Wood boring insects

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Wood boring insects

Wood boring insects refer to a selection of arthropods which cause damage to wooden structures. This group of insects feature a range of species of insect at different stages of their life cycles from larvae to adults.

Wood boring insects are seen as pests due to the damage they create in both urban, and rural areas. Within an urban environment wood boring insects can cause a huge amount of damage to residential properties. Whilst in agricultural and rural settings, wood boring insects are responsible for damaging crops. However, it’s worth noting that some wood boring insects are a key part to the ecosystem, helping to recycle dead trees. There are some cases though where wood boring insects have become an epidemic in some forests killing a large amount of trees.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants are common in forested areas around the world, with 1000 species in the genus Camponotus. They do not eat wood but build their main nests by tunnelling in damp wood where the moisture is high enough for the eggs to survive. They also establish satellite nests in drier wood that can contain workers, pupae and mature larvae. One species, the black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) is one of the most common pests in homes in India.

Carpenter ants will readily invade buildings to forage for food and establish nests in wood that provides the right environment for colonies — such as wood that is kept moist by leaks, condensation or poor air circulation. They also nest in any small spaces in a building with the right moisture conditions, such as behind bathroom tiles or round badly fitting window frames. The satellite nests, which require less moisture for the colony to survive, can be established in almost any void in a building.

The parent colony can also be outdoors while the satellite colonies are in a building, with the ants constantly travelling between the two. Carpenter ants can be large ants, 0.3-1 inch, but even within a colony there are different sized ants with different roles.

The ants feed on protein, often dead insects, and carbohydrates, especially the honeydew produced by aphids and scale insects. In homes, they can feed off many food sources.

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