There are different species of Wood-gnawing Pests (from the Greek, feeding on wood), each with different characteristics and treatments.
These insects attack and feed on wood, causing serious damage. This is a particularly relevant problem when they infest a house’s structure, which can be damaged and collapse.
In some cases, their presence can go unnoticed, and we only notice them when the wood is infested. That’s why the best treatment for wood-damaging pests is prevention. There are some products that incorporate repellent substances that will help us with this prevention.
It is not the adult insects that are most responsible for damaging the wood but the larvae. Once the larvae are deposited in the wood, they begin to gnaw and burrow into the wood, forming small tunnels. When the adults come out and mate, they come back to deposit new larvae.
How to Identify Wood-Gnawing Pests
It is not always possible to have adult specimens to observe. In this case, you can tell by having an image or photo of the insect in the wood.
Larvae are often not easy to distinguish with the naked eye, especially as we are not experts in this field.
Another way to distinguish the type of wood-gawing pests is to look at the size of the hole and the type of sawdust or debris that they leave behind.
Finally, there is another way to identify what kind of pests we come across in the wood, and it is to look at the type of wood, whether it is new or old, and whether dry or moisture.
Types of Wood-Gnawing insects
Termites are considered to be the worst of these insects and a real plague. Perhaps not by their size, but by the number of attacks, the number of individuals. There are different types that are criteria to distinguish the type of wood they attack: wet wood termites, dry wood termites, and subterranean termites. They have different habits and attack wood in different ways.
One of the main problems caused by these wood-gnawing insects is being found without a solution. They don’t like light, so they are not easily seen, and their presence is only apparent when the wood has broken or fallen apart, sometimes by traces of dirt stuck to walls, ceilings, or cornices.
They proliferate, especially in damp, unventilated environments.
This is the most striking of these insects because it can measure up to 5 cm. The females place their larvae in the wood, and these larvae digest the wood with the help of the fungus.
It is brown. The larva takes six months to 1 year to transform (although it can take up to 3 years to dig), during which time it feeds on wood, which is usually rotten and moist.
Its scientific name is Hylotrupes bajulus. Like the wood borer, the wood borer lays its eggs in cracks in the wood, and its larvae feed on the wood. This insect is quite a bit larger than the woodworm, though the main way to distinguish them is the type of hole it leaves in the wood. Rather than being round, they are very irregular.
Unlike the previous insects, the carpenter ant does not feed on wood, which means it is not a carpophagous insect. However, we think it should be on this list because it can make holes in wood for their nests.
As a result, carpenter ants also weaken structures made of this material when building promenades, tunnels, and nests.
They are easier to identify than other insects. Not only because they are relatively more familiar in appearance and color, but also because they expel shavings outdoors when digging and because they need to go outside to feed.
Also Read: Wood Boring Beetles On Furniture
How to Get Rid of Wood-Gnawing Pests Naturally
The choice of control methods depends largely on the insects. Therefore, once the type of woodworm has been checked or some issues have been described to the professional (the size of the hole, type of remains, possible larval and adult), a method will be selected. On many occasions, products that attack several insects at the same time are used.
When the treatment must be applied locally, it can be done on the surface and always according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Or it can also be used under pressure, which is the method used by pest professionals. In the latter case, the product is mechanically injected with a liquid under pressure to prevent its escape.
When the infestation or plague of wood-gnawing pests is so large that it cannot be treated in situ, fumigation must be used. This method is more aggressive and more expensive. It is important to remember that it does not prevent future infestations, but it attempts to act on existing infestations.
Fumigation is sometimes used in a controlled manner in an enclosed area. It is often one of the techniques used to kill woodworm in works of art, antiques, etc.
Specifically for the bug that worries people the most, termites, baiting is quite effective. It consists of providing them with previously adulterated food that slows their development. This food is shared among them, and they can reach termite nuclei or termite mounds, usually in hard-to-access places.
Natural Way to Prevent Wood-Gnawing Bugs
The best way to solve this problem is to be free from it, so prevention is the key.
This is based on the maintenance of the wood, which is simple, but it can be heavy to perform regularly. It is based on preventing wood decay by renewing the finish and preventing it from coming into contact with elements that promote the decay process (direct contact with soil, stagnant water).
It is also recommended to keep it clean and free of cracks. This will prevent some of these insects from laying eggs.