The species of Termites found in Maryland is the Eastern Subterranean Termite.
As its name implies, it lives beneaththe soil. Termites, like ants and bees, are
social insects and live in colonies. The termite colony is comprised of several
castes including a queen, soldiers, winged reproductives (swarmers) and workers.
The winged reproductives, or swarmers, are the form most commonly seen by
homeowners. Ant colonies also release winged reproductives (flying ants).
Many times termite infestations go unchecked when a homeowner mistakes
termite swarmers for flying ants.
Termites eat wood from the inside out, which is why they cause such extreme
damage. Outside of the home, termites feast on mulch and wood debris.
Termites will travel into the home via settlement cracks, creating visible shelter
tubes on foundation walls and joists. They can also travel within wood. It’s crucial
to keep your home’s siding at least six inchesamount above landscaping timbers
and mulch. An easy place for termites to feast is within wood debris left under patios, decks, and in crawlspaces.
Carpenter bees are large bees that look very much like bumble bees. The major
difference is that carpenter bees have a bare, shiny black abdomen whereas
bumble bees have a hairy abdomen with some yellow markings. Carpenter bees
cause damage to wood when they bore holes to create a tunnel in which to raise
their young. They prefer soft wood such as pine, poplar, cedar and redwood for
nesting. The holes they bore are quite distinctive in that they are approximately
1/2 inch in diameter and almost perfectly round. Carpenter bees are commonly
found in wood that is at least two inches thick in porch and shed ceilings, railings,
overhead trim, decking, porch furniture, dead tree limbs, fence posts, wood doors,
shingles, siding, and window sills.
Powder Post Beetles - Maryland powder post beetles are called such because
in high numbers they are able to turn the inside of a piece of wood into nothing more
than a mass of fine powder. The exit holes are very small, about the size of a pin head.
The most obvious sign of infestation is small piles of fine powder under the wood.
These wood destroying insects can do significant damage to furniture, wood floors
and structural timbers.
Old House Borers - The old house borers are members of a large beetle family
called the long-horned beetles, named because of their long antennae. The adults
emerge in early summer, living for approximately 16 days, during which time the
females lay approximately 150 to 200 eggs in cracks or crevices in the wood.
The larvae cause damage by feeding on wood. The rasping and ticking of their
feeding activity is often the first sign or indication of infestation that a homeowner
may detect. When the adults emerge they create oval shaped holes in the surface
of the wood that are approximately 1/4 inch in diameter. In advanced stages of
damage, homeowners may notice wood surfaces bulging due to the larval activity.
Information provided by Maryland Department of Agriculture.
There are a number of ant species that infest homes and buildings. Carpenter ants,
like termites, tend to prefer wood that is partially decayed by wood rot. Carpenter Ants
range in size from 1/4 to 3/4 inch in length. However, the carpenter ant is perhaps the
only species that damage wood and are encountered in homes. They do not consume
the wood but only build their nests within it. Their foods, similar to those of many other
house-infesting ants, are found in kitchens, pantries and other areas where food is
A WDI Inspection (also known as a termite inspection) searches for evidence of several species of wood destroying insects indigenous to Maryland. Each year, many households in Maryland become infested by a variety of wood destroying insects, the most notable being termites. If left unchecked they can cause serious structural damage to a home. In fact, in the United States, termites do more damage to homes annually than all reported fires, tornadoes, hurricanes and windstorms combined.