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Are Ants or Beetles Capable of Damaging Your Furniture?

You may be encountering critters destroying your wood furniture or fixtures at home.  You may mistake it for a type of insect, when it turns out to be another one.   There are several types of wood damaging or eating pests, and here are the descriptions of the most common ones. 

1. CARPENTER ANTS

Carpenter ants are commonly red, black in colour, nocturnal and are mainly active at night.

Like termites, carpenter ants damage moist woods from inside and away from human sight, but they do not feed on wood like termites – instead, they damage wood to make tunnelling out from it by making space in the wood for habourage. Carpenter ants are attracted to sweets (such as sugar and honey) meats, insects, moisture and largely forms their colony within the wall in your home.

Some signs that carpenter ants are present within your home include ant trials, swarmer, wood-shavings that is combined with presence of dead ants and rustling sound. Some preventive tips to keep carpenter ants away is  cleaning up food and liquid spillages immediately, sweeping any food crumbs from under furniture and appliances, and sealing  all cracks and crevices around your doors and window frames, removing any moist or damaged wood items and establishing adequate ant control solutions in your home.

2. BARK BEETLES

Bark beetles are a close relative of the weevil family, under the same family of Coleoptera and are active in warm weather. They often settle around forested areas where they damage trees, barks, logs, and introduce fungi to attack and kill trees.

They are also extremely diverse, with species adapted for almost any kind of environment and feed on various food source, including agricultural, horticultural and forestry plants and products.

Though they play a key part in the ecosystem by helping to recycle dead trees, they do considerable damage in both urban and rural areas where trees and forestry are present.

3. POWDER POST BEETLES

As their name connotes, these beetles turn the wood they consume to a fine powder. Powder Post Beetles are a part of the wood-boring insects often called “woodworms” and mostly attack furniture and structures made of maple, ask, oak and pine. They are attracted to wood with high moisture content. The larvae feed on wood after hatching from the egg. These larvae create tunnels in the wood as they grow. Once they develop into adults, they puncture small holes as they emerge from the wood. This emergence damages the outlook of furniture and flooring, while damaging the structural stability of the wood in the long term.

Some signs of infestation include shot-holed appearance on the wood furniture, and powder-like sawdust near or around the holes. Ticking sound made by the larvae can also be a sign of an infestation. Solutions include wood chemical injections and fumigation done by professional pest control.

4. TERMITES

Termites are the most commonly known wood damaging pests especially in tropical climates such as Singapore which is hot and humid.  Termites come in various colours, and have the general appearance and symptoms similar to ants. Find out more on the difference between termites and ants.

There are two types of termites: the subterranean termites and the drywood termites.

Subterranean termites live underground because their colony needs a large amount of moisture to survive. But despite living underground, these pests climb to the surface through mud tunnels and feed on wood with high moisture content. These termites damage wood from inside and away from human sight, forming galleries as they consume along the wood and particularly targeting the cellulose found in them.

Damages from subterranean termites are far more dangerous since they cause significant structural damages as they feed on the wood. For example, consuming the interiors of wood beams could be dangerous, since the beams in a home could fall. 

Drywood termites, on the other hand, do no not rely on high moisture levels in their colony to survive; they are larger than subterranean termites and have a considerably lower population.

Because they don’t need a lot of moisture, drywood termites build their nests within wooden structures like wooden furniture or structural lumber. They feast upon both hard and softwood and produce water from the digestion of cellulose. Signs of termite infestation include presence of swarmer, discarded wings, and termite droppings (also known as frass), bubbling or peeling paint and a hollow sound if you knock on the surface.

It is important to know what type of pest is attacking the wood inside your home since the treatment used to address these 4 pests are very different from each other. To the untrained eye, the symptoms and damages might look similar – and unless an expert helps to identify the right pest, you might experience recurring or escalated problem, which can cause heavy damages later on. Whatever pest it may be, you should always consult a professional as soon as possible in order to contain the damage.