Picture this: you’re sitting at the table, happily eating dinner, while mere feet below your chair, small worm-like creatures are tunneling through the wooden support structures of the floor that’s holding you up.
If you head down into the basement below and listen quietly, you may even hear the telltale “clicking” sound of the larvae as they excavate their galleries in the timbers they infest. What are these wood destroying pests? Isn’t wood destruction a job reserved for termites?
Everyone knows that termites destroy wood, but there are a variety of other wood destroying organisms that we need to be familiar with as well. The pests we will focus on in this article (and referenced above) are the wood boring beetles. Some additional organisms that destroy wood include fungi, ants, and carpenter bees, just to name a few.
There are well over 1000 different types of wood boring beetles found in North America, most of which infest trees. These beetles cost the timber industry millions of dollars annually in lost wood product. Among the different types of insects that bore into wood, the beetles by far outnumber all other insects in the variety of species that are considered wood borers. Luckily, most wood boring beetles do not infest dead or dried wood.
When discussing wood boring beetles, it is important to remember that they are actually feeding on the wood they infest. As you might imagine, wood is not the most nutritious food in the world, but these insects have adapted well to this difficult environment. Specifically, the larvae are the life stage that do most of the damage to the wood, as they tunnel through and hungrily gobble it up.
It’s also important to know that all wood is not created equal. Age, distance from the center of a log and moisture content are all factors that affect the attractiveness of a board to wood boring beetles. Even within the same board, there may be a section that has higher nutritional content than others.
For species specific information, be sure to visit our Insect Pest Guides.
Follow Nancy Troyano on Google+