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Suburban House

Wood Destroying Insect Inspections

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What is a WDI Inspection?

A WDI or Wood Destroying Insect Inspection is an inspection where we look for signs and symptoms in your home for the following insects: Termites, Carpenter Bees, Carpenter Ants, Powder Post Beetles and Old Wood Borers.


During a Wood Destroying Insect (WDI) inspection the inspector will look at the interior and exterior areas of your home, checking for visible signs of a wood destroying insect infestations.  Signs a home has termites include; droppings, broken wings, mud tubes, and damaged wood.


Your inspector will look for other pesky insects as well and each has its own signature of damage. The inspector will check baseboards, walls, windows, crawl spaces, door frames, inside cabinets, and closets.


Wood destroying inspection reports encompass 5 insects, subterranean termites, carpenter bees, carpenter ants, old house borer, and powder post beetle. This is an inspection often required by banks, regardless if it is required by your bank this inspection should be considered imperative for a home purchase. 

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Wood Destroying Insect Types & What They Mean for Your Home


Termites can cause extensive damage to a home when they go undetected! A timely termite inspection can save you thousands of dollars in repair costs. It can be hard to spot a termite infestation. Termite colonies take 3 to 5 years to mature, which means they can colonize your home over that time.

Signs of a subterranean termite infestation include swarms of winged reproductives in the spring, summer, or fall, the presence of shelter tubes, and evidence of tunneling in wood. Shelter tubes (sometimes called mud tubes) are the most commonly seen evidence of a subterranean termite infestation. These earth-hardened tubes are made by workers using saliva mixed with soil and bits of wood or even drywall. There are four types of tubes:

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees get their common name from their habit of boring into wood to make galleries for the rearing of their young. The Eastern carpenter bee is from the most common eastern species. It closely resembles the bumble bee except that the abdomen is black and shiny. The male has a yellow face, whereas, the female’s is black. Females will nest in a wide range of woods, but prefer weathered and unpainted wood.

Male carpenter bees tend to be territorial and often become aggressive when humans approach, sometimes hovering a short distance in front of the face or buzzing one’s head. Since males have no stinger, these actions are merely show. However, the female does have a potent sting which is rarely used.  

Carpenter Ants

The black carpenter ant is a native species and the common species in the east. The carpenter ant gets its common name from their habit of hallowing out galleries in pieces of wood for nesting purposes which can result in structural damage. Carpenter ants cannot sting however, their bites can be quite painful especially when they inject acid into the wound. The only external indication of infestation other than the presence of workers and/or swarmers is the appearance of small openings or windows on the surface of the wood. The workers expel debris which consists of sawdust-like shavings and/or fragments of insulation and insect body parts. The accumulation of such debris below such holes is a good indication of an infestation.

Most carpenter ant species establish their first nest in decayed wood and later expand or enlarge this into sound wood. Inside, nests are located in wood, in insulation, and/or in wall voids. Outside, nests are typically located in rotting fence posts, stumps, old firewood, dead portions of standing trees, and under stones or fallen logs.

Powder Post Beetles

Powder post beetles are insects that are an enemy to lovers of old furniture, the powder post beetle also loves getting into other dead and moistened hardwoods, like dead branches and trees.  They are small, brown, and usually around 1/4 inch or less in length.  They are very destructive and deposit themselves in wood, with  preference for slightly moistened and rough cut.

The best way to avoid an infestation is to make sure any wood you have is as dry as possible. Sanding and varnishing wood pieces would discourage the females from finding crevices to deposit their eggs to begin with. Avoid putting valuable pieces in places that encourage a moist environment, such as sheds, so your beautiful antiques don’t end up as housing and food for these and other wood boring insects. 

Because powder post beetles are very destructive, it is important to contact a trained technician.  A trained technician will  inspect your house and evaluate your pest problem to determine whether powder post beetles are in fact the insects causing damage to your home. In addition to being able to recommend a treatment plan to address any infestations, a pest control professional may be better able to spot infested areas that you might have overlooked.

Old Wood Borers

The Old Wood Borers or Old House Borer belongs to the beetle family cerambycidae, a group also known as the "long horned" beetles. They are brownish black to black but covered with gray hairs which often forms transverse bands on wing covers. The adult old house borer can be from 5/8 inch to 1 inch in length, with the males typically being smaller than their female counterparts.
The adult female lays about 40-50 eggs in cracks and crevices in the wood, over about a 5-day period. They attack on softwoods, primarily pine, and only the sapwood in both structural timbers and lumber.

In structures, primarily wood less than 10 years old is attacked but they can and do re-infest in much older wood.


FACT: The excavations that termites make in wood are hollow, completely enclosed, more or less longitudinal cavities.


FACT: Carpenter bee control consists of treating each individual gallery with an appropriately labeled pesticide.

FACT: They prefer to attack wood softened by fungus and are often associated with moisture problems.


FACT: They are second only to termites in their ability to damage wooden structures. 

FACT: If the infestation is active then there are a few options. You can replace the wood, apply localized pesticide application, or fumigation.


Examples of Damage From Wood Destroying Insects

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Carpenter Bees

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Carpenter Ants

Powder Post Beetles

Old Wood Borers


Think someone is chowing down on your new home? Setup your WDI today!

Q: How long does a WDI inspection take?

A: A termite or Wood Destroying Insect inspection takes 30 min with a home inspection. Without a home inspection please allow 1 hour for the WDI inspection.

Q: Do I need to be there for my WDI inspection?

A: No, your inspector will take pictures of anything relevant. We do, however, encourage all of our customers to walk with us as we inspect the home so we can answer any and all questions you may have.

Q: I'm using a VA loan, do I have to get a WDI inspection in Delaware? In Pennsylvania? In Maryland?

A: That is a great question for your agent or lender, but unfortunately not one that we can answer.

Q: My house is new, why would I need this?

A: Insects find new wood tasty too. Also, if you're builder didn't treat your home for WDI you may be vulnerable.


Q: Is this part of a standard home inspection?

A: No, this is a separate service that you can get with or without a home inspection.  


Q: What happens if I do have an infestation?

A: Our inspector will give you an estimate of the treatments and their costs. We may also refer you to our sister company, Affordable Pest Control.

Q: I have more questions!

A: Great! We have more answers here on our FAQ Page.  And if you still have questions don't hesitate to give us a call


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