Wood-Destroying Insect Identification Guide

What are wood-destroying insects?

Wood-destroying insects invade and damage wood to create nesting sites or because they use the wood as a source of food. When these pests choose wood in our homes, the damage they cause can become extensive, expensive, and difficult to repair.


Eastern subterranean termites, powderpost beetles, and carpenter ants are examples of wood-destroying insects that live throughout Massachusetts and invade homes and businesses.

  • Carpenter ants are one of the largest species of household invading ants living throughout the U.S. These ants chew through wood, not to feed on, but to create tunnels and nesting galleries.
  • The Eastern subterranean termite feeds on and is attracted to water-damaged or decaying wood. They feed on the cellulose found in wood and other plant materials.
  • Powderpost beetles invade wood, and their feeding larvae turn wood into a fine powder. These pests invade both hardwoods and softwoods.

Are wood-destroying insects dangerous?

Dangerous to our property but not to us, wood-destroying insects are unwanted because of the structural damage they cause. Though wood-destroying pests don't cause health problems, discovering these pests in your home is certainly a stressful situation. In addition to damaging our homes, they also damage personal belongings like antique furniture.

Why do I have a wood-destroying insects problem?

If you are experiencing a problem with wood-destroying insects, it is because they have moved into your home either on their own or because you unknowingly introduced them inside a piece of wood. Small cracks and crevices in a foundation or spaces around exterior walls, windows, and doors can be entry points for wood-destroying insects. Powderpost beetles regularly move inside in wood already infested with their eggs or larvae.

Where will I find wood-destroying insects?

Eastern subterranean termites live in moist soil under fallen trees, woodpiles, leaf piles, and other organic debris. They travel from their nest to a food source each day. If they find their way into our homes, termites won't hesitate to feed on structural wood like floor beams, joists behind walls, and eventually beams above ceilings.

Female powderpost beetles lay their eggs on the surface or just underneath the surface of a piece of wood. After the larvae hatch, they tunnel through the wood, feeding on it and reducing on it to a fine, dust-like powder. Powderpost beetles regularly invade flooring, structural timbers, antique furniture, and wood trim.

Carpenter ants nest outside in dead trees and stumps, rotting fence posts, and old woodpiles. Like other ants, carpenter ants often find their way into our homes while out foraging for food to bring back to the nest. Once inside, if they decide to stay and build a nest, they place it in the wood behind walls, under floors, or in crawlspaces.

How do I get rid of wood-destroying insects?

Keep destructive wood-destroying insects out of your home with the help of Assurance Pest Solutions. We offer prompt and reliable pest solutions to eliminate these pests from homes and businesses quickly. With over 41 years of experience in the industry, we know how to find, treat, and solve problems with wood-destroying insects.

To learn more about working with our knowledgeable staff to rid your property of termites and other wood-destroying insects, reach out to Assurance Pest Solutions today!

How can I prevent wood-destroying insects in the future?

If you live in Waltham, Winchester, Lexington, or surrounding areas, Assurance Pest Solutions can help you maintain a property free of wood-destroying insects. In addition to our pest control solutions, the following tips will help prevent problems with wood-destroying insects:

  • Make sure any lumber used inside your home has been appropriately stored and kiln-dried to kill wood-destroying insects.
  • Keep wood inside your home dry by maintaining heating and ventilation systems.
  • Use dehumidifiers if your basement is damp.
  • Repair leaking pipes or fixtures to prevent structural wood in your home from being damaged by water.
  • Seal openings in your home's foundation and exterior walls.
  • Inspect wooden antiques and other wood furniture for powder post beetle damage before bringing them into your home.
  • Eliminate wood to soil contact on your property.

Learn more about our home pest control and commercial pest control services.


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