Possible Termite Problem?

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Hexa Fox

Member
Sep 19, 2023
180
West Virginia
Hey guys,

So I have been using wood as a primary heat source for years and my father always taught me to try to store it away from the house for reasons like these. Anyway I just recently started storing some wood in IBC totes and I noticed that after I started getting some off the top I noticed as I got lower there is a significant amount of sawdust like material covering the wood. I am familiar that this is a sign of termites consuming the wood and can even be their feces. To be clear, there is a lot and it may even be more fine than sawdust.

So some of that wood has already been carried into my home and is sitting on my rack right inside right now. I can always try to get some pictures but I was wondering if someone could tell me how worried I should be and if I should try to take some preventative measures now? Like spraying around the infected area and maybe even near my pile inside if possible.
 
Get some pics. No sense edging up to that cliff until you have to. Until then, move the wood outside.
 
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If it's like powder it can be from powder post beatle or old house beatle, comes to mind first. The old house beatle hangs in pine woods rather than hard wood. I used to run into both up in Ohio. Frass from both is like sanding dust, very time.
 
If it's like powder it can be from powder post beatle or old house beatle, comes to mind first. The old house beatle hangs in pine woods rather than hard wood. I used to run into both up in Ohio. Frass from both is like sanding dust, very time.

There are considerably large black beetles in the wood. We have always seen them in and around our wood. Having this in mind, I cannot recall finding this 'dust' around the wood and if I ever did certainly not this much. We can also see these beetles around the house time to time after carrying wood in. I have always wondered if we should be concerned about them or not.

This is a picture I literally just took of one that has recently fallen out of the wood I carried in. I would say there are ones that are larger than this one too.
IMG_2298.jpeg
 
Many bugs that live in fresh wood give sawdust. Often they move out when it gets too dry for them.
 
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Also depends on the wood too. Lost some peach trees last winter bucked them up split them and by this winter 90% of them were sawdust. Oak, Hickory, Ash were not touched and never are. Bugs just seemed to like the peach wood. Which sucks because I wanted to try it.
 
wood-borer-beetles-various-colored-3387316729.jpg
wood-boring-beetle-796488181.jpg

The bottom one is a old house beatle from the same site. Looks different than the pic above, from the same site.

I can't find it now but I remember, I think, PP holes are more rounded than old house Beatles. Seem to think they are more "D" shaped but it's been a while since I was looking.
 
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That’s certainly a beetle. Not a termite.

Other than carpet, I can’t tell the size of that beetle, but PPB are pinhead sized. I personally would keep the firewood out of your house until you’re ready to burn it and not stress over it, but that’s a personal decision.
 
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Your local cooperative extension or college may have an entomologist on staff that could ID it if you bring one in to them.
 
Most of the time carpenter ants are going to be drawn to damp wood. I’ve had them do a service for the client letting them know of a window leak or a leak around a sliding door before it can cause rot they would have a hard time finding.

Termites can change their own environment. They build mud tubes to keep the humidity high so they aren’t limited to wet wood. There’s a weakness to their methods though. They don’t work at temps under 50F. Without central heating, termites really aren’t a problem. They need to leave every winter. Your firewood is fairly safe from them.

Beetles are a different beast in that they’ll go after dry wood. But if you keep the wood away from the house and bring it in as you burn it, any danger is minimal.
 
Thinking back on this, I had a technician that was told of a little frass (sawdust) that was appearing on a kitchen counter. There was a skylight above the counter. He started injecting little squirts of gas into the voids and flushed a nest. The client walked into their kitchen to hundreds of (dying) ants falling out of the ceiling and starting to spread out over the floor. A visual nightmare for the client, but a sure sign that the nest was found and will be dead soon!
 
Most of the time carpenter ants are going to be drawn to damp wood. I’ve had them do a service for the client letting them know of a window leak or a leak around a sliding door before it can cause rot they would have a hard time finding.

Termites can change their own environment. They build mud tubes to keep the humidity high so they aren’t limited to wet wood. There’s a weakness to their methods though. They don’t work at temps under 50F. Without central heating, termites really aren’t a problem. They need to leave every winter. Your firewood is fairly safe from them.

Beetles are a different beast in that they’ll go after dry wood. But if you keep the wood away from the house and bring it in as you burn it, any danger is minimal.

I was splitting yesterday and had a couple rounds loaded with carpenter ants.. This is the main reason I keep all my processing at the back of the property. Knowing they have legs and can travel up to the house, I spray my foundation 3/4 times a year. I dont need the scouts checking out my living quarters..
 
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What kind of wood is it?
You are describing the fine powdery sawdust made by bark beetles in hickory wood. My brother has a stack of hickory, and it looks like someone took a couple five-pound bags of wheat flour and dumped it on the wood pile. This is the reason I don't use hickory any more.
 
I use this predominantly for spiders, Black widow, and scorpions but also wood beatles. We live in the woods.

This is the real deal, is a band of death where you spray it. Once dried is benign to anything larger than a creepy crawly.

Screenshot_20240211_091843_Brave.jpg
 
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Don’t be convinced it’s harmless. There’s a reason that the pesticides used 20 years ago are no longer sold.
 
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I have all kinds of bugs living in my wood piles. I had some beautiful oak logs waiting to be cut and It looked like someone painted streaks on some of them. It was the sawdust from the powderpost beetles eating the wood. These were pretty freshly cut logs and when cut and split you can see all of the small holes they bored in them. The bugs burn just fine, just not many BTUs in them.
 
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Hey guys,

So I have been using wood as a primary heat source for years and my father always taught me to try to store it away from the house for reasons like these. Anyway I just recently started storing some wood in IBC totes and I noticed that after I started getting some off the top I noticed as I got lower there is a significant amount of sawdust like material covering the wood. I am familiar that this is a sign of termites consuming the wood and can even be their feces. To be clear, there is a lot and it may even be more fine than sawdust.

So some of that wood has already been carried into my home and is sitting on my rack right inside right now. I can always try to get some pictures but I was wondering if someone could tell me how worried I should be and if I should try to take some preventative measures now? Like spraying around the infected area and maybe even near my pile inside if possible.
I get sawdust pretty often in my firewood stack. It's never been termites (there are other signs of them, such as frass). Some type of beetle or other bug, though I've never seen the actual bugs. I also sometimes get little wasp cocoons, or whatever you'd call them.

Termites are possible, if it's damp, and they have access, especially if the wood would be directly on the ground. My termite guy says termites are not likely to go for the wood I have -- oak, beech, and hickory. Too hard.
 
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Anyone recognize these signs? A lot of fine powdered dust shakes out from under the bark. Maybe bark or powder post beetles?
 
Not powder post beetles. It’s not something that we have here. I suspect it’s a beetle, but could also be a parasitic wasp. Some of their larvae bore into wood. I’d ask an entomologist at your local college or extension.
 
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