There are different types of wood insects or xylophages (from the Greek, which feed on wood), each with its own characteristics and treatments.
These insects attack and feed on the wood, causing serious damage. It is a problem of particular relevance when infesting the structure of a house, which can be compromised and collapse.
In some cases, their presence goes unnoticed and we only notice it when it is too late. Therefore, the best treatment for timber insects is prevention. Today there are products that incorporate repellent substances that will help us in this prevention.
In most cases, it is not the adult insect that is most responsible for attacking the wood, but the larvae. Once deposited in the wood, they begin to gnaw and dig inside, forming small tunnels. When adults leave, and after mating, they return to deposit new larvae.
How do you know which insect we are talking about?
It is not always possible to have an adult specimen to observe. When this is the case, you only need to have the image or photo of an insect from the wood to distinguish it.
At larvae They are not always easy to differentiate with the naked eye, especially if we are not experts in the field.
Another way to distinguish the type of bug from wood is to observe the hole type or size, and also the type of sawdust or residue you leave behind.
And finally another technique used to know which insects we are talking about is the observation of the wood type, whether it is new or old, whether it is dry or not, the degree of humidity …
Types of wood insects
Termites. Termites are considered the worst of these insects and a real pest. Perhaps not because of the size, but because of the number of attacks, the number of individuals … There are different types, the criteria for distinguishing them are the type of wood they attack: wet wood termites, dry wood termites and underground termites. The habits and the way they attack wood are different.
One of the main problems posed by these wood insects is that they are detected when there is no longer a solution. They escape the light, so they are not easy to see, and their presence is only evident when the wood is already crumbled or broken, and sometimes by a trail of earth attached to the walls, ceilings or cornices.
They thrive especially in humid and unventilated environments.
Termite. It is the woodworm larva that actually eats a considerable amount of wood. It starts from the inside out, so it is difficult to spot a weevil pest at first. It is the adult who completes the hole and finally leaves. The most common types of woodworm in Spain are anobid, lytic and cermbicid.
The remains that they leave behind are known as wanted.
Wood wasps. It is the most striking of these insects, as it can measure up to 5 cm. The females deposit the larvae on the wood and these, together with the help of fungi, digest it.
Weevil. Usually brown in color. The larva takes between 6 months and 1 year to transform (although it can take up to 3 years to dig), during which time it feeds on the wood, which is usually rotten and moist.
Wood drill. Its scientific name is Hylotrupes bajulus. Like the weevil, the borer lays its eggs in cracks in the wood and it is the larva that feeds on it. The insect is much larger than the weevil, although the main way to differentiate them is the type of hole it leaves in the wood. Instead of being round, it is quite irregular.
Treatment to kill wood insects
The choice of product or the treatment depends a lot on the insect in question. Thus, once the type of wood bug has been determined or some issues have been described to the professional (size of the hole, types of remains, possible larvae and shape of the adult insect …) the product will be chosen. On many occasions, products are used that attack several insects at the same time.
When treatments should be applied localized shape It can be done superficially and always following the manufacturer’s instructions. Or pressure, a method used by pest professionals. In the latter case, the product is applied by means of machines that inject the liquid under pressure and prevent it from escaping.
When the wood insect infestation or pest is greater and cannot be treated locally, it is necessary to resort to fumigation. This method is more aggressive and expensive. It must be taken into account that it does not prevent future pests, but that it aims to act on existing ones.
On some occasions, fumigation is used in a controlled manner and in closed areas. It is usually one of the techniques used to kill wood insects in works of art, antiques, etc.
In the specific case of termites, the most worrying insect, the baits are working very well. It consists of providing them with a previously adulterated food that slows down their development. This food is divided among them, reaching the nucleus or termite mound, which is usually found in areas of difficult access.
Prevention, the best medicine
The best way to solve this problem is not to suffer, so prevention is the key.
It is based on the maintenance of the wood, which although it is simple, having to do it periodically can be heavy. It is based on avoiding the rotting of the wood, not only renewing the finishes, but also preventing it from coming into contact with elements that facilitate the rotting (directly with the earth, stagnant water …).
In addition, it is convenient to keep it clean and free of cracks. This will prevent some of these insects from laying their eggs.