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boman47k 06-06-2007 01:31 PM

Okay, I have some pt wood that I have had stacked for a few years. Almost enough to build my deck without the rails and pickets/stiles. Problem is I have had this wood in my back yard for a month or so and now I notice little creatures scurrying around when I pull a piece out. They are black and look like they are carrying crumbs of bread. I have already set a few of my posts. The crumb like stuff these things are carrying around I think is cellulose from my wood! :( Moist and looks like very small oatmeal. The wood does not look damaged except for some staining on the exposed sides. Looked at some termite pictures and only saw one species that was black like these. I was hoping maybe these were ants. If these are termites, can the wood be salvaged and used?

skymaster 06-06-2007 05:40 PM

boman; If you dont see stuff like covered tunnels,then I suspect they are "Carpenter Ants". Usually big,black suckers. They will destroy wood as quickly as termites. I dont know why they would be attacking PT since it is supposed to prevent insect damage. That said , there are spray products available to kill em. I would very very carefully check your lumber, look at the ends besides the flat surfaces, most likely they would enter there. Do you know if you have older GREEN lumber or the newer ACQ? There should be labels on the ends which will tell you and a name of the mfg, might be worth a call. BE VERY CAREFUL If you bild this deck and NOT kill em all they can get into your house and do just as much damage as termites.

ocoee 06-06-2007 07:04 PM

How big are they?
Carpenter ants are about 1/2"
Depending on your area they may6 or may not be a concern

Do they have a pinched waist?
(Do they have two body parts or three)
Termites have two body parts which looks like a pinched waist

Termites are usually a translucent white color.

Could the crumbs also be described as looking like tiny overcooked whit rice?
That may be larvae

Insects will attack PT wood
We out some on the ground at my mother's house in a very wet area and termites got to it.
You should be able to see the damage if they are termites Probably show up as grooves cut into the top the wood and/or the bottom of the piece on top of that piece

Premise would be a good product to treat the lumber with, if you can get it

Imidicloprid would be excellent, if you can get it
A lot of Bayer products are made with this active ingrediant

Timbor or Borid are boric acid compounds that work well and are over the counter but expensive

boman47k 06-07-2007 08:25 AM


That may be larvae
I did find it interesting that most, if not all, of the white stuff was gone when I went back out to look at the lumber after it was exposed. Some of these jokers are bigger than the others. Hard to tell about the body shapes the way they scurry around and being that small. They do seem to have a pinched waist. Maybe they found a good place to reproduce? The white particles are very small and slimey feeling. Guess I will spray and use them if I see no tunnels or holes. Some of the 4x4 posts are green treated, the 2x's do not seem to be as green. Not familiar with the different treatments for wood. The exposed parts of this wood is almost black. The parts that were covered in the stack look almost new still.

cibula11 06-07-2007 09:04 AM

Definately check for mud tunnels. Or if you see small holes in the wood, possibly around knots or towards then end where they could start to eat the wood. Termites are not black, unless you have found a needle in a hay stack and found the queen. Termites usually only travel in the tunnels they make, so my guess is ants. You may want to have a pest control person come out and check. In my area, they will check for free, and then let you know if you have a problem. I would check.

It would be too bad if you ended up using the wood only to have it fall apart later. Once again, check for tunnels and holes. My quess is that they are just ants, especially if you can't see any damage.

ocoee 06-07-2007 09:24 AM

They're Little Black Ants


Hard to tell about the body shapes the way they scurry around and being that small.
Termites are not that small, even with mu failing eyes I can make out the distinct body sections on a termite

The white particles are very small and slimey feeling.
That would describe the larvae, some people call them eggs. It signifies that they are bugging out because of your disruption to their nest


The exposed parts of this wood is almost black.
That may be the mold that the ants are feeding on

If they are ants there is really no treatment necessary, disturbing the nest will send them on their way

boman47k 06-08-2007 01:51 PM


Termites are usually a translucent white color.
That was my thinking too, unti I read up on them a little. I did come across a black species. On the posts I have set, I just washed them off with a water nozzle. They all seem to be gone now. I'm betting the white stuff was larvae. They sure move it somewhere. Not sure I get there being ( relatively speaking ) a few bigger ones and many, many smaller ones. I should say the previous local for this lumber was in an old block garage that had been partially torn down. It had no roof. The tree just outside of it would shed leaves in the old building. These leaves tended to compost over time. I don't remember having this problem when I moved it from that locale. Not to this extent at least. Maybe they just reproduced to this scale, or maybe I placed them on the ground that was infested. Spot that had an above ground pool for a while that has had dirt spread back over it.

ocoee 06-08-2007 02:08 PM

Termite swarmers are black but they would have wings, at least the unmated females would

boman47k 06-08-2007 02:38 PM

Funny that you mentioned that. AsI moved the boards, It was almost like disturbing lint or blowing on pussy willows ( what we call them here in Alabama ). Barely visble something in the air. I have seen swarming termites, and really don't think this was a swarm unless very small babies have wings.

ocoee 06-08-2007 03:01 PM

No but termites lose their wings after they mate
The wings are very fine and very light
But then ants also swarm and have wings

The male swarmers are smaller than typical ants of the species and will look almost like a tornado of gnats

I used to lick my hand and slap through the cloud to get specimens
They are very small

It is sounding more and more like little black ants

boman47k 06-08-2007 04:02 PM


It is sounding more and more like little black ants
I agree. Now if I could only tell the diff between regular ants and carpenter ants. Sounds like they are as bad as termites.

ocoee 06-08-2007 04:09 PM

There are big
Also known as bull ants

skymaster 06-08-2007 09:23 PM

Boman: "goggle" carpenter ants :} you should get a gazillion hits. Then same for little black antz:thumbsup: You will learn probably more than ya want to know :laughing: :) :thumbup:
PS I have had to rebuild whole walls on houses because of carpenter ant destruction. If it is wood it is their main item on the menus, desert is wood also

ocoee 06-09-2007 12:18 AM

Not all carpenter ants eat or damage wood
Depending on what part of Alabama you are in you could have the Florida subspecies

Down here we just consider them a nuisance, and a money maker

boman47k 06-09-2007 08:09 AM


Depending on what part of Alabama
Northwest corner.

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