Pest Identification: Wood Destroying Insects in Tennessee

Wood destroying insects may not look as alarming as spiders or cockroaches, but they still pose a serious threat to your Tennessee home or business. While they play an important role in breaking down dead wood in their natural environments, wood destroying insects, or WDIs, can cause extensive damage to residential or commercial wooden structures if they manage to invade.

Before WDIs take a bite out of your property, discover how to identify these unwelcome pests with U.S. Pest Protection. Think you’ve already attracted some tiny wood-munching invaders? Contact our pest control experts for reliable solutions.

What does a wood destroying insect look like?

“Wood destroying insects” is an umbrella term used to describe several types of insects that feed on or tunnel through wood. In addition to trees, sheds, and decks, WDIs can target the wooden materials in your home or business. Common types of WDIs include:


Termites are some of the most notorious wood destroying insects that plague Tennessee homes and businesses. They feed on and tunnel through wooden structures, siding, and even flooring. There are several types of species that plague homes and businesses throughout Tennessee, including:

While specific characteristics vary by species, termites typically measure between ⅛ and 1 inch in length, with large jaws for chewing wood. They can be white, brown, yellow, or black in color. 

Carpenter Ants

Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not feed on the wood they infest. Instead, they dig complicated tunnels throughout walls, beams, and other wooden structures to build massive colonies. Once they’ve established their nest, they can easily march to and from your kitchen in search of food.

As one of the largest ant species, carpenter ants are black in color, and range from 3 to 13 millimeters in length. They have large jaws, which they use to dig their tunnels. Carpenter ants’ heads are also significantly larger than their bodies. 

Carpenter Bees

Due to their large, round bodies, carpenter bees are often mistaken for bumblebees. While bumblebees nest beneath the ground, however, carpenter bees are more interested in the wooden structures around your home. 

The damage they cause may not be as extensive as that of termites or ants, but the large holes they tunnel are unsightly. Measuring 12.5 to 25 millimeters in length, carpenter bees have large, black bodies with yellow, fuzzy thoraxes. 

Wood Destroying Beetles

Believe it or not, even certain types of beetles can pose a threat to your home or business. While some beetles, such as carpet beetles, target your upholstery, carpet, and other natural fibers, there are several species that target and damage wooden furniture, flooring, and more.

Discover the types of wood destroying beetles that may be invading your space below. Already found beetles indoors? Contact U.S. Pest Protection to confirm whether or not they’re wood destroying beetles.

Old House Borers

Old house borers, also known as “longhorn beetles,” target pine, fir, and other soft types of wood in Tennessee homes and businesses. Measuring 25 millimeters long with dark gray bodies and significantly long antennae, adult old house borers lay their eggs in the cracks and crevices of untreated wood in lumber yards. 

Powderpost Beetles

Similarly, powderpost beetles lay their eggs in untreated lumber and wooden furniture. While only 3 millimeters in length, these reddish-brown pests can cause just as much damage to your property as old house borers.

Many homeowners don’t realize they have an infestation until the eggs have hatched, developed, and chewed their way out of the wood. Before you find beetles burrowing out of your wooden structures, schedule an inspection with U.S. Pest Protection.

Where to Find Wood Destroying Insects

Depending on the species, there are many places to look out for wood destroying insects. Dampwood termites, for example, target moist or water damaged wood near the ground, while old house borers lay their eggs in lumber that’s used to build houses. Other areas to keep an eye out for wood destroying insects include:

  • Drywall
  • Support beams
  • Wood near your foundation
  • Hardwood floors
  • Baseboards
  • Windowsills

If you suspect you have wood destroying insects in your home or business, schedule a free inspection with U.S. Pest Protection. Our experts can provide professional insight and advice to help you solve any pest problem we may find.

Signs of Wood Destroying Insects

There are many signs to watch out for when dealing with wood destroying insects. Some species, such as termites, use wings to fly to homes they’ll infest and discard these wings after invading. Look for the following common characteristics of an infestation in your home:

  • Termite mud tubes
  • Piles of discarded swarmer termite wings
  • Droppings
  • Holes in your wood
  • Blistered wood
  • Paint buckling due to tunnels

Wipe Out Wood Destroying Insects with U.S. Pest 

At U.S. Pest Protection, we believe residents and business owners throughout Tennessee shouldn’t have to worry about wood destroying insects damaging their living spaces or workplaces. When you rely on U.S. Pest Protection’s team to eliminate wood destroying insects, we’ll use effective control and preventative measures to end your infestation at the source, including:

  • Placing baited traps between colonies and the wood
  • Treating your wood with WDI repellent 
  • Applying a liquid barrier beneath your property
  • Installing environmental barriers and dehumidifiers around wood

Ready to stop wood destroying pests from ruining your Tennessee home or business? Schedule your free inspection today!

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