New England homes with severe insect damage are often victims of Eastern Subterranean Termites. These insects live deep in the ground, typically below the frost line but above the water table and rock formations. Termites require a controlled environment to travel outside of wood, so they build shelter tubes or mud tubes to limit their exposure to daylight, control humidity and enable them to reach a food source. Wood in contact with the soil at the bottom of siding, around porch skirting and low basement window frames are easy entry points for termites. When swarming, they are often confused with carpenter ants, but their unjointed bodies make them easy to distinguish. Termites can enter a structure through a crack that is less than 1/16” wide.
Carpenter Ant Inspections
When we perform a wood destroying insect inspection we frequently find evidence of carpenter ants. An active infestation is usually indicated by the presence of frass, a combination of insect body parts, fragments of insulation and sawdust-like shavings. The tunnels they create are called galleries, and the walls generally appear smooth with a sand-paper finish inside. They prefer moist wood and will often attack an area where the wood has been softened by a fungus. Carpenter ants travel openly across all surfaces and materials. Sometimes by carefully following an individual, it may take you right to the nest.
Carpenter Bee Inspections
Unlike termites and carpenter ants, carpenter bees are not social insects. Females bore into wood to make linear galleries where they often lay 4-6 eggs, separating each one with a chewed wood-pulp plug. They are commonly found in exterior trim, especially the rear side of a fascia board beneath a gutter. The entry holes are so perfect, that they almost look like they belong there. An active infestation is evidenced by a multi-color “bee spray” on the trim or the siding.
Wood-Boring Beetle Inspections
Anyone who has familiarity with older homes has probably heard the term “powderpost beetles.” Activity from these wood-boring beetles is evident by the small holes in floor framing members which look like someone went to work with an ice pick. These exit holes appear when the mature insects bore their way out of the wood after approximately 9-12 months of feeding and development. Like most other wood destroying insects, beetles prefer moist wood. Keeping your basement as dry as possible with a dehumidifier and ensuring proper exterior drainage are the best lines of defense.
Call Today for a Termite Inspection
When you schedule your home inspection, be sure to ask about including an inspection for termites and other wood-destroying insects. Contact us today at (844) 487-6468 to schedule your appointment.
Damage from Carpenter Ants
Carpenter Bee Activity in Soffit
Signs of Active Beetle Infestation
Termite Mud Tube in Garage