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Ants or Termites?


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I came across this Saturday on the foundation of a 2 year old home. I am used to seeing the typical termite tubes, but this was about 3-4 times as wide, and rather loosely constructed compared to termite tubes I normally see. The best way I could describe it was to say it had a more granular look to it and it was not tightly packed. The soil around the home was a rather unusual light grayish looking stuff.

All I saw inside the tube was a stream of ants, no termites. Under state standards, pest identification by home inspectors is forbidden so I am not an expert on insects. However, I do know what subterranean termites look like, I know what ants look like, and I've never seen ants build tubes like this. We have a large problem here with fire ants, and I'm wondering if they prey on termites and are using the termite tubes to access the ants.

Anybody know for sure what's happening here?

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I'm familiar with carpenter ants, though I've never seen them build tubes. In any case, these are way too small to be carpenter ants. The reading I've done on moisture ants would seem to indicate that they are not found this far south. Also, there is no indication that there is any wet damp, or decayed wood anywhere near where this tube was seen. Or anywhere in the home at all, for that matter. (2 years old, no leaks)

Guess I will just have to do some more research. It's something that I can't report on directly anyway, but I'm curious about it now.

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I'm familiar with carpenter ants, though I've never seen them build tubes. In any case, these are way too small to be carpenter ants. The reading I've done on moisture ants would seem to indicate that they are not found this far south. Also, there is no indication that there is any wet damp, or decayed wood anywhere near where this tube was seen. Or anywhere in the home at all, for that matter. (2 years old, no leaks)

Guess I will just have to do some more research. It's something that I can't report on directly anyway, but I'm curious about it now.

I mean to say that I've seen it with moisture ants and carpenter ants, not that those are the only type of ants that do it. My understanding is that there are several ant species that will exhibit this behavior.

Ants are remarkable creatures. Remarkably stupid on an individual level, but remarkably intelligent on a colony-wide level.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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