Wood Destroying Insects
Termites, carpenter ants, powder post beetles and carpenter bees are classified as wood destroying insects. Termites normally cause the greatest structural damage, but carpenter ants, carpenter bees and powder post beetles can also cause significant damage to a home.
Some neighborhoods in our area have a high incidence of termites with as many as one out of five houses having active or previous evidence of infestations. Termites are difficult to find since they live in the soil and only enter the structure to feed. These insects do not like to be exposed to light or dry air so they stay and eat within the wood and only occasionally break the surface, making them all the more difficult to spot. Soil in close proximity to wood, such as wood framed basement windows, can be conducive to termite infestation. When termites are found, most homeowners were not aware of their presence.
Carpenter ants can be present in any home and are generally drawn to favorable conditions such as chronic leakage or damp or decayed wood. They are most common in areas with nearby large older trees from which they forage and colonize in the house.
Powder post beetles are primarily a pest of older homes built before framing lumber became kiln dried, but will infest newer homes if excessively damp conditions exist. Their damage is characterized by pin holes in the wood with portions of the wood broken down into a powder-like residue.
Carpenter bees attack poorly painted exterior wood, creating 1/2 inch round entry holes and tunnels within the wood for nesting.
All of these insects except carpenter bees prefer damp habitats. Therefore your best protection against wood destroying insects is to keep all areas in your home clean and dry. Eliminating basement and crawlspace moisture is critical, as well as eliminating any leaks from plumbing, roofing, or exterior finishes. In addition, eliminating wood/soil contact at such places as basement window frames, porches, and where planters are installed against the side of the house is an important preventative measure. Taking precautions such as these, along with monitoring for insect activity will help to guard your house against insect damage.
Valley Home Inspection can provide Wood Destroying Insect reports in conjunction with a home inspection or as a stand-alone service. Be sure to check with your lender before scheduling your inspection to see if our more informational Wood Destroying Insect report will be adequate or if you need the report in the FHA required format.