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Wood destroying insects


Most people are familiar with termite’s insatiable attraction to eating wood, but there are actually about half-a-dozen wood destroying pests that show up in Michigan homes and businesses every year. 

What Insects Destroy Wood?

Termites and carpenter ants are the most famous wood damaging insects, but Southwestern Michigan has more than two wood destroyers that should be on your radar.


Silverfish are technically wood damagers, but they’re lower on the worry list since they don’t do structural damage to homes and businesses. Instead, these crustacean-looking creatures most often eat their way through wood furniture, wallpaper, curtains and other starchy materials.

Silverfish prefer moist, humid climates like bathrooms and basements. They have long antennae and tear-shaped bodies between .5 – 1 inches long. It’s rare to see a Silverfish. Spotting one is most often a sign of a larger infestation.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean Termites are some of the best known and most feared wood destroying pests. That’s because of their ability to damage and destroy wood at a rapid pace.

You can identify subterranean termites by their creamy white bodies, although they can be black and have wings during their reproductive period. Most often, these termites are spotted when they swarm in the spring. If you see a termite swarm on your property, you almost certainly have a severe termite infestation and should call a pest control company immediately.

Carpenter Bees

The artists of the wood destroying pests, carpenter bees burrow into wood and create near perfect circular tunnels in the process. These bees commonly do damage to outdoor wooden structures like porches and stairs, but have been known to sneak inside to do damage to housing structures – typically by starting in the attic.

Carpenter bees are not typically aggressive, but the females do have stingers, so observe their tunnels from a distance before calling a pest control company for professional treatment.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants have dark bodies that range from 5/16” to 1” long. They also have heart-shaped heads, but there is nothing loveable about them. They’re active during all four seasons, but do most of their wood destroying work at night. Carpenter ants swarm when they reproduce in the spring. Spotting a swarm is a sure sign of an infestation problem.

Powder Post Beetles

Because powder post beetles are tiny, you’re more likely to see the holes they leave behind than the bugs themselves. Their bodies are as little as 1/16th of an inch, and the holes they leave behind are also small dots like the tip of a pencil.

Powder post beetles are often hitchhikers that sneak into homes through firewood. If you see a log covered in small dots – leave it behind! Even though you might not see beetles crawling all over it, they could be lying dormant inside.

How to Spot Wood Destroyers

Damage Trails

Termites often leave mud tubes that look like small rivers of dirt near your baseboards or in foundational cracks around the home. Carpenter bees and ants leave sawdust piles near their tunnels and nests. Silverfish often leave yellow stains on the fabric, furniture, or wallpaper they chose as a snack.

Rustling or Buzzing in Walls

Rustling/light noise.

Hearing something in your walls? You’re not being haunted, but the real problem might be worse than a ghost. Rustling is a possible sign of a termite or carpenter ant infestation – which is a huge danger to the structural integrity of your home or business. Buzzing is a sign of bees and possibly carpenter bees, which can also do damage to walls and beams. Structural fixes are costly, so calling a pest control company for a property inspection is essential at the first sign of an issue.

Is it a Termites or Carpenter Ant Infestation?

One way to tell the difference between carpenter ants and termites without seeing them is by looking at their damage. Carpenter ants clean out their houses, so their burrows are much smoother than a termite’s tunnel or home.

Holes in Wood or Wood Damage

Silverfish may bite into wooden furniture or leave holes in clothes or curtains. Carpenter bee tunnels have near perfect circular holes. Powder post beetles leave tiny dot-like holes in wood beams or firewood logs.

Other Signs of Wood Destroying Pest Infestations

  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Squeaking floorboards
  • Hollow beams or walls
  • Seeing a pest or swarm

Prevention and Treatment

Getting rid of termites and other wood destroying insects isn’t easy. Usually these critters are burrowed in the walls, beams, and other structural elements of your home. This makes it extra important for you to trust a professional pest control company with wood damaging insect experience.

When you call Armor Pest Control, a professional pest control specialist will first visit your home to do a property inspection. During the inspection, they’ll identify the pest invading your home, locate the nest, and make a plan for removal.

The treatment process includes the application of a pesticide that is toxic to the pests but when used properly, safe for your family and pets.

Wood Damaging Pest Treatment FAQs

Will I have to leave my house during treatment?

Most of the time you will not have to leave your house during the treatment process. In some severe cases, you may need to leave the property for four hours or more.

How long does the treatment take?

Treatment can last up to a full day. In order for pest control to work, the process must be thorough. If some of the pests are left untreated, they can reproduce and cause problems in the future. Our pest control specialists monitor every visible crack, nook and cranny for potential nest entry points.

How long does the treatment last? How can I prevent wood destroyers from coming back?

The pesticide is a one-time application, meaning that wood destroying pests might show up again in the future. To prevent wood destroyers from coming back, look into a regular pest control service that includes a pest control expert monitoring and treating your property every month or every other month to be able to catch and stop infestations as quickly as possible.

Will the treatment destroy my walls/home?

The pests may have done significant property damage that you will have to repair, but the wood damaging pest treatment does not structurally damage your home.

Is the insecticide safe for my pets/family?

We follow all label directions and recommendations for your safety and ours. Remember, the label is the law.