Dirt in wall, or carpenter ants?


  #1  
Old 03-14-13, 06:04 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Dirt in wall, or carpenter ants?

I had a pipe burst in a wall and so I cut pulled the baseboard and drywall along the nearby walls to help dry up the moisture. When pulling the drywall that was behind the baseboard I found dirt coming out of the wall. Is this really dirt, or frass from carpenters, termites, etc? Please see attached pictures.

Name:  dirt1.jpg
Views: 18594
Size:  39.5 KBName:  dirt2.jpg
Views: 15718
Size:  36.0 KB
 
  #2  
Old 03-14-13, 09:01 PM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Australia
Posts: 1
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Looks like a case of Termites to me!

The muddy substance in the cavity looks to be from termites. They may or may not be currently active. Would be a good idea to get a professional in to investigate further
 
  #3  
Old 03-15-13, 01:28 PM
P
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,868
Received 45 Votes on 39 Posts
I canít tell. Looks like it has the consistency of potting soil whereas dirt brought in by termites is usually in the shape of well-formed tunnels. The burst pipe and ensuing water could have changed all that though. I think you should open up a little more wall until more evidence is exposed.

Meanwhile, take a stout screwdriver and soundly probe the sill and base of joists to check structural integrity.

If/when wet, does this material smear like mud or does it just look like wet sawdust?

Here in the northeast the only termite we have is the subterranean termite. Not sure if you guys also have drywood termites. I wonít be much help with them. Carpenter ants make wood dust, small ant colonies will bring in loose dirt, termites make formed mud tunnels but again, the burst pipe could have altered all of that. Keep us informed as you get more info.
 
  #4  
Old 03-16-13, 02:42 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the replies. I had Terminix inspect it and they said it was carpenter ants. However, it is the consistency of potting soil like PAbugman mentioned. It does smear like dirt. Here is closeup of the dirt:

Name:  2013-03-16_162741.jpg
Views: 33008
Size:  51.6 KB

I have not seen shavings/saw dust with the samples I have looked at closely. The white flecks appear to be pieces of gypsum that fell into the dirt I as cut open the wall.

The burst pipe was located about 4 ft to the left, and 8 ft. up from the areas shown in the pictures. It was near the top of the water heater that is located in the garage on the other side of this wall. The area where I found the dirt was located where the plumbing comes through the slab. Is it possible that the dirt is just from the slab settling or a messy construction?

Here are some more pictures...

Cold water, drain, and hot water pipes:
Name:  2013-03-16_163202.jpg
Views: 14315
Size:  35.3 KB

Manifold area, notice dirt on insulation:
Name:  2013-03-16_163216.jpg
Views: 12514
Size:  39.6 KB

Manifold area, lots of dirt where pipes/tubes go into foundation/slab:
Name:  2013-03-16_163228.jpg
Views: 12483
Size:  32.6 KB

So far, I have yet to find any visibly damaged wood across 4 studs and the bottom plage. I have repaired the leak and dried most of the area and would like to patch the wall back up, but should I wait for a second opinion from a different pest control specialist?

Thanks Aussiebugman PAbugman for the replies.
 
  #5  
Old 03-17-13, 08:17 AM
P
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,868
Received 45 Votes on 39 Posts
The dirt could be from ant nest excavation as ants will live in the soil. Could be other possibilities too. A burst pipe and running water will ruin evidence. Good photos. Apparently no termites? That would be the good news in all of this mess. Iím hoping that whoever you hire uses Termidor on the exterior as an ant treatment. Also hoping that Termidor is legal in your state. Keep us posted.
 
  #6  
Old 04-03-13, 08:15 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Found an ant

Ok...so it has been a while since I last posted here, been a little busy elsewhere. Thanks again for the responses.

During the cleanup phase I found two dead ants stuck to the adhesive of the black insulation around the pipes. I pulled one off with tweezers, picture attached.

Using these links it does not appear to be a carpenter ant because it has two nodes instead of one. I think it is a fire ant. I'm not an expert, or course.

http://www.backedbybayer.com/system/...t-ID-Guide.pdf

http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/ants/cants.shtml

It find it weird that I didn't find another ants in the dirt, just the two ants there on the adhesive of the black insulation.

Name:  ant_1.jpg
Views: 15358
Size:  17.4 KB
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: