Bug Category: Termites & More

Carpenter Bee

Summary

Carpenter bees are large bees, resembling bumble bees. They are heavy-bodied and metallic blue-black with green or purplish highlights. The bodies are covered with bright yellow or orange hairs.

Habitat

These insects build their nests in wood siding, the ends of logs used in modern log houses, or other areas where bare or painted wood is exposed.

Life Cycle

The males and females bore a one-half inch circular hole into the wood, then create a tunnel parallel to the surface of the wood. Within the tunnel the female stores food and lays eggs. The developing carpenter bee larvae are in individual cells in the tunnel. There is usually only one generation per year.

Damage

Bore holes in wood; yellow sawdust containing waste materials leaves unsightly stains.

Pest Control

Control of these insects can be achieved by spraying the entrance hole with an aerosol insecticide and plugging it with wood putty to prevent adults from returning.

Old House Borer

Summary

Dark-colored, large, elongated beetle which burrows in structural wood.

Habitat

The chewing sounds produced by the feeding of old house borer larvae can be heard in wood during the spring and summer months.

Life Cycle

The larvae feed little during the winter months of December through February. The larvae can live in seasoned softwood for several years. When the larvae are full grown, which usually takes about five years, they emerge through oval holes in the surface of the wood. Emergence occurs during June and July. During the first few years of feeding, the larvae cannot be heard, but when they are about four years old the chewing sounds are audible.

Damage

Damage occurs to the wood in houses. The actual structural damage caused by these beetles depends on the number of larvae feeding, the extent of the infestation (how many years), and whether there has been a reinfestation.

Pest Control

Control of old house borers involves the use of insecticides applied to the surface of wood or the use of an insecticidal gas (fumigation). When there is an extensive and active infestation of this insect, fumigation may be the best control method. However, limited infestations can be controlled by applying insecticides to the surface of the wood to prevent reinfestation and, perhaps, kill larvae that may feed close to the surface and contact the chemical just below the surface.

Powder Post Beetle

Summary

Powderpost beetles lay their eggs in cracks of wood and the larvae tunnel into the surface, filling it with a very fine powder-like dust. Powderpost beetles have long, narrow, flat bodies that allow them to easily attack wood surfaces. These beetles are reddish-brown in color.

Habits

Adult powderpost beetles are very active at night, enjoy flying and are attracted to the light.

Habitat

Powderpost beetles often attack hardwoods, and can be found in hardwood floors, timbers and crates, antiques and other objects made of hardwood materials.

Threats

Some researchers believe that powderpost beetles are second only to termites in the United States in their destructiveness to wood and wood products.

Prevention

Powderpost beetles can be prevented through vigilant inspection of wood sources in the home.

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