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!
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.
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!
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
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.
:) 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.
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