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Insect infested tree - Wood still worth it?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Slow1, Apr 27, 2009.

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  1. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I heard about a guy at work who is having a tree taken down so I shot him an email asking if he had plans for the wood. His reply was "I am not sure if you will want it. The tree is full of insects eating it.. That's why I am having it taken down." I had never considered that there would be a case where a tree being taken down might not be worth burning.

    Thoughts? are there bugs that could make a tree not worth adding to the wood pile?

    Are there things that can be done to mitigate this sort of situation?

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  2. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    most of the time it is only in parts of the tree that are infeasted cutt around it and get the good stuff
  3. fishinpa

    fishinpa Member

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    What is it infested with? I split many a round that has carpenter ants in it. They'll go away once the splitting is done.
  4. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I spoke with him a bit after getting the email. He's not sure exactly what all is eating it - he knows there are carpenter ants, but feels there is something else up too. He said several large branches have fallen in the last year and that the "woodpeckers have been going crazy with it last winter" so that is why it is being taken out. It's a maple that is hanging over his house - not sure how large exactly.

    The good news is that he's agreed to ask the tree service to cut any good wood into pieces for me so perhaps something good will come out of it... Not exactly a close friend so I hesitate to push too hard beyond that so will wait a couple weeks for him to let me know how the project is going.
  5. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I'd grab it. Once it is cut up there should be no worries.
  6. Hurricane

    Hurricane Minister of Fire

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    I agree with fishinpa I have split many rounds with ants and termites in it. They all disappear once it is split and left in the open for a few hours. If the woodpeckers are hammering on it and branches are falling it sounds like it is dead or real close to dead. Any how if it is not rotten it is worth burning.
  7. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    That's my plan - get it while the getting is good. I just wanted to check with you more experienced folks to see if there were any bugs that could be killing a tree that would make you avoid the wood from that tree.

    As to carpenter ants - I have so many around my woodpile now from the scrounged wood that I pulled in from the small woods in the backyard it would be hard to tell the difference. I'm hoping that they are simply confused as they wake up from slumbering and will die off in a short while as they realize their nice damp homes have been split open and are quickly drying out.
  8. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    If the wood it sound it's sound, bugs or no. Take it, split it, leave it out and uncovered for a month or so and the bugs will find their way out.
  9. vwboomer

    vwboomer New Member

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    The beech I picked up earlier this month and a lot of white grubs in it. I dunno where they've gotten to but many seem to have moved on. Wood is wood.
  10. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Dry wood isn't much fun to live in and eat.

    Matt
  11. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Bonus . . . more BTUs for the fire! :)

    All kidding aside, grab it. I burned up a primo cherry this past Fall that was standing dead . . chocker blocker full of carpenter ants and white grubs. Once you cut and split the ants move on or die. Never saw a single bug in my house all Winter long.
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Hey Slow1, don't you have wild turkeys out there? If so, just take some bird seed and draw a line to the ants. The turkeys will clean them up fast.
  13. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    I expect that you have checked, but any chance that the tree is from the worchester area? I expect that the company cutting the tree would recognize the asian long horned beetle, but its huge fine if wood from the quarantine zone is taken out of it. The signs would be dime size holes in the trunk.
  14. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    RE: ALB - I did think of that, but we are well outside of the Worcester area- of course, that doesn't guarantee that it isn't ALB and if I were to see those holes I would get suspicious right away. Man, it it were ALB that would REALLY mean the area they have locked down is too small... scary thought really.
  15. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    I got some birch a couple weeks back that was loaded with big black ants (I assume carpenter ants?) As they scattered as I bucked up the rounds, I was concerned that they would find their way to my trees or house.

    Any chance of that?
  16. hoot gibson

    hoot gibson New Member

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    when splitting i keep the sevens duster close and if i run into ants i throw the splits seperate and dust the lil boogers . if they leave the splits then they are going somewhere else . kill them all , let the ant god sort them out . h
  17. vwboomer

    vwboomer New Member

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    When splitting the oak I picked up a couple weeks ago, the top of the standing dead one had sections infested with ants. Dousing the half rounds with gas from the splitter can took care of em just fine ;)
  18. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    What's a sevens duster?
  19. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I've considered treating for the bugs (not really into dumping gas - I'm rather hoping that was a joke there vwboomer), but I don't particularly like the idea of the residue heading into the house with them. I too am curious about this "sevens duster" product. I am planning on using a bait type of carpenter ant poison that I know works quite well - but I plan to use it as a perimeter treatment for the house and spot treat trails that are near the house or if any get inside. I'm rather hoping that the statements above about "once the wood is dry, the bugs leave" is true for these guys too...
  20. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Good point. I don't want them finding their way to my house or trees but not too crazy about bringing wood into the house that is covered in some toxic bug spray. I guess with vwboomer's method, at least you know the wood will burn great. :)
  21. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I have split wood with carpenter ants, grubs, and various other bugs. As others have said, they all leave the wood once it is split. A carpenter ant displaced from its colony is basically a dead ant. I guess it is theoretically possible that the queen ant and enough of the rest of the ants could escape the splitting and stacking process alive that they could start a new colony, but I doubt it will happen in my woodpile. I split ant-infested pieces pretty small so that most of the tunnels are broken open, and many of the ants get smashed in the process. I personally wouldn't bother with any pesticides or gasoline, just split the ant wood small.
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