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Raised beds, will ants eat rotten wood?

Posted by LesIsMore1 4/5 - Colorado (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 1, 12 at 1:54

I just started ripping out these raised beds because they are rotten and falling apart...and find its all inhabited by a giant colony if ants. I cant tell if they are eating the wood, or if its just falling apart from water damage and they are living in it...or what is going on. I've never seen so many ants, and its officially grossed me out...

What I was hoping to get all the rotten wood/rebar/junk OUT of the ground, ammend the soil, and plant there this spring. I'm not sure what to do now. If the ants really are eating this wood...(which is what it looks like to me) then, won't they eat any new raised beds I add there this season? Will ants eat really rotten wood, or could there something else in there, besides ants...that I haven't found yet.

I'm worried about termites... When I saw how rotten that lumber was under the soil, it freaked me out. It's completely gone in places, it wasn't like that last fall. All I see is tons of ants and a few tiny white mite-like larva of some kind. Now I'm nervous about disrupting it any further, unless I really know what to watch out for.

It looks like treated wood to me, and I've never seen it disintegrate so fast. Also wondering, how should I dispose of the wood I've already pulled out of there? It looked to me to be just infested with ants, but now I'm second guessing myself... I would burn it right now if we weren't under red flag warnings.

I tried to take pictures before it got dark, but I'm limited to what I can do with my phone. Please let me know if you notice anything other than ants. Even if it's ants only... will they leave once I get all the rotten wood out of there?

Leslie in CO

Here is a link that might be useful: Grossed out by ants...

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Raised beds, will ants eat rotten wood?

Other than the ants being a nuisance, do you have proof that they are causing any harm (especially to plants?) They do help aerorate the soil, and that's a good thing.

I'm definitely no fan of them. I dealt with a bunch of fire ants on one corner of my garden yesterday. Blasted their antpile with the water hose, poured vinegar over what was left, and then poured liquid and dry molasses on them (which they apparently don't like). I think they'll probably just move elsewhere. Otherwise, I just note where they are and try not to let them get on me. I've never had any luck getting them to completely go away, and that's probably a pointless battle.

Good luck up there in CO. I sure do miss that state...

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