Protect Your NJ Home or Business from Wood Destroying Insects

When wood destroying insects invade, they eat away at structural timbers, undermining the structural integrity of homes and businesses and causing expensive damage to the most significant investment most people own. The subterranean termites common to New Jersey invade more than half a million U.S. homes every year causing more than $5 billion in annual structural damage. One in five New Jersey homes will fall prey to termites this year. Powder post beetles, carpenter ants and carpenter bees do somewhat less damage to wood and wood products but are still a significant destructive force.

Effective elimination of wood destroying insects from your home or business requires the expertise of a pest control professional with demonstrated experience in the extermination of these structure-damaging insect pests. Attempting home treatment can cause colonies to split or relocate, making it even more difficult to locate and destroy the nests of these secretive pests.

Annihilation of the entire colony and any satellite colonies is necessary to halt the damage these pests cause. Allison Pest Control professional exterminators have the knowledge and experience, as well as the highly specialized tools and professional pest control products necessary to search out and eliminate wood destroying pests in their notoriously hard to access nesting sites. Allison Pest Control’s residential and commercial pest control plans can monitor your home or business for the presence of wood destroying insects and prevent these costly pests from entering and inflicting expensive structural damage.

Wood Destroying Insects Commonly Found in New Jersey

Carpenter Ants. Any large, dull black ant seen in New Jersey is likely to be a carpenter ant. The largest ant species in the U.S., black carpenter ants are 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. These ants are named for their ability to carve large nesting galleries out of wood, leaving hollow tunnels and spaces that threaten the structural integrity of buildings and wooden structures and can eventually cause their collapse. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not ingest wood. They tunnel into soft, water-damaged wood to create transportation corridors and larger galleries in which to build their nests; however, they will tunnel into healthy wood to expand their nests.

Like other ants, carpenter ants live in large social colonies governed by strict caste systems that can number in the tens of thousands. Primarily night foragers, carpenter ants lay down pheromone trails to guide workers to new nesting sites and food and water resources. Carpenter ants may forage over an area the size of a football field. They enter homes through door and window frames, along plumbing and utility lines and over landscape bridges formed by tree limbs and overgrown shrubs.

Omnivores and adept scavengers, carpenter ants will eat nearly anything humans eat but primarily feed on sweets, particularly aphid honeydew, and proteins, including other insects and their own dead. From March through May, established carpenter ant colonies produce flying swarmers. These mated pairs fly off to begin new colonies.

Because carpenter ants require constant water access to survive, they are drawn to damp, decaying wood. Outdoors carpenter ants nest in damaged trees, favoring maples and oaks, old stumps and wood piles. Satellite colonies may more indoors into high moisture areas such as damp wall cavities, under water-damaged roofs and inside porch pillars or window sills. Their presence is often discovered by the telltale piles of sawdust-like byproduct these ants deposit during tunneling. The original parent colony is usually located outdoors with multiple satellite colonies in the vicinity. To effectively eliminate carpenter ants and halt the structural damage they cause, the entire colony and all its satellites must be exterminated.

Carpenter Bees. Carpenter bees can seriously damage wood structures. Frequently confused with bumble bees, carpenter bees are thick bodied and 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. They have a black metallic sheen and yellow markings with a shiny, black, hairless abdomen rather than the typical hairy abdomen of most bees. Solitary insects, carpenter bees live in mating pairs, tunneling into soft outdoor wood to lay their eggs.

Pollen feeders, carpenter bees do not eat wood but use chewed wood to build partitions between egg cells inside nesting tunnels. The perfectly round 1/2-inch diameter entrance holes carpenter bees bore into wood, their loud drill-like buzzing and the sawdust-like byproduct scattered under holes are telltale signs of their presence and give carpenter bees their name.

Most active in May and June, carpenter bees excavate nesting tunnels into wooden porches, deck rails, siding, fascia, sheds, even outdoor furniture. They prefer dry, seasoned, soft woods like cedar, cypress, fir, pine and redwood. Carpenter bees rarely bother wood painted with polyurethane or oil based paint but stained wood is not a deterrent.

Carpenter bees can be a considerable nuisance if they tunnel near doorways. While only usually docile female bees have stingers, stingerless males are extremely aggressive and will hover around nest openings, dive bombing anyone approaching. Because multiple pairs frequently inhabit the same site and these bees tend to return and reuse nesting galleries year after year, carpenter bees can cause serious damage to wood structures over time and should be eliminated to protect property. After extermination, the bore holes should be sealed with caulk or wood putty to prevent carpenter bees from returning.

Powderpost Beetles. Tiny, reddish-brown beetles with narrow, flat bodies 1/8 to 1/4 inch long, powder post beetles are wood-eating insects. Powderpost beetles lay their eggs on the surface of bare, unfinished wood. When larvae hatch, they tunnel into and eat narrow meandering tunnels through wood, filling tunnels with “frass,” the extremely fine, flour-like powder for which powder post beetles are named. Several beetle generations may infest a site.

As adult beetles emerge about a year later, they chew small, circular 1/4-inch exit holes in the wood from which powdery frass may dribble, usually the first visible sign of infestation. Powder post beetles are second only to termites in the amount of damage they cause to wood and wood products.

Several species of powder post beetles are common in New Jersey. Some species feed exclusively on hardwoods like the oak, ash, walnut and hickory found in hardwood floors, baseboards, molding, door and window frames, wood paneling and furniture; others prefer soft woods like pine used in structural timbers. Wood damage occurs slowly. Because powder post beetles only lay their eggs on raw wood, sealing hard woods with paint, varnish or wax usually protects wood from powder post beetle invasion.

The time to watch for powder post beetle damage is from April through July when adults emerge, leaving telltale “birdshot” holes in wood. Active at night, adults lay eggs on bare wood immediately after emerging but are short-lived and rarely seen. Attracted to light, adult powder post beetles are sometimes spotted on window sills; however, they are easily confused with other beetle species.

When powder post beetle damage is discovered, it can be difficult to determine whether the damage is ancient history or evidence of an active infestation. A qualified pest control professional should verify identification and determine whether the infestation is active before treatment is begun.

Termites. The Eastern subterranean termite is the only termite species active in New Jersey. Subterranean termites are small, just 1/8 to 1/4 inch long, with soft, white, oval, wingless bodies. Social insects governed by a strict caste system, termites live in huge underground colonies that can number in the millions. Voracious wood feeders, termites cause severe damage to U.S. homes and wood structures every year and will damage one in five New Jersey homes. Find out more about this very damaging insect. Find out more about termites and what other colony residents look like.

Allison Pest Control Can Help

With a free pest inspection, we can easily identify what wood destroying pest is present. Our professionally trained pest technicians can create a treatment plan and estimate for services. In many cases we can eradicate the pest the same day. Contact us to find out more.