Everyone is familiar with the termite, one of the most destructive insects in the U.S., but there are other common wood-destroying insects to know about that can damage your home.
Wood-Destroying Insects Other Than Termites
Termites eat wood, but some other wood-destroying insects simply burrow into it, weakening the wood as they build nests and lay eggs. The result is the same: significant and expensive structural damage to your home. Read on to learn how to identify these destructive pests.
Instead of eating wood, carpenter ants burrow into it and build their nests. These ants range in colors and can be red, brown, yellow, or black. Fairly large in size, some carpenter ants also have wings, with the front wings longer than those at the back.
A carpenter ant enters a home by taking advantage of any wood that’s begun to rot. They are commonly found in basements or rotting wood around windows or leaky pipes. You may have a carpenter ant infestation if you find piles of wood shavings.
Despite looking similar to bumblebees, their shiny, black hairless abdomens distinguish carpenter bees from their bee cousins.
When looking for adequate wood for building tunnels and nests, they tend to go for softwood that is free of paint or stains. Porches, decking, sheds, wooden furniture, or roof eaves are all prime targets for carpenter bees. Over time, their destruction increases as they use the same galleries each year, only with new and expanded tunnels.
Adult powderpost beetles are usually smaller than a quarter-inch and have a flattened, reddish-brown to black appearance. Their larvae are a creamy white color with dark brown heads. When becoming pupae, the larvae create little tunnels within the wood. When they become adults, they bore out through the wood, pushing out fine powdery dust through the holes they’ve created.
The damage caused by powderpost beetles is distinguished by a flour-like, extremely fine powder falling from any surface holes.
Old House Borers are Common Wood-Destroying Insects
Old house borers are one of the most common wood-destroying insects in homes. Their larvae hollow out galleries in pine, and despite their name, they can be found in homes of any age. These beetles have a brownish-black to black coloring for the adults and a somewhat flattened appearance of around ¾ to 1 inch long. Their life cycle is from 1 to 3 years, although given the right environment, they can live for as long as 12 years.
When looking for wood boring beetles, inspect all exposed wood surfaces periodically and look for evidence of internal damage. You are more likely to find signs of them in attics, unfinished basements, storage areas, and crawl spaces. If you notice an infestation and want to know if it is still active, you can tell from the color of the frass (it will be the same color as freshly sawed wood). You may see live larvae or adults living in the wood.
Wood-destroying insects damage the structure of your home. If you see any sign of an infestation, call a professional for an inspection and advice.