White powder


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Old 06-22-21, 05:42 PM
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White powder

This (photo) is from my old detached garage building. I had closed-cell foam applied to the inside walls & ceiling about 5 years ago. I periodically find these little piles of whitish powder on counters, the floor, etc.. This one is 6' below the ceiling. I don't see any other clues as to the origin. What is this?
 
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Old 06-22-21, 05:47 PM
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I would suspect carpenter ants. They frequently burrow and excavate foam insulation so they can nest in it. Look for dead ants and ant body parts in the frass. If you find that, then we can be certain.
 
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Old 06-23-21, 05:21 AM
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Thanks PAbugman. There are some brown & black flecks that might be insects parts. But here we're looking up directly above the pile. There's another pile on a spider web, and directly above that is a 2x4 which feels perfectly dry and which shows no damage.
These little piles show up here & there periodically. They don't seem to continue or reoccur in the same place. Is that all consistent w/ carpenter ants? What do you recommend to be done?

 
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Old 06-23-21, 05:46 AM
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I just had a recent, similar occurrence at my house. It was ants burrowing inside one of my exterior doors which is foam filled.
 
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Old 06-23-21, 06:13 AM
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Yes, it still could be carpenter ants. When ants eject the frass, it won't come out evenly across the bottom of the foam board, it can only come out of gaps, cracks/crevices between foam board and wood which would explain why it is in piles here and there. They will carry it rather far. Subterranean termites will burrow through foam insulation too, but you wouldn't see frass on the exterior. So far, ants are still at the top of my list.

If you have a magnifier, look at some of the dark material in the frass to see if it's ants or other insect.
 
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Old 06-23-21, 08:39 AM
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I really can't make out what anything is--just various dark flecks among the white fluffy stuff. Anyhow, I cleaned it up and went over the roof area above and applied sealer to any questionable spots (since I understand that moisture is the root problem when you have carpenter ants) --so we'll see what happens...

Thanks again for your input.
 
 

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