Wood-Destroying Insect Identification & Prevention

What are wood-destroying insects?

Wood-destroying insects are household-invading pests that homeowners dread. These destructive pests cause comprehensive damage to wooden structures, launching discrete attacks on the structure of your property that leave behind costly and extensive structural damage.a carpenter bee crawling on a piece of wood outside of a home

Two common species of wood-destroying insects are carpenter ants and carpenter bees:

Carpenter ants
Carpenter ants are one of the largest species of home-invading ants living in the United States. These ants are black, red, or a combination of colors. Workers have large, powerful mandibles they use to chew through wood and create tunnels and nesting galleries. Carpenter ants do not feed on wood; they only create nesting sites inside of it.

Carpenter bees
Carpenter bees range in size from 1/2 to 1-12 inch in length. Carpenter bees are black and have shiny, hairless abdomens; the males may have white or yellow faces. Female carpenter bees damage wooden structures by creating tunnels and nesting galleries inside them.


Are wood-destroying insects dangerous?

Carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and other wood-destroying insects are responsible for causing billions of dollars in damages across the country each year. Being proactive and keeping these insects at bay is essential to protecting the wooden structures on your property, along with saving your bank account and sanity. In addition to the damage they cause to structures, it is important to note that female carpenter bees, while not aggressive, do have a stinger and venom potent enough to trigger an allergic reaction.

Why do I have a wood-destroying insect problem?

If your yard or home is offering carpenter bees or carpenter ants easy access to food, water, and shelter, they will take full advantage. Things that attract carpenter bees include flowering plants and wooden structures to nest in. Carpenter ants forage for food in gardens, trash cans, compost, pet bowls, and outdoor eating areas.

Where will I find wood-destroying insects?

Outdoors, carpenter ants nest in water-damaged or decaying wood. Nesting sites include dead trees and stumps, rotting fence posts, and old piles of wood. Carpenter ants nesting outside near homes and other structures eventually find their way indoors while foraging for food. Once inside, they are attracted to water-damaged wood, and may stay and create a satellite nest to expand their colony. They usually place their nests behind walls, under floors, or in crawlspaces. Carpenter bees nest inside old or bare pieces of wood. Fences, decks, wooden play structures, outdoor wood furniture, wood shingles or trim, and roof eaves are all places where female carpenter bees create their nests.

How do I get rid of wood-destroying insects?

Eliminating wood-destroying insects is a difficult task and a job that is best left up to trained and experienced professionals. For home and business owners looking to eliminate pests, Hawx Pest Control offers comprehensive pest control services. Our industry-leading services use the latest techniques and best products to provide our customers with peace of mind and pest-free properties. To learn more about our home pest control or commercial pest control services, please reach out to Hawx Pest Control today!

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

In addition to our professional services, the following prevention tips will help you to keep wood-destroying insects out of your home:

  • Prevent water damage in your home by placing weatherstripping around windows and doors and keeping gutters clear.

  • Caulk the cracks in exterior walls and the foundation of your home.

  • Dry out basements and crawlspaces using dehumidifiers.

  • Fix any leaky hoses or outdoor fixtures.

  • Seal gaps in the roofline.

  • Place metal flashing on the end of deck boards.

  • Varnish, stain, or paint wooden structures on your property.

  • Remove fallen trees, tree stumps, and wooden debris from your yard.

  • Keep garbage cans and compost bins away from the outside of your home, and make sure they have tight-fitting lids on both.


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