#1 on our list is the ultra-destructive termite. Each year termites cause over $5 billion of damage to homes and property, according to the National Pest Management Association. Termite control is not something easily performed by laymen. In fact, just the process of identifying the termite can be difficult for the non-professional as they are often misidentified as ants or flying ants. A professional exterminator will help homeowners identify the particular variety you have encountered and will use a targeted method of control to eliminate the threat. The tools, technology, and methods for termite control have continued to improve over the years, especially in the hands of a seasoned professional improving your chances of mitigating any potential damage these awful insects can inflict upon you and your wallet. Subterranean termites eat 24/7, making them enormously and insatiably destructive. Furthermore, damage by termites is typically not covered by a regular homeowner’s insurance policy so contact a termite expert if you suspect that the damage or bugs you see might be this terrible pest.
#2 on our list is the carpenter ant. They build nests inside wood consisting of galleries chewed out with their strong muscled mandibles, preferably in dead, damp wood. Unlike termites, they do not consume the wood. Sometimes, carpenter ants hollow out sections of dead, weakened, or diseased trees, but they’re happy to work their way into a live healthy tree if the habitat suits them. Beyond trees, they commonly infest wooden buildings becoming a major cause of structural damage. They are content to live in hollowed out areas inside doors, behind insulation and even in soft styrofoam insulation. Even so, carpenter ants are only one colony expansion away from destroying your property and are known to show up on real estate transaction paperwork as a potential liability. In the United States, the black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) is quite common out of a genus that includes over 1,000 species so consumers are bound to cross paths with them at some point.
#3 on our list is the formidable powderpost beetle. Belonging to the subfamily Lyctinae, they are part of a group of seventy species of woodboring beetles. While most woodborers have a large prothorax, the powderpost beetle does not, making its head more pronounced with antennae that appear as two-jointed clubs. These pests attack deciduous trees where, over time, they reduce the wood to a powdery dust. You might discover their larvae, which are white and C-shaped. A headache for homeowners, the powderpost beetle only attacks hardwood. This means that they will not destroy a home but will infest certain areas usually consisting of molding, flooring, cabinets, doors, hardwood furniture, and other hardwood items. An infestation can be found by the presence of very fine sawdust or by discovering small, 1/32 to 1/16 in diameter round, holes in hardwood items with sawdust leaking out. Sadly, most lyctid beetle infestations occur in newly built homes (1-5 y/o) that were assembled with already infested wood. Often, removing infested wood is the most economical solution to remedying this problem.
#4 is the wild honey bee, our next pest on the list. They are great for making honey but when they find their way onto your property, look out! They have no problem setting up shop within the confines of your home’s walls, becoming an expensive nuisance that is best handled by experienced professionals. A typical colony can consist of tens of thousands of bees and their hive may weigh up to several pounds within a few days of construction. If killed by insecticide without a proper extraction plan, the mass of wax, honey, and propolis from the hive will leak fermenting honey, melting wax (the bees work to keep wax from melting when they’re alive), and dead bees, all oozing out into your home or property in the form of a huge mess. Now you have a new problem along with the gooey remains: insect scavengers, moths, and rodents that feed off the dead hive. In some instances, it’s possible to extract the bees alive at a higher cost, but this isn’t always practical depending on the number of affected people nearby and the location of the nest. And to be clear, we’re referring to wild honey bees, not their domesticated cousins who have been endangered.
#5 is reserved for indoor ants. Finding them crawling through your food stores, up the walls, and across counters is unsettling at best. When they find their way into a drain pipe or electrical panel causing backups and burnouts, their true destructive potential becomes acute. Knowing what kind of ant you have is essential to controlling them through treatment. Some ants are only visitors, living mostly outside but stopping to forage, while others are very choosy when it comes to the bait they’re attracted to. Don’t waste your money or spray excessively with over the counter bug spray; not only can they smell bad and make some surfaces in your home unsafe to touch, they’re not nearly as effective as what an experienced professional from Emergency Pest Patrol can bring to bear. We can identify your ants and start the best treatment that will work for you in the most effective manner.