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Old 05-19-2015, 08:01 AM   #1
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White Grainy Dust??

I have a 2001 Kiwi 23b that had a roof leak and some related wall/floor damage. The headliner seemed basically unaffected so I left it intact.

On a few occasions now I have noticed that a light grainy kinda plastic dust ends up dropping from above on to my U dinette cushions. It seems to mostly drop out of the seam in the little cubbies above the bed opening to create a fairly well defined line of dust.

At first I thought that it was some critter or insect except that it has a plastic consistency. It is not wood. I set mouse traps and sprayed with insect killer. Nothing in the traps. No insect evidence.

The grainy dust occasionally returns. This last time it occurred to me that the returning dust happens after a strong wind storm. Perhaps there is some insulating material or other deteriorated/deteriorating ceiling material which gets blown around during the wind storms to fall out?

Anyone else experienced this?

vic
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Old 09-14-2015, 10:48 AM   #2
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Update.

The white grainy dust was the Styrofoam core material that some small ants were carving out to improve their living space.

When we bought the camper it had water damage in the roof and the floor. I suspect that the ants were there from the beginning. We would occasionally see a few small ants here and there, but not enough to cause alarm. I should have been alarmed.

I had a bad section of headliner in the corner inside the high shelf above the 23b front bed. I removed the water damaged fiber board. There was no Styrofoam sandwich. I believe that the ants had cored most of that out, but moved on because I never found the nest.

I learned that it was a mature nest when I came out to do further work on the trailer and found it full of larger flying ants. I believe that they are acrobat ants. They were not the typical larger carpenter ants. The flying ants indicate a mature nest at least a year old.

Anyway, I drilled some access holes to spray insecticide into the cavities and used a Marine Deck plate as a hole cover to open up and gain access to the rafter area for inspection and spraying. After bombing the camper, so far it seems we have won the war.

My leak repairs last year were successful. There was no wet wood above the headliner. I've learned that for nesting the ants will continue to chew out Styrofoam and water damaged/degraded wood even when it is no longer wet.

If you see white grainy dust and even just a few ants it is best to assume that you have a nest.

https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/f...print/true.cfm

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Old 09-14-2015, 05:13 PM   #3
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Flying acrobat ants that chew on plastic. Sounds like the start of a bad science fiction movie; thanks for posting your experience.
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Old 09-14-2015, 06:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVhiker View Post
Flying acrobat ants that chew on plastic. Sounds like the start of a bad science fiction movie; thanks for posting your experience.
Yep. A bit of a nightmare. Fortunately we weren't camping when the winged hoard decided to emerge.

I didn't think that the ants would go after the Styrofoam. It wasn't until we discovered the flying ants that I had the correct search words to find some similar problems.

I learned that the flying ants have a long and short wing set. They also have definite segmented bodies. That is as opposed to winged termites who have equal length wing sets which extend a bit past their body. The segments in their body are less defined. It is a bit of odd thinking, but I was really happy to verify that they were definitely flying ants and not termites.

This has been a real learning experience.

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