And What To Do About Them
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.
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.
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.