Pest Control/ant trap


QUESTION: I have put ant traps down for years and had the same thing happen last year but not in previous years. When I first put them down the dead ants would be near the trap. After awhile there is what looks like sawdust-- definitely not ant bodies.  I do not have sticks like I read from a previous posting.  I just want to make sure there is not a termite problem.  I live in a Chicago suburb.  I see an occasional ant and not the amount I saw when I first put the trap down a month ago. Hope you can help me out..............thanks

ANSWER: Shell,

Can you post a picture of the ants? Also, take a look at this page for general info about termites. Termites do not produce sawdust, this usually indicates powderpost beetles or carpenter ants.

Jack DeAngelis

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I don't see ants anymore just the debris that looks like black pepper.  When I did see the ants, they were just the normal looking small brownish ants.   thanks.............Shell

ANSWER: Ok, this does not sound like termites. What happens if you remove the "black pepper debris"? Does it appear again within a few days?

Jack DeAngelis

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Yes it reappears within a half a day

Sounds more like carpenter ants might be in the wall (see for pictures and control information. Carpenter ants can be treated from the outside see the links on the page cited above and post a follow up if you have questions.

Jack DeAngelis

Pest Control

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Jack DeAngelis


I can answer questions about the control of pest insects, spiders, mites and related arthropods. These household pests include termites, carpenter ants, powderpost beetles, nuisance ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, wasps, and many others. I can also answer questions about using pesticides and other pest control tools such as baits and traps.


I am a retired university extension entomologist. I've taught and conducted research in urban and agricultural entomology. I've published over 70 extension publications, 20 research publications and several books about insects.

Ph.D. in Entomology

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