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Carpenter Ants

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Slow1, Jan 30, 2009.

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  1. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    We've had quite a few of these annoying pests around our yard (and even invading our house a time or two) in the years we've lived here. When scrounging for wood last fall I came across a couple nests as well. So, I know the woods of my (rather small) backyard are likely full of them.

    So - given that I want to start stacking and drying my wood back there, will they be a problem? Are they going to invade my stacks and thus my house when I bring in the wood to burn? or are they not interested in wood once it starts to season?

    What can/should I do to protect my stacks from these and other pests like them?

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  2. chunkyal

    chunkyal New Member

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    I have a similar concern with pine beatles. I don't store any wood in the house. I keep it on the pile, away from the house and have a day or two's worth at the back door in a plastic wheelbarrow. Occassionally I'll leave a few clean looking peices overnight next to the stove. Scarey business but even people who dont burn wood get termites, bugs etc. Also its my understanding that carpenter ants prefer rotten / damp wood. Thats the only time I've seen them in houses.
  3. jeffee

    jeffee New Member

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    You don't have to worry about them. Just keep your firewood relatively dry. They have plenty of places to go that are far more preferable in your woods -- wherever there is damp / wet wood.
  4. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    I've split some stuff that had good sized carpenter ant colonies in it.....come the first good freeze they'll be finished.

    Just split your wood and stack it, keep it dry, and there shouldn't be any ants in it....maybe in the early fall before a good freeze, but after that, gone!
  5. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    Ah, the ole carpenter ants. We had these about 3 years ago due to a standing dead tree that was very close to the house. They found their way inside and went nuts over my wife's sour dough bread starter! Once the tree came down they went away, but man are they tough. One day, they are all that will be left. Well, carpenter ants and roaches, maybe.
  6. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

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    Nothing like running a log through the splitter and having about a thousand of these ants spill out all over the place.
    I like having it happen when it's freezing. They can barely move and I just destroyed any kind of protection from the elements.

    As far as what to do...
    I would get those little ant poison spike things that you put in the ground. They've worked well for me around the perimeter of the house. What made you think about ants in the dead of winter?
  7. jeff6443

    jeff6443 New Member

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    I have brought in cold wood only to see it come alive with big fast running ants they love the heat that log goes out the front door
  8. jeffee

    jeffee New Member

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    As far as your house goes, think of carpenter ants as an alarm that you have wet wood. This can be helpful -- believe it or not -- because there are some times when you have a leak somewhere, or some rotted siding, or whatever the case may be, and you don't know it's there. If you live near the woods, then the ants will let you know!
  9. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Just planning for next year. I'm pondering all aspects of my wood supply. Trying to figure out just how to get a couple years ahead and the implications of it. I don't have a lot of space really. The woods seem like a natural (no pun intended) place to store some wood for a couple years, but knowing about the ants I wonder if what I'll end up with is a bunch of ant infested wood - thus my question to the experts and experienced here.

    It doesn't hurt that I have pieces with dead ants in them that I'm feeding the fire with now... not many, but a few. I don't mind burning dead ants - and the occasional live one that comes out of a piece that I squash doesn't really bother me a whole lot, but I would rather not have any. I certainly don't want to go providing them a nice new home to live in!
  10. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I'm in Eastern Ma and run into carpenter ants here, too.
    I have an oak thatblew down last fall that I've left trunk standing because I know it's full of carpenter ants.
    I plan to cut into it this Winter as soon as I can get at it.
    Expose the ants and sprinkle Sevin on them while it is too cold for them to move.
    If it gets too warm I'll have to sprinkle Sevin around the trunk so if they start crawling they crawl through it.

    Usually split wood isn't a good Winter home for them, although I have found a bunch that hollowed out a flat spot betwen two tight splits. I'm more likely to find them in plywood stored outside. Nice hollowed out caves just big enough for them to Winter over in. I now seperate plywood sheets with small strip boards. I have carpenter ants and termites in the wild woods but rarely in the wood piles. More likely grubs and borers that live under bark.

    I'll sprinkle Sevin during the year around a large oak that I see them in. I've gotten rid of them, but worried about internal damage. One must watch carefully for ground trails, because the tree they are in may not be the infested tree. Apparently they farm aphids like other ants, and they'll farm several trees. I've seen carpenter ant trails 50 feet long.
    I don't like sprinkling Sevin around during bee season.

    We had lots of oak borers here many years ago, so any tree they got into and bored are attractive to the ants.
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    So far the only trees I have found loaded with carpenter ants are white ash and cherry.

    I've posted before about one time when I was splitting wood during cold weather and opened some ash to find it loaded with those black buggers. Another pest we have around here is all the wild turkeys (I hate those things). Well, I took some of the birdseed that my wife uses to feed her little flying friends and drew a light path from one spot where turkeys regularly went through our back yard. I drew the path right to the spot where all the black ants were. It worked! The turkeys cleaned it all up. The only problem was to get them to stop coming after they finished the job.
  12. GKG-MO

    GKG-MO New Member

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    Carpenter ants don't like wet or damp wood necessarily. They like that its easier to burrow through, but all the ants are looking for in insulation from the cold. A wood pile doesn't really offer that. Leave the wood outside till the first frost then bring it inside. That should take care of any ant houses in your wood.

    Dennis how would you like it if some giant ripped your house apart with a hydraulic ram :)
  13. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I cut and split a standing dead cherry this Fall that was full of carpenter ants . . . as others have said they don't particularly like being evicted from their home but the Husky and MTD splitter did the job better than a court-ordered eviction notice . . . after letting the split wood sit for a week or two I loaded the wood up, hauled it home and stacked it . . . so far I haven't seen a single ant or ant carcass . . . in fact I haven't seen any bugs in the house other than the occasional small spider that I have seen in past years.
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I certainly don't know what that would be like, but I've surely experienced what it was like having some turkeys chasing me!


    Jake, that is the same thing that we've had happen several times with cherry.
  15. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

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    Stand a mirror against a tree, near where the Turkeys like o hang out. Their reactions are hilarious to watch.
    We used to feed them, but they started tearing up the yard, so we stopped. I guess it was nice to have them thatch the yard for us.
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