What's eating my wood beams?

Old 06-16-22, 04:34 PM
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What's eating my wood beams?

Good afternoon.

Yesterday I went out and noticed the ends of a wood beam used to support a flower bed has been hollowed out a bit. Not all the wood beams just a couple. I'm uploading one photo of my other wood beams and one photo of the infestation.

What is this? How might I treat it?

Thank you so much.

Old 06-16-22, 08:52 PM
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It's wood. Wood decays. Fungus and bacteria are both natural parts of why things decay. Even if it was treated wood, not all wood is meant for ground contact... and yours are touching the ground. I'm also guessing the cut ends were never treated with anything after they were cut.
Old 06-17-22, 03:51 AM
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I suspect ants are doing that, plus wood decay from moisture. Ants are attracted to water damaged wood. Pressure treating doesn't always reach into the centers of the larger beams. Sometimes the centers of pieces are denser in some than in others, as well as other variables.

Look carefully in the "frass" to see if there are dead ants and/or ant body parts. As ants die they are removed from the colony. That's a telltale sign along with the size of the frass, which is comparable to the size and consistency of carpenter ant frass.
Old 06-17-22, 06:00 AM
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At this point there isn't any treatment you can apply. The wood is nearing the end of it's useful life. A retaining wall or raised bed is one of the worst locations for wood. There is plenty of oxygen available from the exposed side and it's kept moist by the soil on the other side. The absolute perfect conditions for molds, fungus and insects to break down wood. You've probably got several years left in that wall but it would be a good idea to start thinking of replacement ideas.

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