Termites & Other Wood Destroying Insects (WDI)
All Keystone Inspectors are Licensed with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP) in Category 7B, Wood Destroying Insects.
Termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year, and are known as “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected. To avoid getting stuck with extensive damage that is typically not covered by homeowners’ insurance, buyers should always request a wood-destroying inspect inspection before finalizing the purchase of a home.
Eastern Subterranean Termite
Workers & soldiers translucent white. Swarmers dark brown to black
Workers & soldiers approximately 1/8 to ¼ inch long
Live underground in colonies. Need moisture. Build tubes of mud and saliva to cross concrete and other solid surfaces. Feed on cellulose (wood, etc.) including wood in structures. Winged swarmers produced usually in the spring. Termite swarmers drop their wings – ant swarmers do not.
Colonies usually nest underground but forage above ground for food. Can be found in wooded and open areas.
Can seriously damage wood in structures and can cause a structure to collapse. Damage occurs over period of years. May also attack other cellulose products such as paper. Swarmers which emerge indoors die quickly and pose no threat but they are a sign that there is an active colony attacking the structure.
Eliminate water leaks. Keep water away from buildings through gutters and/or proper grading. Keep crawl spaces dry through ventilation and/or vapor barriers. Eliminate all wood-to-soil contacts. Keep outside grade at least 4 inches below siding. If mulching against buildings, pine bark is the least acceptable to termites.
Common species all black. Some species are rust-red and black.
The most common species is 1/4inch or larger. Any black ant in New Jersey which is black and larger than 1/4 inch is a carpenter ant. Some minor species are smaller.
Usually nests outdoors in hollow trees or other cavities. Will hollow out wood but do not feed on it. Will nest indoors under insulation, wall cavities, and other natural voids. If wood is attacked to create a nest site, the wood is usually softened by water and decay fungi. Feed on other insects and honey dew from aphids. Will forage up to 100 yards for food. Red and black species seldom nest indoors.
Wooded areas. Usually nest outdoors but sometimes nest indoors in high moisture areas. May forage indoors for water during dry, summer periods.
May cause some damage during nest building but damage is usually restricted to a local area in a structure.
Do not store firewood against buildings. Cut tree limbs back so ants can’t reach the building overhead. Repair leaks to keep structural elements dry.
Powder Post Beetle
Red-brown to almost black
1/8 to ¼ inch
Adult beetles active at night. Lay eggs in cracks and crevices, old exit holes and in pores of wood. Larvae tunnel in the wood and feed on the wood. Life cycle typically requires one year but may be delayed for several years as the wood dries. Frass – digested wood from larvae – fine and pushed from exit holes when adults emerge.
Annobiids attack both hard and soft woods having a moisture content above 14%. Lyctids attack only hard woods. Several species native to New Jersey.
Wood can be reduced to powder over a period of years.
Keep wood moisture below 14% to prevent Annobiid attack. Seal the pores of hard woods with polyurethane or other coatings to prevent egg-laying by Lyctids. Hardwood flooring usually infested before installation but emergence occurs several years later.