All we are is (saw)dust on your desk
June 24, 2008 7:45 AM   Subscribe

Help me figure out just what the hell is up with our new addition, bugs, and sawdust!

My wife and I have been in our lovely 1913 bungalow (in the 'Inner Banks' of North Carolina) for close to a year now. Other than the normal issues (floors that need to be refinished, difficulty maintaining an even temperature) the house is in great condition. The previous owners undertook lots of professional renovations in nearly every part of the house. One of the nicest additions is an enclosed sunroom/office on the back of the house where before there had been only yard.

It's framed in with vintage reclaimed timbers, and otherwise constructed of standard construction materials. It has a vaulted "club" ceiling, with panels made of OSB that looks like cedar but probably isn't. My work area is in a corner of the room near the back of the house, with windows both in front of and to my left.

Over the last few weeks, I've noticed little piles of wood shavings on my keyboard and desk when I go back to the office in the evenings. I suspected termites in the wood above, but a poke around yielded nothing. But everyday the little pile of wood was there. Now, in the last five days or so, I'm finding little bugs that look like ants belly up on my desk amongst the wood bits. I should say that our yard is rather heavily wooded, and I'm sure this has to do with bugs of some kind, I'm just not sure which ones or what to tell an exterminator. These little wood bits look awfully big to be from termites. I seriously doubt that it's a mouse, because there are no other signs of such rodent (and I've had them in other places, so I know.)

Anyone experienced anything similar in a newly constructed part of a house? Anyone reading this and having an "aha" moment? Thanks!
posted by littlerobothead to Home & Garden (2 answers total)
Best answer: Here's a North Carolina Extension Service page on carpenter ants, with links to pics. It sounds like that's what you've got. There are detailed treatment tips there. The relevant symptom is: As the ants expand their nest, they throw out piles of fiber-like wood debris and frass (fecal material). Debris with a dark appearance is likely an indication of decaying wood, and can be used as a clue in searching for the nest. The frass may have a sawdust-like appearance, but will also contains the remnants of ants and other insects on which the colony has been feeding.
posted by beagle at 7:54 AM on June 24, 2008

Response by poster: This looks dead-on, @beagle. Thanks for the answer.
posted by littlerobothead at 8:09 AM on June 24, 2008

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