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Anthony J. Grieco, Licensed & Registered Architect

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Termites and Other Wood Destroying Insects.

Wood Destroying Insects


These are the un-invited visitors  that try to eat us out of house and home. 

These insects cause structural damage by boring holes, tunnels, and galleries through wood. Although insect action is common to most houses, the bottom line is this- since treatment to stop a current condition and structural repairs are expensive, you must anticipate insect action and protect your home.  

 

Termites, unlike other wood damaging insects, actual obtain nourishment from wood.  Typically termite colonies exist in the ground, however  colonies can live inside if there is a constant source of moisture within the dwelling.  Termites are abundant in the New York City-Long Island region as well as many areas throughout the country.
                Because termites are very insidious, termite action and damage is difficult to detect.  Generally, there are no outward signs of wood damage as indication of an infestation nor is there any accumulation of wood powder  (tell-tail signs of a type of wood boring insects) or frass type sawdust (tell-tail signs of Carpenter Ants).
                Frequently termites are discovered  by: observing termite mud tubes, observing a termite swarm or shedded wings, collapse of damaged wood, or termite action that is exposed during an alteration.
                As a buyer the best thing that can happen is that a termite condition is discovered during a professional pest control inspection prior to purchasing the house.  The cost of the treatment and repairs is then the responsibility of the seller.  If the swarm or action is discovered after you purchase the premises the cost of treatment and repair is your responsibility. 
                If no termite action was visible or the house was previously treated , to protect your investment and reduce your risk, the buyer needs to cover the premises with a termite service contract with annual inspections.

                In detecting a termite condition it is important to know the difference between swarming termites and ants and to recognize tell-tail signs.  See the Termite Photos

 


 

Carpenter Ants vary in length from 1/4 to more than 1/2 inch and are mostly black with some varieties with some red.  In the New York City area these insects are typically active from beginning of May to the  end of September with the greatest activity and damage occurring during the warm summer months.

                Carpenter ants seek out wet and rotting wood.  Typical conditions that cause carpenter ant infestations are: roof or roof flashing leaks, leaking pipes,  leaking bathroom and kitchen fixtures, wet areas under washing machines and dishwashers, wet basements, and wood that is in contact with wet soil.  

                Generally carpenter ants are discovered by: observing ants in the house, observing unexplained sawdust called frass, and wood damage observed during alterations.  Frass is a coarse like sawdust that is created when the carpenter ants bore through wood and deposit the excavated material outside of the tunnels or galleries.  See the Carpenter Ant Photos section for typical conditions.

                Pesticide treatment for active carpenter ant conditions will control this insect but the key method for control is to eliminate the interior moisture/wetness and wood rot. 

 


Wood Boring Insects

             This type of wood damaging insect is typically called powder post beetles.  These wood damaging insects change the excavated wood into a fine powder that is deposited under the circular bored holes in the wood member, thus the name powder post beetles.

            The presence of fresh powder under a bored hole indicates a current condition.

            Generally powder post beetles are detected by: observing the bored holes in wood members, observing the fine powder, and discovering the wood damage during alterations.  See the Wood Boring Photos for details.

 


 

Carpenter Bees

            

Under Construction

 

See the Carpenter Bees Photos for details.

 


There are other wood damaging insects and funguses. 

Under Construction

 

 

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