wood eating

The World of Wood-Eating Insects

There are two things that can ruin my day. The first one is finding that there is no food in the fridge. The second is finding out that there are wood-eating insects in my own home. I can live with no food, after all, I am on a diet. Knowing that my house is infested with wood-eating bugs is another story. Bugs are the number one thing that I abhor. I break out in hives just thinking about them.  Learning that there could be more than one type can make me crazy! Oh, all right! I know I should at least be familiar with them so that I can know what prevention I would use to remove them from my home. The faster that would happen, the better for me.

Wood Destroying Insects

When you think about wood-destroying insects, the first thing that would come to your mind is the termite.  They are the popular wood-destroying pests. They can damage the wood of your house, your furniture, and even timber. There are three major species of termites.

Subterranean Termites

These are considered the most common termite in the United States. Their colony is composed of 60 to 300 thousand workers. Wow! It is like a big factory already, except they are minute. They are sneaky little creatures because they can enter your house even from a very small crack.  Their main goal is to get food. They are not choosy. They would eat anything from wood, cardboard and even your treasured books.

Formosan Termites

If we have the fictional hero Superman who can leap the tallest building in a single bound, then Formosan termites are the closest they have for a superhero. They are called, “super termites”. Do they have the ability to eat one building in a single chew…no laughter? That was intended as a joke. They are called ‘super termites because they can cause major damage in a building for a short period of time. They are the termites to be reckoned with. This is because the Formosan termites consist of 350 to 2 million workers. They are aggressive in their breeding habits.

Dry wood Termites

These wood eating pests eat wood that has low moisture content. They usually infest the attic area or interior of the wood during early spring or summer.

Other Wood-Destroying insects

If you are thinking that there are only three wood-eating insects to contend with, then you are dreaming. It turns out that there are other kinds. It is a bit overwhelming for me to take this but it is the hard reality of a homeowner’s life.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are often mistaken for termites because of their physical resemblance. Although you would notice that they have different wing structure. The termites have more wide-spread wings. The carpenter ants are also different from their relative, the ants in the number of nodes they have and the shape of their thorax. The carpenter ants have rounded thorax and one node while the other ants have uneven thorax and two nodes. Carpenter ants are cavity dwellers. They like to stay in hollow places of trees, soft insulation boards, and the space within the double wall of the building. If you see sawdust or pencil shaving-like materials in your home, then there is most likely a carpenter ant infestation.

Powder Post Beetles

There are three closely-related families. The first one is the Lyctid or true powder post beetle. Do you mean to tell me that there is a powder post beetle impostor? It looked like I spoke too soon! There is a false powder beetle which is known as Bostricid. The last relative is the Anobiid or the Death Watch Beetle. Powder post beetle is wood-boring creatures. They change the wood they eat to powder or dust, hence their name. The wood that they damage is not only confined to your home but from different kinds like timber, planks, flooring, musical instruments, and even museum wood carvings.

Carpenter Bees

Aren’t carpenters supposed to build things? Why do these wood-eating insects have names like these? There are the carpenter ants and now, there are also carpenter beetles. The Carpenter Bees resemble bumblebees. They attack in the springtime. They bore perfect round holes that will be where the female bee will put her eggs. They usually target the exterior trim wood, doors, siding. The damage is minimal but the holes should be treated to prevent water infiltration.

Now that I am aware that there are more than one wood-eating insects that can invade my home, it would help me know more about how to watch out for the wood-eating bugs. It will make me more alert on how to look at the types of damages. I am also better prepared to know what to do when these wood-destroying insects [1]invade my home.


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