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Carpenter ants in post and beam knot


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Posted by Steve on 10:03:16 3/11/2008 from 69.131.50.161:

I've got a two year old post and beam cottage in Maine. It was built out of partly-dry pine. It's SIP construction (structural insulated panels) with no airspace anywhere. 9BTW - the manufacturere claims the Styrofoam-type filling is impregnated with Borax to minimize insect incursion). Metal roofed. No evidence anywhere of water problems (but considerable moisture in the wood when built, of course).

The cottage has a humidistat-controlled air exchange system and is unoccupied (but heated to 45F) in winter. In summer, I see onesy-twosy carpenter ants inside - not to worry. But this "spring" I visited and crank4ed up the heat (I use the term loosely - it was 10F outside this AM) and I have detected one carpenter ant nest in a roof beam. The ants were ejecting frass from a tiny hole in a knot in one beam.

Since it's kind of hard to disassemble a 10X8" pine beam, I resorted to spraying some ant killer (not Raid - a specific ant killer containing "Lambda-Cyhalotrin") and they soon came tumbling out. I taped an empty yogurt container over the hole and in a day collected about 30 of the little devils.

So (finally) my question. Is it likely these ants came along for the ride with my posts and beams? That is, could there have been a nest or eggs already in that beam? I've not seen any other evidence (and most of the wood is exposed) but last summer heard "chewing" in a dormer and used the previously mentioned spray to treat that area and that appeared to solve the problem.

I guess what I a wondering is how to treat solid beams if the ants have nested in there from before the place was built. I suppose I could drain the plumbing next year and just let the place freeze solid. Would that knock out any existing nests? I sort of doubt it, since the eggs must survive the winter or we wouldn't have carpenter ants outside in Maine. Thanks for the great site.



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