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  1. #1
    Matt Foster's Avatar
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    Default Little sand piles at foundation

    Hello all, Hope you can help me with this. The pic is of a pile of sand about 1/3 cup, there are about a dozen more along the base of the block foundation in a 10 ft stretch, the rest of them are about a tsp. The foundation intersects with a 6 ft wide at one time sidewalk with an overhead porch that has since had an exterior wall added in order to enclose the space. This is definitely sand not termite droppings, no tubes, no sign of critters living or dead. The sand does not match the dirt in the crawl. Space was enclosed 20 yrs ago.
    Thanks, Matt

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  2. #2
    Mitchell Toelle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    All I can really tell from the photo is that it appears to be falling from somewhere higher up, as there is the same material trapped in a couple of the adjacent wall crevasses. If so it was , then, not carried there by insects or critters most likely.

    Is that a cochroach carcass next to the pile (in the forfront of the photo)?

    Sorry, have not really experienced this in particular. Wish I could help more.


  3. #3
    mike huntzinger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    that could be a ant nest, they like to dig out the soil and leave mounds of debri, not a problem, RAID will take care of that.


  4. #4
    Matt Foster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    No cockroach just some carpet fibers.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    From what I can ascertain, it looks like a leakage issue. There is water staining adjacent to the base and sides of the fines. The pattern of the sand also looks like it has been washed in.

    Also; are those copper oil feed lines for the furnace?


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Foster View Post

    The sand does not match the dirt in the crawl. Space was enclosed 20 yrs ago.
    Thanks, Matt
    .
    Matt,

    Possible Roof shingle Granules ( before the space was enclosed. )
    .

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  7. #7
    Matt Foster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Raymond,
    Electric cords for a freezer and fridge that got painted.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    I would say possibly carpenter ants, and call for a pest inspection without hesitation.


  9. #9
    Daniel Leung's Avatar
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by mike huntzinger View Post
    that could be a ant nest, they like to dig out the soil and leave mounds of debri, not a problem, RAID will take care of that.
    Yes, I think it is a sand pile made by ant or sow bug. For sure, it is not carpenter ant, it only nest in rotten wood.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Leung View Post
    For sure, it is not carpenter ants, they only nest in rotten wood.
    Sorry, DL, never say never. Carpenter ants will nest in other material, insulation, cardboard, rolled up canvas tents , and maybe in a cavity between the wooden plate and the concrete wall, where they could be pushing the sand out from. They are very resourceful and will not be killed off by a few shots of Raid unless you are hitting the queen and all the eggs.
    Better have something like this checked out.


  11. #11
    Daniel Leung's Avatar
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Carpenter ants will nest in other material, insulation, cardboard, rolled up canvas tents , and maybe in a cavity between the wooden plate and the concrete wall, where they could be pushing the sand out from.
    Hi JK, carpenter prefer moist and decaying wood. In this case, we didn't see any moisture problem or any wooden structures in the photo. Therefore I think it is not carpenter ants.
    See Effective Control of Carpenter Ants in Health Canada web:
    "Carpenter ants construct nests by burrowing into wood. Outdoors, they are found in dead trunks of standing trees, stumps, or logs, or under fallen logs and stones. They prefer moist, decaying wood, and their presence in a home can be a sign of a moisture problem, or of wooden structures suffering from decay. Carpenter ants can, on occasion, mine sound wood, but it is usually a soft wood, such as pine or more commonly rotten and soft wood that they choose. They excavate galleries much longer than those produced by termites. The wood is not eaten but ejected from the nest as sawdust-like shavings.
    These have a shredded texture, somewhat like the shavings found in pencil sharpeners. Indeed, heaps of these wood fragments, which the ants have expelled through slits in the infested woodwork, may be one of the signs of infestation.
    In addition to tunneling in outside woodwork of buildings, wooden steps and sills, they also infest hollow spaces such as wall voids, attic spaces, hollow doors, cracks, crevices, furniture and existing termite galleries. Nests have also been found behind books in libraries, behind drawers in dressers and cabinets, and in styrofoam insulation."



  12. #12
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    I don't think its Carpenter Ants either. There is no frass and Carpenter Ants would almost certainly be in the rim joist areas as this is where I have found them before. Also you would almost likely have carcasses in the vicinity. Have never found Carpenter Ants below grade where there is no wood to gallery fwiw.


  13. #13
    Matt Foster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Thanks for all your input so far, turns out that last winter there was severe ice dams with water running down the exterior wall. I was wondering if water got under the slab could it force its way under the slab to the foundation and up carrying the sand with it?
    Matt


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Yes, it is my belief this is the result of water washing in.


  15. #15
    Daniel Leung's Avatar
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    No, no water stain or efforescence sign on the photo. Therefore, no water wash out the sands. My belief is the results of insects activity.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Daniel

    On my monitor I can see a very light yellowish water stain.


  17. #17
    Matt Foster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    After clearing away the freezer and everything else there are some sow bug carcases and earwig.
    Matt


  18. #18
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Last edited by Ron Bibler; 09-16-2009 at 02:05 PM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    An ANT with a wheelbarrow possibly.

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Perhaps they had a termite service come and drill holes to pump in the treatment?

    I have similar piles under my house for that reason.

    R


  21. #21
    David A. Keating's Avatar
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Foster View Post
    Hello all, Hope you can help me with this. The pic is of a pile of sand about 1/3 cup, there are about a dozen more along the base of the block foundation in a 10 ft stretch, the rest of them are about a tsp. The foundation intersects with a 6 ft wide at one time sidewalk with an overhead porch that has since had an exterior wall added in order to enclose the space. This is definitely sand not termite droppings, no tubes, no sign of critters living or dead. The sand does not match the dirt in the crawl. Space was enclosed 20 yrs ago.
    Thanks, Matt

    I'm guessing ants as well.
    State appears signs of pest and suggest the buyer consult with a qualified, licensed exterminating company to evaluate this


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    there is always the possiblity of the rare case of it being kids with a too much time on their hands. or like someone else has said maybe it was from above and during cleaning has fallen thru.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    It's from ants, see it all the time.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    I had the guys with the wheel barrows that Rick pictured at my house once


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Ants, had same pattern and material at my own home this summer. Opened some trim at foundation height and found the trail. They understood my subtle "Go West" persuasion.


  26. #26
    Daniel Mummey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Infiltration of the fines, over time, out of backfill to footing from under footing is a possibility.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    They're "Pavement Ants."

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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Ants that would leave mounds similar to that, like pavement ants, would have visible holes. They would not leave a pattern of sand where the finer grains spread farther than the coarse ones, or a mound that's almost flat. The overall pattern of sandy bits along the floor seems odd for ants, too.

    I think the idea of it squeezing in from the fill during a wet period more likely. Something similar seems to happen in my house.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    It's from ants, Also that is a dead
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  30. #30
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    Ants that would leave mounds similar to that, like pavement ants, would have visible holes. They would not leave a pattern of sand where the finer grains spread farther than the coarse ones, or a mound that's almost flat. The overall pattern of sandy bits along the floor seems odd for ants, too.

    I think the idea of it squeezing in from the fill during a wet period more likely. Something similar seems to happen in my house.
    The wind moves sand Honey, ever seen a dune with a hole in the top of it or a volcano made of sand? It's from Pavement Ants.....


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    The pavement ant, Tetramorium caespitum, is a common household pest. Its name comes from the fact that colonies usually make their homes in pavement. It is distinguished by one spine on the back, two nodes on the petiole, and grooves on the head and thorax [1]. The species is native to Europe, but was introduced to North America in the 18th century.
    During early spring, colonies attempt to conquer new areas and often attack nearby enemy colonies. These result in huge sidewalk battles, sometimes leaving thousands of ants dead. Because of their aggressive nature, they often invade and colonize seemingly impenetrable areas. In summer time the ants dig out the sand in between the pavements to vent the nests.


  32. #32
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  33. #33

    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Because it is sand material it could be from some one driling in foundation to install bolting??


  34. #34
    Daniel Leung's Avatar
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolland Pruner View Post
    Because it is sand material it could be from some one driling in foundation to install bolting??
    Sorry, it is sand in this case, not concrete powder!


  35. #35
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hintz View Post
    The wind moves sand Honey, ever seen a dune with a hole in the top of it or a volcano made of sand? It's from Pavement Ants.....
    Even in an enclosed crawl space Honey?

    Whatever, fine, it's ants. Not worth arguing about. Not like any ant hill I've ever seen, and everyone has seen pavement ants - I have them around my foundation, they just took wing a couple weeks ago. Look for signs of them on the outside of the wall - they'd need to get out to forage. Pavement ant nests go that deep?


  36. #36
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    Even in an enclosed crawl space Honey?

    Whatever, fine, it's ants. Not worth arguing about. Not like any ant hill I've ever seen, and everyone has seen pavement ants - I have them around my foundation, they just took wing a couple weeks ago. Look for signs of them on the outside of the wall - they'd need to get out to forage. Pavement ant nests go that deep?
    Here you go Ms Entomologist


    HABITAT
    "This ant gets its name because it most commonly nests in soil next to and beneath slabs, sidewalks, patios, and driveways. Indoors, pavement ants nest under a building’s foundation and within hollow foundation walls."



    Source: Ants - Facts About Ants - Types of Ants - PestWorldforKids.org


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Thank you, Jim. That answers my question.

    Actually, sometimes I think I should have become an entomologist. Insects kinda fascinate me.


  38. #38
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    Thank you, Jim. That answers my question.

    Actually, sometimes I think I should have become an entomologist. Insects kinda fascinate me.
    Sorry if I lost my patience and came across as a Jackass trying to convince you Kristy, but I've been a Structural Pest Inspector for nearly 10 years and you definitely were a tough cookie to convince. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    Last edited by Jim Hintz; 11-16-2011 at 11:28 PM. Reason: spelling

  39. #39
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hintz View Post
    Sorry if I lost my patience and came across as a Jackass trying to convince you Kristy, but I've been a Structural Pest Inspector for nearly 10 years and you definitely were a tough cookie to convince. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
    No problem! I know I can get stubborn sometimes. A naughty part of me likes playing devil's advocate. It was a serious question about whether the nests go that deep, though; nice to hear from a professional in the biz. Happy T-day likewise!


  40. #40
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    Default Re: Little sand piles at foundation

    Gents,

    I think it is most likely pavement ants or ants like this, see this type of piles all the time.

    Daniel, your comment on Carpenter ants is a bit off base. Thought they may prefer moist rotted wood they can inhabit perfectly fine, dry wood also.

    I am a structural pest inspector also and live in a high carpenter ant activity area.
    Most of Canada uses Dr Hansen material for reference. I would highly recommend reading her material. She is one of the world leading authorities on carpenters.

    Carpenter Ants

    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
    Wa. St. Licensed H I #647, WSDA #80050, http://www.ncwhomeinspections.com

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