As a homeowner, you want to maintain and protect your property. After all, a house is the biggest investment most people make. To make sure your property is safe and structurally sound, it’s helpful to be aware of the signs of wood-destroying insects in the home.

Common Wood-Destroying Insects

Signs of Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees get their name from how they build nests. They chew holes in wood to make their homes. Carpenters bees are important pollinators but can cause damage to wood or bamboo structures.

Homeowners often notice the bees themselves, often mistaking them for bumblebees, and might see holes in fencing or wooden components of their property. Two significant signs of carpenter bees are piles that look like sawdust outside their holes and staining on the wood beneath the nests.


Termites live in large colonies, where they reproduce and can cause significant damage to a home. They eat cellulose, which may be present in your home’s sheetrock, carpeting, fabrics, insulation, and wooden components.

Termites are small insects that are sometimes mistaken for ants. If you have termites in your home, you might notice brown mud tubes on the foundation, small holes in wooden components of your home, piles of termite droppings called “frass,” and areas of hollow wood where the termites have caused damage.

Wood-Destroying Insects: Carpenter Ants

Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t eat wood; they damage it by chewing holes to create galleries for their nests.

You might notice the large ants or small piles of wood shaving or sawdust outside pinhole-size holes in wood. Carpenter ant galleries lead to weak and hollow-sounding wood.

Powderpost Beetles

The most apparent sign of powderpost beetles is small piles of powder outside tiny holes in wood. Adult beetles lay eggs beneath the surface of bare wood, and the larva bore into the wood where they live until they are adults. The adults chew their way out of the wood when they reach maturity. Homeowners might notice small holes in furniture or wooden components of the home, but usually, the piles of powder indicate these beetles are present.

Call a professional if you notice signs of wood-destroying insects in or around your home. Have an expert inspect your property to determine the cause of the wood damage and create a plan to erratic the pests. You’ll protect your home and your investment.

JBS Home Inspections provides home inspection services, including inspections for wood-destroying insects, to homebuyers and sellers in the greater Boston area. Contact us to schedule an appointment.