Saturday essay: Ants with tool belts
The hanging basket on the front right side of the greenhouse somehow looked not quite right. The bracket holding it had slightly drooped and was pushed back. Perhaps something had hit it. But upon closer inspection, that “not quite right” had turned into something quite wrong.
As the bracket was pulled into its proper position, it simply pulled out of the greenhouse frame. Or what was left of that portion of the frame, to be precise. And the cause was not dry rot. No, this is pressure-treated wood, it was soggy and what was aiding and abetting the structural failure soon began to scatter by the hundreds, eggs in tow.
Yes, ants with tool belts — carpenter ants — had invaded, exploiting a breach in the greenhouse roof that kept the exposed and unpainted top of one corner post wicking down the rain water in a fashion that would put the most absorbent paper towel to shame. And where there's water and wood, carpenter ants soon are to nest.
What's surprising is that pressure-treated lumber is impervious to infestation. Supposedly. The extent of the damage is phenomenal; the corner had to be braced and a safety post installed under one of eight roof joists to prevent collapse. The damage, now isolated, can be safely cut out and replaced.
The roof leak will be fixed and, for added special protection, tar will be applied liberally to the ends of the replacement wood to prevent a wicking repeat. But carpenter ants being carpenter ants, somehow and some way, they'll be back.
— Colin McNickle
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances
- Valley Laurels & Lances
- Operation Santa Claus: The best deal of the Christmas season
- Thanksgiving 2014: Pausing in unison
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
- Greensburg Tuesday takes
- U.N. Watch: Rights farce
- Charter school pablum: Hillary Clinton misleads on education
- The refugee question: Reckless compassion