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Around the coffee pot This forum is for any topic that you would normally talk about at the office "around the coffee pot". Jokes, tall tales, and true stories are welcome as long as they are clean and in good taste. I only ask that you steer away from topics on religion or politics. Go ahead and pull up a chair and pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy the conversation.

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Old 01-30-2011, 10:33 PM
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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.)
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File Type: jpg Bug holes.jpg (96.1 KB, 35 views)
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:07 PM
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I would venture a guess at Fire ants, and Raspberry Crazy Ants...
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:35 PM
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Another vote for Fire Ants - at least they love to eat insulation on electrical wire.
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:58 PM
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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.
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:03 AM
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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.
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Old 01-31-2011, 06:56 PM
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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??
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:26 PM
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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.
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:09 PM
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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.
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:10 PM
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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.

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Old 01-31-2011, 11:14 PM
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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??
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.
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