The wood destroying insects in Ohio are:
- Eastern Subterranean Termites
- Carpenter Ants
- Carpenter Bees
- Powderpost beetles
Eastern Subterranean Termites:
The most common of the wood destroying insects, termites need moisture to survive. They love to live in warm, moist soil. As winter approaches they search for warm areas to live. They will begin to move indoors to stay warm and feed on building materials found in our homes. They construct mud tubes up the side of foundations in which they travel from their nests outside, underground, into the home. Homes are more likely to be invaded by termites than damaged by fire. Experts suggest termites cause over $5 billion dollars annually. The good news is that early detection of termite infestation can keep damage and repair costs to a minimum.
Carpenter ants are very abundant in eastern Ohio. Carpenter ant damage is sometimes mistaken for termite damage. Carpenter ants do not eat wood like termites but instead construct their nests in wood such as hollow trees, stumps, logs, landscaping timbers, and the lumber used in the construction of homes and other structures. The ants are more likely to attack vulnerable wood that is rotting due to the passage of time or moisture intrusion. The damage caused by carpenter ants depends on how many nests are inside the home and how long the ants have been active. Carpenter ants can cause as much property damage per year as natural disasters. Repairing the damage could potentially cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Spring is the season when homeowners will begin to notice large round holes in trim and facia boards, wooden fencing, and other wood that is either not painted or the paint has deteriorated leaving the wood exposed to infestation. Carpenter bee entrance holes are almost perfectly round and about ½-inch in diameter. Carpenter bees do not eat wood but instead bore a system of tunnels in which they nest. The males often will dive bomb people but only the females have stingers. Carpenter bees cause minimal damage building nests but the openings they create will allow water and fungi to attack the wood, which in the long run will cause more damage than the bees themselves.
There are three types of beetles lumped under powderpost beetles. The Lyctid beetle, the Anobiid beetle, and the Bostrichid beetle. Powderpost beetles are so named because feeding by the larvae can reduce wood to a mass of powder surrounded by a thin shell of sound wood perforated with small holes. Wood typically is degraded to a powderpost condition when it is heavily infested or repeatedly attacked over an extended period of time by beetles. Many of the most serious infestations of Powderpost beetles result from people using old barn lumber from a barn or woodpile to panel a room or build an addition. Depending on the extent of the infestation, replacing a board or a sheet of paneling could solve the problem. Heavier infestations will require professional treatment.