Watch Out For Signs of Wood-Destroying Insects

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Every week, the detail-oriented folks at Green Scene Home Inspections will give readers an education in inspection. Want to see what they see? Tune in  for “Upon Closer Inspection.”

One of the greatest threats to your home is from termites and other wood-destroying insects. These critters can cause a lot of damage in a short period of time. And if there has been an infestation once, it’s likely to happen again unless the conditions that wood-destroying insects tend to like have been corrected. 

Before you buy a home, it’s a good idea to know if there is a current or previous infestation and whether the home has what we call “conducive conditions” for wood-destroying insects.

Some Signs of an Infestation

  • Mud-like material in irregular patterns along surfaces
  • Mud tunnels that connect the nest in the ground to the wood structure
  • Tunneling in wood structures
  • Paint that buckles
  • Tiny holes in wood
  • Piles of wings (*shiver* – those wing piles are seriously creepy)

Some Conducive Conditions for a Termite or Other Wood-Destroying Insect Infestation

  • Debris Under or Around Structure
  • Planter Box Abutting Structure
  • Insufficient Ventilation
  • Wood To Ground Contact
  • Footing too Low or Soil Line too High
  • Wood Pile in Contact with Structure
  • Form boards left in Place
  • Wood Rot
  • Excessive Moisture

Here’s a pretty clear shot of termite tubes in the crawl space of a home.

Termites build these tubes from the dirt to the wood structure to protect themselves from other critters and keep them from getting too dry during hot weather.

Termites aren’t the only wood-destroying insect. This damage was done by a powderpost beetle. These insects create a fine powder and meandering tunnels as they feed on wood in your home. They’re tiny and mostly active at night, so you may never see them.

Another nasty wood-destroying insect common to our area is the carpenter ant. In this video, you’ll see a carpenter ant infestation at a home in North Texas. Yikes!

You might be surprised at some of the conditions that will bring wood-destroying insects.

You can see pictures and descriptions of Conducive Conditions for Wood-Destroying Insects here


Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

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