Summer’s Most Unwelcome Guests

And What To Do About Them

Carpenter ants won’t eat the wood in your house, but instead they will  burrow though it to make a cozy nest for themselves and their relatives.

Carpenter ants won’t eat the wood in your house, but instead they will burrow though it to make a cozy nest for themselves and their relatives.

Summertime is often a time to welcome friends and family to your home, but there are some visitors we would rather not host! As warm temperatures arrive, the resident mice tend to leave for greener pastures, but wood-boring insects now become the nuisance pests for old house and barn owners.  Now is the time to assess your buildings for these unwelcome guests and take the necessary steps to eradicate them if they are found.

Powderpost beetles also burrow through wood, leaving thousands of tiny telltale holes for you.

Powderpost beetles also burrow through wood, leaving thousands of tiny telltale holes for you.

A homeowner can do this by close examination of the basement, attic, house exterior and barn, looking for fine saw dust, mud tunnels and other signs of destructive pests. Carpenter bees, destructive wood boring  insects that resemble bumble bees,  can often be found by looking for mustard-colored droppings  on the clapboards of your house just under the half-inch or so round holes they have bored in your eaves. Fine saw dust can also be found under the entrance holes and is an easy way to find these destructive bees. These holes are the entrance to the tunnels they have created to house their brood.

Termites live to eat wood and are the most destructive of these wood-boring insects.

Termites live to eat wood and are the most destructive of these wood-boring insects.

Carpenter ants can also be found by looking for sawdust in crawlspaces, basements and other damp spaces. These ants are attracted to moist areas in your building's frame to build their nests. Like carpenter bees, carpenter ants do not eat the wood, but they are very destructive as they burrow through it to make their nests.

Powderpost beetles can also cause irreplaceable damage to wood members of your house or barn. Their activity can be identified by fresh piles of fine powder-like frass beneath very small (pin- to pencil-tip size) holes  produced by the adults burrowing out of the wood, or you may hear an actual ticking sound made by the larvae eating the wood. The adult beetles do very little damage to the wood.

Most destructive of them all are termites because they do eat the wood; their workers will eat through plaster, foam, plastic or asphalt to get to the tasty wood.  While some pests can easily be controlled by homeowners, termites might be best handled by a professional.

The links listed below can help with insect identification and methods for removal.

http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/carpenter-bees

https://extension.unh.edu/resource/carpenter-ants-fact-sheet

https://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource000532_Rep554.pdf

http://www.doyourownpestcontrol.com/powderpostbeetles.htm