Ants in the Tree
Answered by Tom Mugridge
Q: I have a full grown tree in the yard (not sure what type of tree it is) that is infested
with ants where the trunk bifurcates. What would you recommend to treat this tree and prevent further
damage? Thank you in advance for any advice.
Believe it or not, you don't need to do anything to kill the ants unless
they've decided to make your kitchen counter a regular spot to visit.
Ants are not harmful to trees, as they are not wood-eaters. Generally, they
are an indication of existing decay within a tree, so I'd be more concerned
about what's going on inside the tree other than the ants being there.
They're basically there because there's decayed wood for them to clean out
to create galleries in which to place their eggs.
However, if there is a substantial amount of decay present, the tree may be
a hazard. Here's where you need to contact a qualified arborist to inspect
the tree to try to determine this.
It may involve doing some drilling into
the tree at various points to determine either physical or electrical
resistance (depending on the type of drilling done).
I strongly recommend having this looked at. The ants may have tipped you
off to a potential danger lurking within your yard, and you should have it
If it is determined that the tree does not present
an unreasonable risk, you'll at least be able to sleep easier at night.
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