Wood Destroying Insects in Greater Cincinnati Ohio - Not Just a Termite Inspection...
Updated: Aug 11, 2021
Ohio recognizes four different insects as wood destroying insects (as discussed HERE in chapter 3). There are subterranean termites, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and powder post beetles. Each are unique, but have the similarity in the destruction of wood, or items made of and from wood.
Subterranean termites eat wood/cellulose as a their food source. They live under the ground, in colonies, and come to the surface normally to break down and digest fallen trees, dead trees, and brush. They form “shelter tubes”, or “mud tubes”, to travel back and forth between their underground colony and their food source. The shelter tubes are made from mud, termite saliva, water, and termite feces. Unfortunately, they don’t always eat dead wood in forests. Sometimes they find their way into homes to eat the wood structure of a home, especially homes with water problems that have lead to wood rot, in or on the home. They’ll also get into drywall to eat the paper. Anything that is cellulose based, they’ll eat, whether in nature or your home.
Carpenter ants will destroy wood, by hollowing it out to form “galleries”, which will eventually be their home, or nest. They leave behind frass, which is the sawdust from the excavations. The ants typically like to work at night. If the infestation is bad, you can hear them chewing the wood at night time. They don’t eat the wood, like termites do, but still cause the same type of damage to the wood. Like termites, they’ll be drawn to homes that have wood rot, or rotted wood components of the home. Their food sources are plant and animal materials.
Carpenter bees are like carpenter ants. They’re making their home, or nest, when the female bores into wood. The female will lay her eggs in the galleries she forms. The bees leave behind frass, just like the carpenter ants, only the bee’s frass includes excrement. You can usually find their exit holes on the under side of deck railings, the under side of deck joists, behind rake boards, on the underside of fascia and gutter boards, and in any type of wood siding.
Powder post beetles are rare, in comparison with the other three recognized insects. These beetles re-infest the wood they are destroying. Their larva reduce the wood to “powder”, essentially. These insects are still around, but not likely to be seen often. Most of the time, evidence of powder post beetles is old, or could be from a non-reinfesting beetle, per the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which would not warrant control measures.