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Wood Boring Insect Facts And Information

Which Bugs Live in Wood?

Wood-infesting insects construct their “homes” by boring out wood to feed on it and sustain their demands for energy. Termites are the most damaging wood-related insects, and some termites not only eat wood but also use it as a place to live. Other insects that live in or feed on wood are:

False Powderpost Beetles

These wood-boring beetles are reddish-brown or black and from ⅛ in to 1 in long. These beetles prefer hardwoods but may attack softwoods. Most species of false powderpost beetles initially infest only fresh wood, which often results in furniture or lumber that shows signs of false powderpost beetle exit hole damage that was created before the wood was used. Firewood is also often infested by these beetles and can even be infested when firewood is solely stored indoors.

Long-horned Beetles

Approximately 1,000 different species of long-horned beetles live in North America. The larvae do their damage by eating wood and living inside trees. Most species bore into dead, dying or rotting wood, while others choose to inhabit living trees. Some long-horned beetles tunnel just under the bark of tree limbs, causing damage to the limbs and then feeding on the limb’s dying tissue. Other species of long-horned beetles live in the soil and eat tree roots.

The Asian long-horned beetle (ALB), imported into the U.S. from China and Korea, is known for causing damage to a variety of tree species. ALB larvae bore into hardwood trees and damage the tree’s ability to transfer nutrients and water, which causes the tree to weaken. An infestation of ALB creates a situation of no practical way to save or cure the infested tree.

Powderpost Beetles

Powderpost beetles are small, brown insects usually less than ¼ inch in length that attack seasoned hardwoods. A certain sign of their presence is numerous small holes about 1/16-to 1/8-inch in diameter and a fine, powder-like sawdust in flooring, paneling, furniture, stored lumber, rafters, joists and finished wood. The powder-like dust is the result of the larvae boring the wood. The holes are the openings through which the adult beetles emerge.

Powderpost beetles breed in dead and dried hardwoods and might enter lumber while it is being stored and cured. Later, the beetles will emerge from the finished product. Wood that is sanded and varnished will not normally be attacked by the adult beetles because they cannot find crevices in the wood surface to deposit their eggs into.

Carpenter Ants

The black-colored carpenter ant is a frequent invader of homes in the northeastern United States. In their natural habitat, carpenter ants aid in the decomposition of dead, decaying trees, fallen logs, stumps and hollow trees. However, carpenter ants often get inside homes searching for food. Dry, undamaged wood seldom has carpenter ant damage; they may instead excavate moist, rotting wood and other soft materials to make satellite nests. Homes built in wooded areas are especially subject to infestations, which can usually be identified by sawdust located around where the ants are nesting.

The presence of ½ inch, wingless, dark-colored ants inside a home is usually the first sign of a carpenter ant infestation; however, this does not mean that a nest is present indoors. The nest may be located outside near the house and foraging workers from the nest may be coming inside at night to search for food and water.

Carpenter Bees

If you see a large insect that looks like a bumble bee entering or exiting a large hole in the siding or trim boards of the house or shed, it most likely is a carpenter bee.

Carpenter bees are often seen in the spring and early summer months. While sometimes mistaken for bumble bees, carpenter bees have a black, shiny abdomen that differs from the hairy abdomen of the bumble bee. They create holes in the wood surfaces that are about ½ inch in diameter; the sawdust they produce when drilling is often seen below or around the drill hole. Some common places for carpenter bee tunnels are siding eaves, wooden shakes, porch ceilings, windowsills, and doors. While carpenter bees may seem aggressive, they rarely sting. Males are not capable of stinging and the females sting only when they have no other options to escape a threatening situation.

To learn more about wood-boring insects that could cause damages to your home and how to manage them, call an Orkin Pro for help today.

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