding or chewed up enough
that, by probing with an awl or screw driver, you can open it up and see
what is in it.
In FL, carpenter ants often move into termite chambers. Check with you
county or state extension service - ours has a full-time bug expert.
I am in Florida and the only way I knew I had termites was when they
started swarming. They were in the carpet tack strip ... there was a
very small crack in the floor. Anyway, there was no sawdust. We had
had the house inspected and there was no sign of termites. That
particular year they were all over my neighborhood.
When we lived in Georgia we had something called "powder puff beetles"
and they left trails of sawdust where they ate the wood trim. This
was back in the 60s when the house was new and they still used the
kind of termite poison that lasted 25 years....we didn't have termites
but sure had those beetles for awhile.
Swarms might mean they have just arrived, as swarmers are new mates
looking to set up housekeeping. Not a sure sign they have been there
long enough to do damage.
If you inspect the area where you think there is an infestation, you
should be able to find other signs - mud tubes (if close to the ground),
slight blistery or wavy appearance of surface, hollow sound when hit.
Termite damaged wood will usually pick apart easilly with a tool or just
fingers; they burrow close to the surface but don't break through the
surface because they don't like daylight. Indoors, check especially
around doors and windows for shed wings, the same slightly irregular
surface of wood and wallboard, hollowed out wood trim. Termies will eat
paper coating of wallboard, but don't eat through paint (hint!). Bare
wood or wood in contact with ground increase the threat greatly. Any
homeowner can be as competent at finding termite signs as a pro; just
need to know what to look for and how to prevent.
Powder post beetles? Have no idea what they look like, but your
extension service likely knows the predominant pests of your neighborhood.
No, but the "sawdust" is really digested wood or termite excrement and
is the same color as the exposed stained wood appearance beams in the
ceiling. Interestingly, the stuff is showing up in the same area
where there were lots of white footed ants until I sealed off their
entry into the wall and applied a bait which seems to have worked, at
least temporarily. And since having cleaned up the material that was
there a few days ago, no more has appeared... yet.
Tented 7 or 8 years ago. I have also sprayed the ceiling myself with
an Ortho termite pesticide myself maybe 4 years ago.
It's impossible to get a for sure answer without looking at the wood,
but yes many types of ants will move into old termite damaged wood and
create debris piles. Dry wood termites also may create loose debris
piles of their excrement. The termite excrement will look all the
same...disk shaped, pretty much the same size and shape. Ant frass will
be a mixture of rotted wood, shed cocoon skin that look like wood chips,
dead insect parts. A mixture of different sizes and shaped particles.
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