Ants or Termites, what to do?

wmas1960November 30, 2010

Oh the joys of home ownership. I just bought a home in a short sale. While in fairly good condition, there are those things that need attention. The house had been minimally occupied for over a year and I am finding plenty. Of little jobs to do.

One is an area of rot near the front door. As I checked it out to determine how soft the wood was, it crumbled. I opened it up and found my arm, from my hand to my elbow all covered in sawdust. I saw no signs of insects themselves but there was tunneling in the 1x and in what appeared to be a laminated beam inside.

After cleaning the area out, it looks like it is still pretty solid but all the dust has me concerned. The area is on the front porch about 10 feet from the soil. There have been no other signs, so far of bug damage around the house.

I have removed some of the trim and it has been open for a couple weeks. My intention is to repair the damaged wood, caulk it and paint it best I can. It has now gotten cold out and I don't know if I can still paint it or if I will need to wait till spring.

The big question though is if there is anything I need to do before I put it all back together. I don't want to just seal in the offending insects etc. And have them return next spring. Also, does anyone have any thoughts regarding Ants or Termites or how I can determine what they were.

I am north of Chicago.

Thanks for advice.

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I live near the Gulf and termites are rampant. We use a Concentrated Termite & Carpenter Ant killer. From Lowes or HD. Mix according to directions and spray damaged area before repair. It has been my experience that termites come to rotten wood, so look the reason the wood got wet in the first place and/or was it holding water rather than draining away from porch area. I am facing the same problem on the bottoms of my porch posts as we speak and the above is how we intend to fix. If you want to keep bugs from coming into your house you can put down some good old 20 mule team borax. Termites however attack wet wood that starts to rot so stick your screwdriver into the effected area to determine how deep the rotten wood is and clean it out before attempting to repair.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 10:01AM
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