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Thread: What kind of bugs eats electrical cords?

  1. #1

    What kind of bugs eats electrical cords?

    I was cleaning an area of a storage shed when I came across an end to an electrical cord that had worm holes in it. I have never seen this. See below.

    The story: My dad died in 1996 and of course there were some things in storage that I haven't been able to get to until now. I was home in '96 for a few months, in 2000-2001 for 11 months and in 2005-06 for 10 months. Each time I had more work than free time. Now, I have some time to dedicate to cleaning and going through a lot of "left behind" items.

    Dad had a corner of a storage in which there were several boxes. Most of the boxes were in shreds and dust due to bugs (some kind of termites?) The storage shed is primarily wood but the wood was only touched (slightly grooved out) where cardboard was laying against it. BUT in one cardboard box was an in-line humidity switch with an inlet and outlet cord. The inlet cord had worm/termite/bug holes in it. A couple of holes go down to the metal.

    What kind of bugs will do this: (Click on the pict for a larger view.)
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

  2. #2
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    I would venture a guess at Fire ants, and Raspberry Crazy Ants...
    My personal workshop blog is http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com. My camping / hunting / outdoor blog is http://wildersport-outdoors.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
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    Another vote for Fire Ants - at least they love to eat insulation on electrical wire.
    Jim
    64sedan_at_gmail.com

  4. #4
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    I knew fire ants were attracted to electrical wiring but thought it had something to do with the harmonics created by the electricity. I have had them get up in the switches of my AC unit twice.
    Don, aka Pappy,

    Wise men talk because they have something to say,
    Fools because they have to say something.
    Plato

  5. #5
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    fire ants are known to love elecrtrical items, they will tunnel to the electricity they are apparently attracted to the electrical fields or the warmth that surround energized wire and resistive connections. They will chew up anything in their way. They are known to severely damage electrical installations.

    Other animals eat wire insulation as well. When in the business of seismic equipment our survey teams would lay out miles of wire and sensors in remote and farm country for weeks ata time. We had a severe problem sometimes with both domestic and wild animals (small rodents all the way to cows) chewing wires. It was researched and the likely causes were A) stupidity - they chewed up grass and twings inthe vicinity and couldn't tell the difference; B) they loved the salt and sweat on the wires left by the humans handling them, C) they sensed the electrical fields and it attracts them, and D) they just liked the texture, thought it was good to eat. We put a lot of effort into integrating pepper coumpunds and stinky stuff to repel the animals. That didn't last long. The pepper irritated the crews who often carried rolls of wire slung over their necks and shoulders.
    Last edited by LCHIEN; 01-31-2011 at 11:03 PM.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
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  6. #6
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    As I understand Lee's post the cord was in storage, so no electric current.
    Also why would a bug eat thru the thick plastic of the plug to get to the copper when the cord was 1/2 inch away with only a thin plastic cover.
    Lee, was the cord buried in the dust? Maybe the pest just found the plastic tasty??
    Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler
    --Albert Einstein

  7. #7
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    I ran about 100ft of sprinkler wire, tied it along a fence 4" of the ground. Most of the insulation is gone now... Though clearly another critter than in Hanks case. Rabbit, Squirrel, Mouse... No idea. Replacement is going in the ground.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kramer katt View Post
    As I understand Lee's post the cord was in storage, so no electric current.
    Also why would a bug eat thru the thick plastic of the plug to get to the copper when the cord was 1/2 inch away with only a thin plastic cover.
    Lee, was the cord buried in the dust? Maybe the pest just found the plastic tasty??
    maybe the copper was not the attractant, but whatever chemical compounds were used in the overmolding process. They will use compounds to make the metal adhere better to the overmolded plug body, or perhaps solder fluxes used to solder the wires to the contacts. Insects have very keen smell and may have found something it wanted even in small quantities.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    PM me (with your e-mail address) for a copy of the BT3 FAQ current vers 4.13

  9. #9
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    Friends of ours had Christmas lights in their yard, and the wires were repeatedly cut. They were convinced it was the neighbor's teenage son, so they set up a video camera to catch him. They caught the culprit on tape, but it was a rabbit.

    Sid

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by kramer katt View Post
    As I understand Lee's post the cord was in storage, so no electric current.
    Also why would a bug eat thru the thick plastic of the plug to get to the copper when the cord was 1/2 inch away with only a thin plastic cover.
    Lee, was the cord buried in the dust? Maybe the pest just found the plastic tasty??
    The cord was found in the dust/crumbs of what was left of the box. There was 2nd identical box next to it and it (the 2nd box) had one side eaten but the cord inside on box 2 was OK.

    What I can't understand was there was considerable wood nearby (albeit pressure treated) and it was not touched.
    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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