Types of Insects that Cause Damage to a Home

When we think of home disasters and things that can damage our property, we tend to focus on things like fire, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes or other natural disasters. Maybe a burst pipe in the basement or a gas leak that could potentially level the home. One area a lot of homeowners overlook is pests and pest control. Inside, we look at some of the nefarious insects that can cause permanent damage to your home’s structure.

Types of Wood Destroying Insects

According to some estimates, home and business owners suffer over $1 billion in property damage each year as a direct result of wood destroying insects. When most homeowners hear the term “wood destroying insect,” termites immediately come to mind. While they are certainly one of the culprits, there are other WDIs that are just as invasive. Below, we look at several types of these pests and what you can do to get rid of them.

Carpenter Ants and Carpenter Bees

Although their names may sound helpful, these two types of insects are anything but – you won’t find them building furniture in your back yard for certain! Carpenter ants are typically found in the north and are prevalent during the spring, when they come out in swarms. They like to tunnel into damp or decayed wood to create nests and colonies, and as such, their presence can be a sign of water leaks in the structure.

Carpenter bees can be found anywhere – even here in North Georgia. Like carpenter ants, they burrow into wood to lay eggs. They tend to prefer unfinished wood versus wood or timber with a finish or paint, though they will use these as laying grounds as well.

Signs that you have a carpenter ant infestation include piles of wood shavings and fecal matter (known as frass). Carpenter bees, meanwhile, leave round holes (1 to 2 inches in diameter) in wood and tend to float around their nests. They also leave signs of sawdust around entry points.

Wood Boring Beetles

Also known as powderpost beetles, these pests also leave their eggs in wood, seeking out cracks and crevices to house their young. When the larvae hatch, they feast on the nearby wood, causing structural damage to anything from walls and posts to furniture, depending upon the type of powderpost beetle your home is infected with.

Like carpenter ants and carpenter bees, they leave behind wood shavings and sawdust, so be on the lookout for these signs, as well as tiny holes perforating the wood.


Termites are the bad boys of the wood damaging insect world and what most homeowners are familiar with. They exist in pretty much every state in America (except Alaska) and consume wood, cardboard, sheet rock and even carpet. They can be more difficult to detect than other types of pests, and often by the time you discover them, they have already infested the home.

Call in the Professionals

If you think you may have an infestation, or want a little piece of mind, you should call in a licensed pest control agent. Be sure to perform your due diligence by checking local reviews, interviewing potential pest control services and checking references. Inspection fees for wood destroying insects such as termites, carpenter ants and carpenter bees can range from free to a few hundred bucks. In the long run, however, this nominal fee every couple of years may be a sound investment for your home.