Are Ants the Culprit of a Tree Accident in North Buffalo?

May 21, 2012 Updated May 21, 2012 at 10:40 PM EDT

By Jaclyn Asztalos

May 21, 2012 Updated May 21, 2012 at 10:40 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - Carpenter ants may be the cause of a tree falling on a car own by Jose Cabrera Monday morning on Villa Avenue in North Buffalo.

"I had no idea. The tree looks pretty healthy. The tree was empty from the inside out," Cabrera said.

Homeowner Christopher Candino said there were plans to get rid of that tree.

"The tree was actually on the list for the City to come and cut down in the next three or four weeks. However, they did not get to it in time," Candino said.

City officials did confirm that they were going to cut down the tree in the next few weeks. There are also problems with trees and ants in the Kaisertown area of the Queen City. Resident Patty Doolittle feared this summer could be even worse because of the warm winter here in Western New York.

"Here's the good spot right there. It goes all around the base and it looks like the bark is breaking away, and totally hollowed out. The big carpenter ants are coming out of the tree and going into the house," Doolittle said.

Doolittle knew there was trouble years ago and asked for help right away.

"We called the city over the past two to three years. They cut a branch off and you could see the hole," Doolittle said.

Deputy Commissioner of Parks and Recreation for the City of Buffalo Andy Rabb said that they do routine checks for decay and cut down trees as necessary. Rabb said they just checked Doolittle's tree a few months ago.

"Just because there are carpenter ants in a tree doesn't mean it is going to fall over. The ants are fairly common in older trees in the city. When we come to inspect the tree, we look to see where the activity of carpenter ants are located to try to determine the extent of the decay," Rabb said.

Doolittle said she has many concerns especially after hearing of the accident this morning.

"The tree falling on a parked car, or worse on my house. We also worry because we have a lot of kids around here. We don't want anything happening to the kids," Doolittle said.

Other homeowners said the bottom line is to keep people safe.

"Luckily, no one was hurt. As long as it gets cleaned up right away and restored back to normal we'll be fine," Candino said.