Sawdust from carpenter ants?

Sawdust from carpenter ants in Connecticut is a common thing to see, especially in the spring and summer.  However, did you know that other pests create frass as well? Some of those pests are from our area while others are not.  Knowing what frass looks like is the key to identification of the pest you have.

Frass: Noun. fine powdery refuse or fragile perforated wood produced by the activity or boring of insects, excrement of larva.

Ant frass
Pile of carpenter ant frass found in barn

If you see sawdust from carpenter ants it may be the first sign that you have a colony inside a wall. If you look at the sawdust closely what you’ll see is wood shavings that look as if they came from a pencil sharpener along with bits and pieces of insects (specifically ants) and other “garbage” from the nest.

When sawdust from carpenter ants appears it’s being deposited in individual pieces by worker ants as they excavate the wood.  The frass is typically pushed out or dropped very near to the colony location.  If you wait and watch you’ll no doubt see ants walking along near the area dropping the frass into a pile that can become large. 

ant frass
Ant frass under window

Other CT pests that create frass

Powder post beetle are a problem too.

The other most common type of pest that creates frass in Connecticut is the powder post beetle.  The name powder post beetle is a broad name for a class of about 10 different insects.  The life cycle of the beetle is complete (egg, larva, pupa, adult) and begins when the female lays eggs in wood that has the correct moisture content.

Powder post beetle
Wood damaged by powder post

The beetle will develops and feeds on the core of the wood.  Over a period of time the insect pupates and then emerges as and adult. The emergence of the adult creates the “shotgun” look of the exit holes left on the surface of the wood.

When powder post beetle emerges the sawdust that is left behind has a talc powder consistency and is the color of freshly sawed wood.

If you see sawdust call Envirocare

As you can see not all sawdust and diagnosis of pests are the same.  If you find sawdust it would be helpful to get and inspection from a qualified company like Envirocare Pest Control so you can see exactly what you’re dealing with.

If you have a pest problem and need help call Envirocare Pest Control at 1-888-879-6481 

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