Nobody wants their home remodeled without their permission, but that is exactly what will happen if wood-destroying insects decide to invade your Virginia Beach home. The two most common species of wood-destroying insects that invade homes and do their own version of remodeling are the termite and carpenter ant. Both of these species will invade the structural wood of homes, but for some very different reasons. The professionals at Mitchell Pest want to provide you with some information about these two species in order to help you identify an infestation quickly and to help prevent them from choosing your home as their new breeding, nesting, and feeding grounds.
Do These Insects Actually Eat the Wood?
Both termites and carpenter ants prefer to invade wood that has been damaged by water; however, termites actually feed on the cellulose of the wood while carpenter ants simply create tunnels through the wood to travel through and nest in; carpenter ants do not eat the wood. If left untreated both species can cause enough damage to wood found in homes to cause significant and costly structural damage. In fact, termites are responsible for 5 billion dollars worth of damages each year to homes all across the United States.
Carpenter ants are black, red, or a combination of colors and can grow to be 5/8th of an inch in length. Their bodies are hard, they have bent antennae and a narrow pinched in the waist. Carpenter ants are often seen outside of their nesting areas foraging for food within your Arlington home. Like other ant species, carpenter ants feed on sweets, meats, and liquids that can be found in kitchen and pantry areas.
Worker termites are the most numerous members of the colony and are creamy-white in color, wingless, and grow to be about ¼ of an inch in length. Worker termites have a soft body and are born blind. Termites are rarely ever seen by homeowners since they basically spend their entire life under the ground or on the inside of wood creating tunnels. Termites do eat wood and they also feed on the cellulose of decaying leaves and soil.
Powder Post Beetles
While termites and carpenter ants are widely known for their ability to destroy wood, other pests like powder post beetles are also incredibly dangerous for property investments. In fact, they’re among the worst wood-destroying insects in Virginia. A powder post beetle is a wood-boring beetle that can very well infest your home. Powder Post beetles bore holes into wood and then lay their eggs inside the wood through tiny tunnels. Those eggs hatch into larvae that in turn feed on your home’s wood. Once they mature to adulthood they create even more tunnels in your wood to exit your home. This process devastates the structure of your home. And this does not happen overnight. It takes from two to five years to complete, along with the powder post beetle life cycle. Similar to termites, Powder post beetles can feed on hardwood and softwoods like pine. Some specific species of powder post beetle will only feed on hardwood, which makes things even trickier since it is difficult to see the damage they leave behind.
Another species of insect that can destroy your home in Richmond are carpenter bees. Wood destroying carpenter bees burrow into the wood in your home to make nests. They create near-perfect holes in your wood between 1 to 2 inches in diameter. While they may not be as dangerous as termites or carpenter ants in Virginia, they can still create serious issues for your property.
The Link Between Moisture and Insects That Eat Wood
To prevent insects that eat wood from moving into your home you should take some steps to deter them from your Richmond property. The most important step that you can take to discourage wood-destroying insects is to reduce the moisture levels found around your home. Make sure that gutters are working properly and directing water away from the foundation of your home, remove and replace decaying mulch in garden areas, and fix outdoor faucets and hoses that are leaky. Inside of your home any wood that has had water damage should be replaced and dehumidifiers should be used in areas of your home like basements, bathrooms, and crawl spaces. And of course, it is also important to do everything you can to keep them out of your home by sealing cracks in exterior walls and foundations, caulk gaps around windows and doors, and seal openings around utility lines and pipes entering into your home.
Virginia Termite and Insect Inspections
Despite your best efforts, wood-destroying insects may still decide to try and call your home their home. If this occurs and you find yourself with an infestation the quickest, safest, and most efficient way to get rid of them is with the help of a professional. Professionals like the ones at Mitchell will be able to identify the species, perform the correct treatment, and provide follow-up services to prevent future problems with wood-destroying insects. We offer effective termite treatment in Virginia Beach and also have solutions for carpenter ants and other household pests. Don’t leave your next home remodeling project up to ants or termites, contact Mitchell Pest Services to get rid of these pests! Keep reading to learn about ant prevention tips.