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Carpenter Ant Damage

Carpenter Ant Damage

Damage caused by Powder Post Beetles and Old House Borers

Powder Post Beetles &

Old House Borers Damage

A carpenter bee has damaged the wood

Carpenter Bee Damage

Technician finds insect damage


Carpenter bees get their common name from their habit of boring into wood to make galleries for the rearing of their young. The Eastern carpenter bee is from the most common eastern species. It closely resembles the bumble bee except that the abdomen is black and shiny. The male has a yellow face, whereas, the female’s is black. Females will nest in a wide range of woods, but prefer weathered and unpainted wood. Male carpenter bees tend to be territorial and often become aggressive when humans approach, sometimes hovering a short distance in front of the face or buzzing one’s head. Since males have no stinger, these actions are merely show. However, the female does have a potent sting which is rarely used.  


Carpenter bee control consists of treating each individual gallery with an appropriately labeled pesticide. Our company uses the chemical, Drione and injects it into each individual hole where the wood has been damaged. If not controlled, carpenter bees can cause severe damage over a period of years.


The Old House Borer belongs to the beetle family cerambycidae, a group also known as the "long horned" beetles. They are brownish black to black but covered with gray hairs which often forms transverse bands on wing covers. The adult old house borer can be from 5/8 inch to 1 inch in length, with the males typically being smaller than their female counterparts. The adult female lays about 40-50 eggs in cracks and crevices in the wood, over about a 5-day period. They attack on softwoods, primarily pine, and only the sapwood in both structural timbers and lumber. In structures, primarily wood less than 10 years old is attacked but they can and do re-infest in much older wood.


If the infestation is active then there are a few options. You can replace the wood, apply localized pesticide application, or fumigation.


The black carpenter ant is a native species and the common species in the east. The carpenter ant gets its common name from their habit of hallowing out galleries in pieces of wood for nesting purposes which can result in structural damage. Carpenter ants cannot sting however, their bites can be quite painful especially when they inject acid into the wound. The only external indication of infestation other than the presence of workers and/or swarmers is the appearance of small openings or windows on the surface of the wood. The workers expel debris which consists of sawdust-like shavings and/or fragments of insulation and insect body parts. The accumulation of such debris below such holes is a good indication of an infestation. They prefer to attack wood softened by fungus and are often associated with moisture problems.

Most carpenter ant species establish their first nest in decayed wood and later expand or enlarge this into sound wood. Inside, nests are located in wood, in insulation, and/or in wall voids. Outside, nests are typically located in rotting fence posts, stumps, old firewood, dead portions of standing trees, and under stones or fallen logs.


The primary nest for carpenter ants is generally never in the home; they only create satellite nests inside and then exchange materials back and forth. The exterior of the home will be treated with Termidor which is a chemical that will kill them as they leave the home.


Powder post beetles are insects that are an enemy to lovers of old furniture, the powder post beetle also loves getting into other dead and moistened hardwoods, like dead branches and trees. They are second only to terminates in their ability to damage wooden structures.  They are small, brown, and usually around 1/4 inch or less in length.  They are very destructive and deposit themselves in wood, with  preference for slightly moistened and rough cut.


The best way to avoid an infestation is to make sure any wood you have is as dry as possible. Sanding and varnishing wood pieces would discourage the females from finding crevices to deposit their eggs to begin with. Avoid putting valuable pieces in places that encourage a moist environment, such as sheds, so your beautiful antiques don’t end up as housing and food for these and other wood boring insects. 

Because powder post beetles are very destructive, it is important to contact a trained technician.  A trained technician will  inspect your house and evaluate your pest problem to determine whether powderpost beetles are in fact the insects causing damage to your home. In addition to being able to recommend a treatment plan to address any infestations, a pest control professional may be better able to spot infested areas that you might have overlooked.

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