Wood Destroying Insects

Homeowners dread a variety of household pests, and wood-destroying insects make the top of the list. With several different insects that infest and destroy wood, knowing how to spot and identify which insects are at work can make all the difference. Suppose you suspect that wood-destroying insects have invaded your home or business. In that case, it is crucial to identify the source before treatment accurately. Find out which insect is bugging you below!

termite wood destroying insect




Infamous wood-destroying insects that infest and chew through wood, compromising the structure’s integrity. Termites often go unnoticed for years, which can inevitably lead to costly repairs. Signs of termites are often difficult to pick out to the untrained eye, though they offer some signals of their presence.

Termite swarmers, dead swarmers, and discarded wings are some of the most detectable indications of a termite infestation. Swarming termites are a darker color and are larger than working termites. Swarmers closely resemble flying carpenter ants and feature shorter, straighter antennae, a uniform body shape, and have the same length front and hind wings. Once swarmers find a new place to build their nest, they quickly shed their wings, which look like fish scales and are likely near doorways, window sills, or other entry points. Learn more about the common signs of termites here.

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood termites infest structures with high moisture levels. As their name implies, dampwood termites enjoy damp and decaying wood. Excess moisture can gather in buildings with poor ventilation, drainage issues, or leaks from plumbing, creating an attractive environment for these wood-destroying insects. Dampwood termites are common along the pacific coast and require access to water to survive. These termites can live entirely within the wood that they eat. They also plug any openings in the infested wood with their fecal pellets to preserve humidity, making it difficult to notice their presence.

3 Signs of a Dampwood Termite Infestation Include:

  • Fecal pellets or termite frass
  • Swarming termites or dead swarmers
  • Soft spots in infested wood

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites are arguably the most destructive termites. They eat wood around the clock and cause extreme damage to building structures. Over time, they can even cause a building to collapse. This termite species threatens homeowners across the United States, and they are present in every state except Alaska. Subterranean termites build tunnels known as mud tubes to reach their food sources and protect their colony from the open air. If subterranean termites are present, you might see mud tubes climbing your structure’s foundation or the base of trees around your property.

Drywood Termites

Drywood termites commonly feed, live, and nest within sound wood that has low moisture content. Since they do not require soil contact, water, or excess moisture to survive, drywood termites infest various wood products and structures. Furniture, structural timbers, woodwork in buildings, wood patios, fences, boats, firewood piles, playhouses, and even wood decor in your home can become a target for drywood termites. In the U.S., drywood termites thrive in warmer or tropical climates where winters are milder, and wood structures are abundant.

A clear sign of a drywood termite infestation is the presence of termite frass or waste. As drywood termites chew through wood, they create kick-out holes to push out their frass. Frass can resemble a mound of sawdust, a pile of dirt, a heap of salt and pepper, or wood shavings.

Powderpost Beetles

Powderpost beetles destroy wood similarly to termites. However, powderpost beetle larvae are the culprits of damage. These beetles target dry lumber or wood to build their nests and reproduce. The larvae feed on the wood, reducing the interior to powder. You might notice tiny holes on the exterior of infested wood. However, this is also an indicator that the wood is compromised. If you do not treat a powderpost beetle infestation, they continue to reproduce with multiplying larvae causing more significant damage. Infestations may happen in soft or hardwoods. For example, house framing is commonly a softwood. Flooring, door and window frames, wood paneling, crown molding, and furniture are usually hardwood. Either can make an excellent target for this wood-destroying insect.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants will seek out damp wood to build their nests within. They like wood softened and weakened by fungi because they can quickly hollow the wood to create galleries and nests. Structures with moisture issues make excellent targets for these wood-destroying insects. While carpenter ants attack moist wood first, they might continue to invade dry and undamaged wood. As carpenter ants build their nests, they dig tunnels through the wood, which weakens it further. A longer-term infestation could lead to multiple colonies within a home, severe structural damage, and noticeable cosmetic damage.

Carpenter ants produce swarmers similarly to termites. Large winged ants appearing from walls, ceilings, floor joists, or other hidden cracks indicate an infestation. You might also discover shed wings near baseboards, vents, window sills, or sawdust piles below wooden areas.

carpenter ant on wood floor

When In Doubt Call The Experts.

A-1 Bonded Termite

Inspection, Control & Maintenance for Wood Destroying Insects

A-1 Bonded Termite specializes in the treatment and control of wood-destroying insects. If you suspect that any of these insects have entered your property, please call us today at 714-502-9230 for your free pest inspection.

Please don’t wait until it’s too late! Early detection through regular inspections and property maintenance is the key to preventing and controlling an infestation. Contact us to learn more about treatment options, or find out more about our Annual Control Plans!


Need Wood Repair?

An infestation of wood-destroying insects typically leads to necessary wood repairs. There’s no job too big or too small for the pest control team at A-1 Bonded Termite. Our expert carpenters will repair your home, rental property, or business with precision and commitment to our excellent standards.



We will get back to you within the next business day.

    *Restrictions apply for some real estate transactions and multi-unit buildings. Call for details.